Comparing Productivity in Greenhouse Tasks of Individuals with and without Mental Disabilities

in HortTechnology

Many studies have described the ability of individuals with mental disabilities to learn vocational tasks commonly performed in greenhouses, and a survey of horticulture employers reports a favorable perception toward the work habits of these individuals. Productivity data are not available from these studies, however. We sought to quantify productivity of individuals with and without mental disabilities performing entry-level greenhouse tasks. Information on ten tasks was compiled from surveys of four vocational centers with greenhouse production and six commercial greenhouses. Individuals with mental disabilities produced at rates of 46% to 192% of corresponding commercial rates, with seven often skills performed. above 75% of the commercial rate. The results from this pilot study suggest that individuals with mental disabilities can achieve satisfactory productivity in real work settings. While significance was not achieved due to limitations of the study, the results provide a baseline for further study by other researchers. The practical significance of these findings can be judged by trainers and employers.

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