Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

February 6, 2007


Host: Cary Pfeffer

Arizona Foundation for Women Report


  • Arizona Women 2007: A Status Update
Guests:
  • Bev Hermon - Executive Director, Association of Providers for People with Disabilities
  • Phil Pangrazio - Executive Director, Arizona Bridge to Independent Living


View Transcript
Cary Pfeffer:
Tonight on "Horizon", an issue has some groups that advocate for the same community expressing differing opinions. Paying disabled workers less than minimum wage based on their capabilities. Plus, Arizona is near the top of the nation for electing females into political office. But we also have one of the lowest female voter registration rates in the country. A recent study shows some inconsistencies on the status of women in Arizona. Those stories coming up on "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Cary Pfeffer:
Good evening, I'm Cary Pfeffer, welcome to "Horizon." The consequences from increasing the minimum wage in Arizona to $6.75 an hour are at the center of a conflict between groups advocating for the same people: disabled workers. Prior to the passage of the measure, disabled workers could be paid less than minimum wage depending on their productivity and capabilities under special work programs. Some advocacy groups say disabled workers should be paid at least the minimum wage, while others say the exemption allowing lower wages gives disabled workers the opportunity to be employed. The Arizona industrial commission implements the new minimum wage law and has advised providers who employ the disabled workers to proceed as usual, until the agency has a policy statement and permanent rule on the new law. There is also legislation being crafted by state lawmakers to try to remedy the situation. In a moment, we look at all sides of the issue. First, Merry Lucero looks at how one organization that provides services to the disabled has dealt with the problem.

Victor:
What I do like is to work. and when I'm at work, I seem to do better; I seem to feel more relaxed.

Shelley:
I love it.

Merry Lucero:
Why?

Shelley:
It's fun to have a job.

Merry Lucero:
Up until January 1, workers like Victor and Shelley at the Centers for Habilitation, folded papers and towels and many other jobs.

Dave Cutty:
For many of these men and women, our employment opportunity is the opportunity of last resort for them. In many cases they are people who have tried in some cases multiple times to work in the community in the competitive labor force and not been successful for a number of wages.

Merry Lucero:
They are paid commensurate wages.

Dave Cutty:
If the typical worker without a disability can produce 100 units per hour, these individuals may be able to produce 20 to 35 units per hour. So they're working at about a 25 -- on average a 25 to 30\% capacity of the norm and thus they are paid what we call a commensurate wage which is 25 to 30\% of what the prevailing wage would be for that particular job.

Merry Lucero:
Fees that average to about 2.40. Now these workers are doing a time trial to measure their work capacity. At the Centers for Habilitation the workers are paid on special work certificates issued by the Department of Labor.

Dave Cutty:
Every individual that is paid a sub-minimum wage must present a certificate of disability issued by a licensed practitioner, physician, psychiatrist, verifying not only that they have a disability that hampers their ability to work, but also we must be able to demonstrate that that particular form of disability applies to the type of work being performed.

Merry Lucero:
The certificates must be reissued every three years.

Dave Cutty:
And we also conduct time studies on a semiannual basis to ensure that that individual's productivity rate hasn't changed, either improved or deteriorated during that six-month period of time. We have to have those on file. Because the department of labor has a tendency to audit us on a fairly regular basis. And rightfully so. Because we are paying below minimum wage. The Department of Labor pays very close attention to organizations like ourselves that operate under one of their certificates.

Merry Lucero:
The nonprofit organization provides services to about 1,000 people with a variety of disabilities, including placing workers in community-based jobs. This facility also holds vocational training and rehabilitation and a day activity program. 83 workers were laid off after the voter-approved minimum wage increase went into effect.

Dave Cutty:
We made that decision based on a number of facts. First, even though the State Industrial Commission came forward and made public a statement that they would not be enforcing the new minimum wage in supported work centers until the rules had been promulgated, which could be anywhere from six months to a year, probably, that did not mitigate the possibility of civil liability. And under the provisions of proposition 202, not only can we be sued by anyone for failing to pay the state minimum wage of 6.75 per hour, but it also provides for trouble damages.

Merry Lucero:
Cutter says the centers have never violated labor and wage laws and won't start now. Plus, paying the workers the new minimum wage would have cost the company an additional $450,000 a year, which they don't have.

Dave Cutty:
I don't think most of us in this field would oppose someone with a disability being paid 6.75 an hour. However, we deal with reality. And the reality is for the past 30 years that we've been assisting people into jobs, we have found very few employers who are able or willing to subsidize someone's pay to the tune of 65 or 70\% of that paycheck. So finding employers out there who will provide that level of subsidy and also the tremendous degree of flexibility that's required to employ some of these individuals who have very significant disabilities in the work environment would be difficult at best.

Merry Lucero:
Some workers are not too happy about the furlough.

Disabled Worker:
If they can't get this back to normal, at my age, I have to figure where am I going to go?

Victor:
I don't really care much for the down time. Because I like to be busy.

Merry Lucero:
Cutter says what the workers mostly miss is not the paycheck but the social interaction, the contribution they make, and the sense of pride they get from coming to work every day.

Cary Pfeffer:
And joining me now to talk more about minimum wage and workers with disabilities, Bev Hermon Executive Director of the Association of Providers for People with Disabilities, and Phil Pangrazio Executive Director of the Arizona Bridge to Independent Living. Thank you both very much for being here. And in the spirit of full disclosure I want to mention that I am associated with an organization called Gomper Center. I'm on their board. I'm not necessarily an expert on this issue. But Gomper Center has one of these facilities that provides this kind of training work. At this point I'll put on my reporter's hat and try to ask questions of both of you that tries to get to clarifying this issue. And in most cases, both of you would be on the same page in most of these circumstances, correct?

Bev Hermon:
Yes.

Cary Pfeffer:
In this situation, try to describe the difference in your own words -- Bev, we'll start with you. It seems that the obvious question is, whatever minimum wage, shouldn't everyone be paid that minimum wage.

Bev Hermon:
In theory that's absolutely true. However -- and I have a son in this population -- for certain individuals who are very compromised, in other words they have severe mental retardation, they simply cannot work in a normal wage setting but they love normalcy. And the work centers give them the opportunity to be like everybody else, to go to work, to enjoy the social interaction that was talked about in the tape, and to earn a paycheck no matter how small, to be able to spend that paycheck. So it brings dignity, too. And for example, my son has knock down seizures. He has grand mals seizures. And calling 9-1-1 is very routine where he works now. So that's the difference. I'm not so sure that there is a major difference. If it is, there is a physical disabilities group who would like everyone to earn 6.75. But we know that future for our children and those that I'm a guardian for, that that will not happen.

Cary Pfeffer:
And Phil, let me give you the same opportunity to sort of go through a description of your take on this issue first.

Phil Pangrazio:
Well, I think we are on the same page. I think we want everybody, all people with disabilities, to be able to work and earn minimum wage if they can. And earn above minimum wages if they can, prevailing wages. I think what we really are advocating on behalf of is a proposal that's on the table regarding creating the vocational training program which would prioritize a community-based employment as the first option, as a priority that sheltered work centers, sheltered employment centers, would first prioritize community-based employment as the ultimate goal for everyone who comes through, everyone with that developmental disability, cognitive disability, intellectual disability. That would be the first -- given the first priority. And the proposal that we see -- and again we think it's a better alternative to amending proposition 202 -- that that proposal would offer -- it's offering 525 hours of vocational training for three consecutive -- on a time-limited basis, three consecutive times through that vocational training program. The workers would be designated as trainees. They would still be allowed to receive sub minimum wages during that training session. But after the time limited training, then the goal which we would want the employment centers to again prioritize community-based employment for those particular employees.

Cary Pfeffer:
So when you say prioritize community-based employment. You mean moving folks into situations where they are indeed making minimum wage.

Phil Pangrazio:
Making minimum wage and making prevailing wages. And in integrated settings in the community.

Cary Pfeffer:
And setting that as the priority and moving forward with that kind of a plan, is that realistic for some of the folks who are in these work centers?

Bev Hermon:
I thought the tape that you showed is very indicative of the fact that that can't be true for everyone. But providers do try very hard to move people to the most independent setting. And in fact, do have many enclaves out there where the provider is still the employer and pays them so that the industry does not have the problems of dealing with the medical issues and those things that I talked about. But they do work, then, where other workers are, too. And that still doesn't bring them to 6.75, however. Because they just don't work as fast. The cognitive disabilities are part of the problem, of course.

Cary Pfeffer:
And in the proposal that you outlined, Phil, talk a little bit about what happens when someone has gone through three cycles of the sort of training process. What happens to those folks who are still not ready to get the kind of employment that would pay them minimum wage or better?

Phil Pangrazio:
Let me clarify. I meant to say 2500 and 25 hours, three consecutive sessions. Which is essentially about 18 months of vocational training.

Cary Pfeffer:
Sort of three cycles of 18 months. And they get sort of assessed at the end of each of those cycles.

Phil Pangrazio:
Correct.

Cary Pfeffer:
So my question is, after those three for workers who cannot necessarily make the minimum wage --

Phil Pangrazio:
If after the vocational training, after assessing a person's skills, their aptitude, their desires, if they are not appropriate for community-based employment, then they would then be able to continue working. They would be able to continue activity in the work centers and be classified as a state service. They would not be classified as an employee, because otherwise they would be required to be paid minimum wage. But they would be able to continue receiving a stipend under the program. They would earn a sub minimum wage stipend. So it would really not be any different than it is now. And I think that's our feeling is that's not changing. And that shouldn't hurt the workers under those -- the individuals with disabilities under those circumstances.

Cary Pfeffer:
And I think some people who are just hearing about this issue now, Bev, might be concerned about circumstances where workers are taken advantage of, perhaps. Should that be a concern where it seems like some of the concern for the folks who want to make sure that everybody gets paid minimum wage would focus in on? We want to make sure that these folks aren't simply being taken advantage of and being paid less than minimum wage because there's a loophole in the system.

Bev Hermon:
Well, actually the services are through D.E.S., Developmental Disabilities, Division of Developmental Disabilities. And it's probably the most overseen service in the state of Arizona. Because first of all, the parents sit down with the child and with the teams. And once a year they design what they think is in the best interests. And there's all kind of evaluations made, both with respect to work and home settings and so forth. And then, as Mr. Cuddy described on the tape, then if they're operating under a 14-c clearance from the federal government, that is highly overseen as well. And then the work centers are, of course, there are people in and out all the time. They're called sheltered workshops sometimes. That's no longer a term that's relative. The way that we are -- what we're asking the legislature to do is to bring us into conformance with 44 other states who have a 14-c exemption which we already had before Arizona created its own minimum wage. And it's just the simplest way to do it. We continue to meet with the industrial commission. And we have with other organizations to try to craft something that is mutually beneficial. But we absolutely do prefer the overturning of the proposition. And we're prepared to talk about that.

Cary Pfeffer:
All right. And I'm going to give you just the last 15 seconds to sort of summarize from your perspective, Phil.

Phil Pangrazio:
Well, my biggest concern, and I think the groups I represent, our biggest concerns that the sheltered workshops, the employment centers may not -- I think the first option that is being offered to individuals with cognitive disabilities is the center-based employment option. And we really want the community option to be the first option. And we're concerned that if that doesn't happen, individuals are more likely to get trapped into that setting unnecessarily. And I think that's our position.

Cary Pfeffer:
All right. Phil, thank you very much. Bev appreciate your being here as well.

Bev Hermon:
Thank you very much.

Cary Pfeffer:
The Arizona Foundation for Women promotes philanthropy, funds model programs, facilitates community collaboration and influences public policy by and for women. The foundation will be hosting a summit on the status of women on February 8th in Phoenix. At the summit, the foundation will release its report "Arizona women 2007: A Status Update". In a moment more on that and the summit. First, here's a brief look some of the contrasts and comparisons done in the report.

Merry Lucero:
The Arizona Foundation for Women will release its report, "Arizona Women 2007, A Status Update." The report ranks measures related to women's health, education, social justice and political participation. The results show just how variable Arizona women's well-being is. In health, Arizona ranks in the top quarter for maternal and child health and female disease, yet has a poor ranking for healthcare coverage. In economics Arizona is near the top for women's employment and earnings, yet in the bottom half of the nation for the number of women above the poverty line. In education, Arizona improved its ranking for women with a 4-year degree and it ranks highly for the number of women enrolled in post-secondary education. However, Arizona's high school dropout rate is one of the worst in the country. In social justice, Arizona has some of the most expensive childcare in the country. Poor ranking for teen birth, a struggling elder care system and one of the highest numbers of women in prison. This is the single category where results were poor across the board. And in political participation, Arizona is near the top of the nation for the number of female elected officials, yet has one of the lowest female voter registrations and turnout numbers.

Cary Pfeffer:
And joining us now is Jodi Beckley Liggett for the Arizona Foundation for Women. Jodi thanks very much for being here.

Jodi Beckley Liggett:
Thanks for having me.

Cary Pfeffer:
We see some contrasts in looking at the overall picture for Arizona Women in 2007. They were addressed just sort of briefly in that taped report. Can you fill us in on some of the details there?

Jodi Beckley Liggett:
Well, there really are interesting contrasts, as the report mentioned. And one of the most interesting things about the data that we collected was even inside the good rankings, there are disparities. So while we're doing great for college enrollment across the board, that's not true for women of color. While employment and earnings look positive for Arizona, also not true for many in communities of color. So we've really got a long way to go in Arizona to bring everybody up, even in our areas of positive ranking.

Cary Pfeffer:
And when this kind of a report comes out, and we'll talk a little bit about some additional details there, what is the hope? North, you take this information and you do what with it?

Jodi Beckley Liggett:
Well, I think what we hope that will not happen is what happens with so many of these reports that get put on a shelf and sort of you spend a week talking about it and then everyone for gets about it. -- forgets about it. We really hope that doesn't happen. And that's part of the reason for the summit. To bring people together, to talk about the data, what it means and then what do we do, where do we go from here. At the foundation, we are a private, charitable foundation. We raise money and make grants in the community. So we want to use the report to inform our philanthropy. But there are also things reported on that are really government or public responsibilities. And we want to use that data to inform our advocacy work. We don't want to do it alone. We want everyone to get in the game, especially we want other women to really participate, be informed on the issues and be good advocates for themselves.

Cary Pfeffer:
So you probably see yourself going out and probably forming alliances with other like-minded organizations, moving forward and looking for people who would come to you with programs that would address some of these issuing I would assume.

Jodi Beckley Liggett:
Absolutely. We've done some of this in the past year that gave us a taste for it. The foundation has historically been active on domestic violence issues. We had an opportunity to pull together stakeholders and work together with people already active in this area. And we feel that we were instrumental in gaining additional shelter funding in the governor's budget and then through the legislative process. Our board was really thrilled with that result. We got our feet wet in public policy, and we knew that we could do more. And we could do more in different sectors. We want to be a convener and be the ones who issue the call to action.

Cary Pfeffer:
And what do you see, for example, based on some of the information in the report, what do you see as main priorities? We talked about domestic violence. But other main priorities as you move forward into 2007.

Jodi Beckley Liggett:
Well, in -- and actually talking to individuals who are in these situations -- what really does start to become apparent is that poverty and lack of educational progress underpins so many of these issues. We know, for instance, that domestic violence can occur in all social sectors. But a woman's ability to leave and support herself is an economic issue.

Cary Pfeffer: That's about options and trying to figure out what can be done.

Jodi Beckley Liggett: Exactly. And so many of the areas really when you start to peel back the layers of data and the circumstances surrounding individual cases, really do boil down to economics. Arizona has a pretty poor rate of health insurance coverage. And we know that's a dollars and cents issue for many many people.

Cary Pfeffer:
You also mentioned education. And are there things that the organization as individuals or that your organization combining with others will be doing to try to do what they can to address that part of the equation?

Jodi Beckley Liggett:
We've historically been very interested in school success for girls. We have done, in the past, a number of programs. Most recently a Hispanic mother-daughter program in conjunction with A.S.U. so we are interested in that. I think looking forward, which is what we're doing here; there may be opportunities that will be informed by this data. In particular on school dropout and poverty, teen pregnancy is just another really common thread. Girls who become pregnant during their teen years are at very high risk for dropout.

Cary Pfeffer:
We have information on people wanting to get more information put that up there. And Jodi, thank you very much for coming in and helping us out with a better understanding.

Jodi Beckley Liggett:
You're welcome. It was a pleasure.

Cary Pfeffer:
All right.

Cary Pfeffer:
To watch video of tonight's program, read transcripts and get information about upcoming "Horizon" stories please visit our website, azpbs.org.

Cary Pfeffer:
And thank you very much for joining us on this Tuesday evening. I'm Cary Pfeffer. I'll be filling in here through Thursday. We've got some interesting topics to discuss and we hope that you'll continue to join us and to continue to enjoy the programming here on eight. Have a good night.

Disabled Workers


  • The unintended consequences from increasing the minimum wage to $6.75 are at the center of a conflict between groups advocating for the same people: disabled workers. Prior to the passage of the measure, disabled workers could be paid less than minimum wage depending on their capabilities. Some advocacy groups say disabled workers should be paid at least the minimum wage, others say the loophole allowing lower wages give disabled workers the opportunity to be employed. A bill circulating at the state legislature would allow disabled workers to earn less than the minimum wage. We look at all sides of the issue.
Guests:
  • Bev Hermon - Executive Director, Association of Providers for People with Disabilities
  • Phil Pangrazio - Executive Director, Arizona Bridge to Independent Living


View Transcript
Cary Pfeffer:
Tonight on "Horizon", an issue has some groups that advocate for the same community expressing differing opinions. Paying disabled workers less than minimum wage based on their capabilities. Plus, Arizona is near the top of the nation for electing females into political office. But we also have one of the lowest female voter registration rates in the country. A recent study shows some inconsistencies on the status of women in Arizona. Those stories coming up on "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Cary Pfeffer:
Good evening, I'm Cary Pfeffer, welcome to "Horizon." The consequences from increasing the minimum wage in Arizona to $6.75 an hour are at the center of a conflict between groups advocating for the same people: disabled workers. Prior to the passage of the measure, disabled workers could be paid less than minimum wage depending on their productivity and capabilities under special work programs. Some advocacy groups say disabled workers should be paid at least the minimum wage, while others say the exemption allowing lower wages gives disabled workers the opportunity to be employed. The Arizona industrial commission implements the new minimum wage law and has advised providers who employ the disabled workers to proceed as usual, until the agency has a policy statement and permanent rule on the new law. There is also legislation being crafted by state lawmakers to try to remedy the situation. In a moment, we look at all sides of the issue. First, Merry Lucero looks at how one organization that provides services to the disabled has dealt with the problem.

Victor:
What I do like is to work. and when I'm at work, I seem to do better; I seem to feel more relaxed.

Shelley:
I love it.

Merry Lucero:
Why?

Shelley:
It's fun to have a job.

Merry Lucero:
Up until January 1, workers like Victor and Shelley at the Centers for Habilitation, folded papers and towels and many other jobs.

Dave Cutty:
For many of these men and women, our employment opportunity is the opportunity of last resort for them. In many cases they are people who have tried in some cases multiple times to work in the community in the competitive labor force and not been successful for a number of wages.

Merry Lucero:
They are paid commensurate wages.

Dave Cutty:
If the typical worker without a disability can produce 100 units per hour, these individuals may be able to produce 20 to 35 units per hour. So they're working at about a 25 -- on average a 25 to 30\% capacity of the norm and thus they are paid what we call a commensurate wage which is 25 to 30\% of what the prevailing wage would be for that particular job.

Merry Lucero:
Fees that average to about 2.40. Now these workers are doing a time trial to measure their work capacity. At the Centers for Habilitation the workers are paid on special work certificates issued by the Department of Labor.

Dave Cutty:
Every individual that is paid a sub-minimum wage must present a certificate of disability issued by a licensed practitioner, physician, psychiatrist, verifying not only that they have a disability that hampers their ability to work, but also we must be able to demonstrate that that particular form of disability applies to the type of work being performed.

Merry Lucero:
The certificates must be reissued every three years.

Dave Cutty:
And we also conduct time studies on a semiannual basis to ensure that that individual's productivity rate hasn't changed, either improved or deteriorated during that six-month period of time. We have to have those on file. Because the department of labor has a tendency to audit us on a fairly regular basis. And rightfully so. Because we are paying below minimum wage. The Department of Labor pays very close attention to organizations like ourselves that operate under one of their certificates.

Merry Lucero:
The nonprofit organization provides services to about 1,000 people with a variety of disabilities, including placing workers in community-based jobs. This facility also holds vocational training and rehabilitation and a day activity program. 83 workers were laid off after the voter-approved minimum wage increase went into effect.

Dave Cutty:
We made that decision based on a number of facts. First, even though the State Industrial Commission came forward and made public a statement that they would not be enforcing the new minimum wage in supported work centers until the rules had been promulgated, which could be anywhere from six months to a year, probably, that did not mitigate the possibility of civil liability. And under the provisions of proposition 202, not only can we be sued by anyone for failing to pay the state minimum wage of 6.75 per hour, but it also provides for trouble damages.

Merry Lucero:
Cutter says the centers have never violated labor and wage laws and won't start now. Plus, paying the workers the new minimum wage would have cost the company an additional $450,000 a year, which they don't have.

Dave Cutty:
I don't think most of us in this field would oppose someone with a disability being paid 6.75 an hour. However, we deal with reality. And the reality is for the past 30 years that we've been assisting people into jobs, we have found very few employers who are able or willing to subsidize someone's pay to the tune of 65 or 70\% of that paycheck. So finding employers out there who will provide that level of subsidy and also the tremendous degree of flexibility that's required to employ some of these individuals who have very significant disabilities in the work environment would be difficult at best.

Merry Lucero:
Some workers are not too happy about the furlough.

Disabled Worker:
If they can't get this back to normal, at my age, I have to figure where am I going to go?

Victor:
I don't really care much for the down time. Because I like to be busy.

Merry Lucero:
Cutter says what the workers mostly miss is not the paycheck but the social interaction, the contribution they make, and the sense of pride they get from coming to work every day.

Cary Pfeffer:
And joining me now to talk more about minimum wage and workers with disabilities, Bev Hermon Executive Director of the Association of Providers for People with Disabilities, and Phil Pangrazio Executive Director of the Arizona Bridge to Independent Living. Thank you both very much for being here. And in the spirit of full disclosure I want to mention that I am associated with an organization called Gomper Center. I'm on their board. I'm not necessarily an expert on this issue. But Gomper Center has one of these facilities that provides this kind of training work. At this point I'll put on my reporter's hat and try to ask questions of both of you that tries to get to clarifying this issue. And in most cases, both of you would be on the same page in most of these circumstances, correct?

Bev Hermon:
Yes.

Cary Pfeffer:
In this situation, try to describe the difference in your own words -- Bev, we'll start with you. It seems that the obvious question is, whatever minimum wage, shouldn't everyone be paid that minimum wage.

Bev Hermon:
In theory that's absolutely true. However -- and I have a son in this population -- for certain individuals who are very compromised, in other words they have severe mental retardation, they simply cannot work in a normal wage setting but they love normalcy. And the work centers give them the opportunity to be like everybody else, to go to work, to enjoy the social interaction that was talked about in the tape, and to earn a paycheck no matter how small, to be able to spend that paycheck. So it brings dignity, too. And for example, my son has knock down seizures. He has grand mals seizures. And calling 9-1-1 is very routine where he works now. So that's the difference. I'm not so sure that there is a major difference. If it is, there is a physical disabilities group who would like everyone to earn 6.75. But we know that future for our children and those that I'm a guardian for, that that will not happen.

Cary Pfeffer:
And Phil, let me give you the same opportunity to sort of go through a description of your take on this issue first.

Phil Pangrazio:
Well, I think we are on the same page. I think we want everybody, all people with disabilities, to be able to work and earn minimum wage if they can. And earn above minimum wages if they can, prevailing wages. I think what we really are advocating on behalf of is a proposal that's on the table regarding creating the vocational training program which would prioritize a community-based employment as the first option, as a priority that sheltered work centers, sheltered employment centers, would first prioritize community-based employment as the ultimate goal for everyone who comes through, everyone with that developmental disability, cognitive disability, intellectual disability. That would be the first -- given the first priority. And the proposal that we see -- and again we think it's a better alternative to amending proposition 202 -- that that proposal would offer -- it's offering 525 hours of vocational training for three consecutive -- on a time-limited basis, three consecutive times through that vocational training program. The workers would be designated as trainees. They would still be allowed to receive sub minimum wages during that training session. But after the time limited training, then the goal which we would want the employment centers to again prioritize community-based employment for those particular employees.

Cary Pfeffer:
So when you say prioritize community-based employment. You mean moving folks into situations where they are indeed making minimum wage.

Phil Pangrazio:
Making minimum wage and making prevailing wages. And in integrated settings in the community.

Cary Pfeffer:
And setting that as the priority and moving forward with that kind of a plan, is that realistic for some of the folks who are in these work centers?

Bev Hermon:
I thought the tape that you showed is very indicative of the fact that that can't be true for everyone. But providers do try very hard to move people to the most independent setting. And in fact, do have many enclaves out there where the provider is still the employer and pays them so that the industry does not have the problems of dealing with the medical issues and those things that I talked about. But they do work, then, where other workers are, too. And that still doesn't bring them to 6.75, however. Because they just don't work as fast. The cognitive disabilities are part of the problem, of course.

Cary Pfeffer:
And in the proposal that you outlined, Phil, talk a little bit about what happens when someone has gone through three cycles of the sort of training process. What happens to those folks who are still not ready to get the kind of employment that would pay them minimum wage or better?

Phil Pangrazio:
Let me clarify. I meant to say 2500 and 25 hours, three consecutive sessions. Which is essentially about 18 months of vocational training.

Cary Pfeffer:
Sort of three cycles of 18 months. And they get sort of assessed at the end of each of those cycles.

Phil Pangrazio:
Correct.

Cary Pfeffer:
So my question is, after those three for workers who cannot necessarily make the minimum wage --

Phil Pangrazio:
If after the vocational training, after assessing a person's skills, their aptitude, their desires, if they are not appropriate for community-based employment, then they would then be able to continue working. They would be able to continue activity in the work centers and be classified as a state service. They would not be classified as an employee, because otherwise they would be required to be paid minimum wage. But they would be able to continue receiving a stipend under the program. They would earn a sub minimum wage stipend. So it would really not be any different than it is now. And I think that's our feeling is that's not changing. And that shouldn't hurt the workers under those -- the individuals with disabilities under those circumstances.

Cary Pfeffer:
And I think some people who are just hearing about this issue now, Bev, might be concerned about circumstances where workers are taken advantage of, perhaps. Should that be a concern where it seems like some of the concern for the folks who want to make sure that everybody gets paid minimum wage would focus in on? We want to make sure that these folks aren't simply being taken advantage of and being paid less than minimum wage because there's a loophole in the system.

Bev Hermon:
Well, actually the services are through D.E.S., Developmental Disabilities, Division of Developmental Disabilities. And it's probably the most overseen service in the state of Arizona. Because first of all, the parents sit down with the child and with the teams. And once a year they design what they think is in the best interests. And there's all kind of evaluations made, both with respect to work and home settings and so forth. And then, as Mr. Cuddy described on the tape, then if they're operating under a 14-c clearance from the federal government, that is highly overseen as well. And then the work centers are, of course, there are people in and out all the time. They're called sheltered workshops sometimes. That's no longer a term that's relative. The way that we are -- what we're asking the legislature to do is to bring us into conformance with 44 other states who have a 14-c exemption which we already had before Arizona created its own minimum wage. And it's just the simplest way to do it. We continue to meet with the industrial commission. And we have with other organizations to try to craft something that is mutually beneficial. But we absolutely do prefer the overturning of the proposition. And we're prepared to talk about that.

Cary Pfeffer:
All right. And I'm going to give you just the last 15 seconds to sort of summarize from your perspective, Phil.

Phil Pangrazio:
Well, my biggest concern, and I think the groups I represent, our biggest concerns that the sheltered workshops, the employment centers may not -- I think the first option that is being offered to individuals with cognitive disabilities is the center-based employment option. And we really want the community option to be the first option. And we're concerned that if that doesn't happen, individuals are more likely to get trapped into that setting unnecessarily. And I think that's our position.

Cary Pfeffer:
All right. Phil, thank you very much. Bev appreciate your being here as well.

Bev Hermon:
Thank you very much.

Cary Pfeffer:
The Arizona Foundation for Women promotes philanthropy, funds model programs, facilitates community collaboration and influences public policy by and for women. The foundation will be hosting a summit on the status of women on February 8th in Phoenix. At the summit, the foundation will release its report "Arizona women 2007: A Status Update". In a moment more on that and the summit. First, here's a brief look some of the contrasts and comparisons done in the report.

Merry Lucero:
The Arizona Foundation for Women will release its report, "Arizona Women 2007, A Status Update." The report ranks measures related to women's health, education, social justice and political participation. The results show just how variable Arizona women's well-being is. In health, Arizona ranks in the top quarter for maternal and child health and female disease, yet has a poor ranking for healthcare coverage. In economics Arizona is near the top for women's employment and earnings, yet in the bottom half of the nation for the number of women above the poverty line. In education, Arizona improved its ranking for women with a 4-year degree and it ranks highly for the number of women enrolled in post-secondary education. However, Arizona's high school dropout rate is one of the worst in the country. In social justice, Arizona has some of the most expensive childcare in the country. Poor ranking for teen birth, a struggling elder care system and one of the highest numbers of women in prison. This is the single category where results were poor across the board. And in political participation, Arizona is near the top of the nation for the number of female elected officials, yet has one of the lowest female voter registrations and turnout numbers.

Cary Pfeffer:
And joining us now is Jodi Beckley Liggett for the Arizona Foundation for Women. Jodi thanks very much for being here.

Jodi Beckley Liggett:
Thanks for having me.

Cary Pfeffer:
We see some contrasts in looking at the overall picture for Arizona Women in 2007. They were addressed just sort of briefly in that taped report. Can you fill us in on some of the details there?

Jodi Beckley Liggett:
Well, there really are interesting contrasts, as the report mentioned. And one of the most interesting things about the data that we collected was even inside the good rankings, there are disparities. So while we're doing great for college enrollment across the board, that's not true for women of color. While employment and earnings look positive for Arizona, also not true for many in communities of color. So we've really got a long way to go in Arizona to bring everybody up, even in our areas of positive ranking.

Cary Pfeffer:
And when this kind of a report comes out, and we'll talk a little bit about some additional details there, what is the hope? North, you take this information and you do what with it?

Jodi Beckley Liggett:
Well, I think what we hope that will not happen is what happens with so many of these reports that get put on a shelf and sort of you spend a week talking about it and then everyone for gets about it. -- forgets about it. We really hope that doesn't happen. And that's part of the reason for the summit. To bring people together, to talk about the data, what it means and then what do we do, where do we go from here. At the foundation, we are a private, charitable foundation. We raise money and make grants in the community. So we want to use the report to inform our philanthropy. But there are also things reported on that are really government or public responsibilities. And we want to use that data to inform our advocacy work. We don't want to do it alone. We want everyone to get in the game, especially we want other women to really participate, be informed on the issues and be good advocates for themselves.

Cary Pfeffer:
So you probably see yourself going out and probably forming alliances with other like-minded organizations, moving forward and looking for people who would come to you with programs that would address some of these issuing I would assume.

Jodi Beckley Liggett:
Absolutely. We've done some of this in the past year that gave us a taste for it. The foundation has historically been active on domestic violence issues. We had an opportunity to pull together stakeholders and work together with people already active in this area. And we feel that we were instrumental in gaining additional shelter funding in the governor's budget and then through the legislative process. Our board was really thrilled with that result. We got our feet wet in public policy, and we knew that we could do more. And we could do more in different sectors. We want to be a convener and be the ones who issue the call to action.

Cary Pfeffer:
And what do you see, for example, based on some of the information in the report, what do you see as main priorities? We talked about domestic violence. But other main priorities as you move forward into 2007.

Jodi Beckley Liggett:
Well, in -- and actually talking to individuals who are in these situations -- what really does start to become apparent is that poverty and lack of educational progress underpins so many of these issues. We know, for instance, that domestic violence can occur in all social sectors. But a woman's ability to leave and support herself is an economic issue.

Cary Pfeffer: That's about options and trying to figure out what can be done.

Jodi Beckley Liggett: Exactly. And so many of the areas really when you start to peel back the layers of data and the circumstances surrounding individual cases, really do boil down to economics. Arizona has a pretty poor rate of health insurance coverage. And we know that's a dollars and cents issue for many many people.

Cary Pfeffer:
You also mentioned education. And are there things that the organization as individuals or that your organization combining with others will be doing to try to do what they can to address that part of the equation?

Jodi Beckley Liggett:
We've historically been very interested in school success for girls. We have done, in the past, a number of programs. Most recently a Hispanic mother-daughter program in conjunction with A.S.U. so we are interested in that. I think looking forward, which is what we're doing here; there may be opportunities that will be informed by this data. In particular on school dropout and poverty, teen pregnancy is just another really common thread. Girls who become pregnant during their teen years are at very high risk for dropout.

Cary Pfeffer:
We have information on people wanting to get more information put that up there. And Jodi, thank you very much for coming in and helping us out with a better understanding.

Jodi Beckley Liggett:
You're welcome. It was a pleasure.

Cary Pfeffer:
All right.

Cary Pfeffer:
To watch video of tonight's program, read transcripts and get information about upcoming "Horizon" stories please visit our website, azpbs.org.

Cary Pfeffer:
And thank you very much for joining us on this Tuesday evening. I'm Cary Pfeffer. I'll be filling in here through Thursday. We've got some interesting topics to discuss and we hope that you'll continue to join us and to continue to enjoy the programming here on eight. Have a good night.

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