U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson visits VIP
In October, U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson visited VIP Industries in Cape, taking a tour of the sheltered workshop and visiting with the employees.
Upon entering the workshop, the employees immediately recognized the Congresswoman and began yelling their greetings across the room. Emerson visited with each employee, shaking hands, posing for photographs, and taking a genuine interest in the type of work the employees produced.
As she made her way through the workshop, staff members explained the types of production jobs performed, such as paper sortation and kit assembly. They explained that some of the employees have worked at the workshop for over 30 years, and although many employees have tried to work in integrated community employment, it was unsuccessful and they returned to the workshop.
As the tour came to an end, two employees presented Emerson with a certificate of appreciation to commemorate National Disability Employment Awareness month, as well as to recognize her years of support of the sheltered workshop. Her late husband, U.S. Representative Bill Emerson, was a big supporter of the sheltered workshop as well.
Afterwards, the Congresswoman sat down with the VIP staff members to address their concerns. Some of the topics discussed included veteran's rights, social security, supported employment, establishing a distinction between intellectual and physical disabilities, and health care. In addition, they discussed first right of refusal opportunities for government contracts, and the reason why certain disability groups push to close sheltered workshops is correlated to the financial gain they will receive as a result.
It was an informative discussion and an enjoyable meeting. VIP employees and staff are grateful to U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson for taking time out of her busy schedule to visit with them.