The impact of minimum wage on PossAbilities participants

The Rochester organization serves people with disabilities and makes sure they get paid fairly for the work they do.

Posted: Jan 14, 2020 5:25 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - PossAbilities is an organization that serves children and adults with disabilities. One of the services is providing employment opportunities. 

"I love spending money," said Heidi Chaney, a PossAbilities participant.

Chaney also loves making money. She does that by working at PossAbilities, where she labels test tubes for Mayo Clinic laboratories.

"I love the work that I do. I feel very challenged. And it pays pretty good, which is really nice," said Chaney.

Paying participants a fair amount is a priority for PossAbilities.

"Organizations like us have the ability to pay less than a mininum wage with a certificate from the federal government. But we've made a concious choice over the years, many years, to pay at least the minimum wage or higher for all of our contracted work," said Paul Pedersen, the Employment Services Program Director at PossAbilities.

It's a choice that makes a difference in the lives of participants, like Chaney.

"I live on my own. I need money for rent, and my cell phone, the basics. And then art supplies," said Chaney. 

"So folks with disabilities are just like anyone else. They want to work, they want to live, they want to play in areas that they get to choose. And work is an important component to every person's life. It's where we make money, it's where we make friends, it's where we get value and importance," said Pedersen.

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