Comparison of enclave and individual employment of individuals with mental disabilities within college grounds departments

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Virginia Tech

The Grounds Department of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPI & SU) employs two enclaves or work crews of individuals with mental disabilities (MD) as an integral part of its landscape maintenance program. Each enclave has five IMD and a supervisor that are involved in litter control, leaf removal, weeding, and snow removal. This method of employment has provided permanent employment for ten IMD.

VPI & SU’s success with enclave employment prompted the development of first a statewide, then a national survey to determine the characteristics of employment of IMD in grounds maintenance departments. Surveys were sent to all Virginia college and university grounds departments to document the employment of IMD. The results of the surveys indicated that IMD were employed either as individual employees or as members of an enclave. The surveys showed that the majority of IMD who were currently and permanently employed are members of an enclave within Virginia college grounds departments.

A survey similar to the Virginia survey was developed and sent to college grounds departments throughout the United States. Even though this national survey indicated that the majority of IMD who were currently and permanently employed were individual employees rather than as members of an enclave, the enclave employment was still considered a viable option for employing IMD.