DULUTH - Josh Haug patiently folded each towel from a massive green bin at Essentia Health's fitness center in Duluth on Tuesday, stacking them in neat piles.
The 41-year-old, who has an intellectual disability, spends two shifts a week laundering and delivering clean towels to gym-goers - and earning more than minimum wage. It's a dramatic departure from the nearly two decades when he received "pennies on the dollar" to complete menial tasks at a segregated facility alongside dozens of other people with disabilities, said his mother, Joanne Steinke.
"It would be a great month if he brought home a check of $17. And now he makes $11 an hour," she said. "There's just something about having your own money, and being accountable for it, that has given him a lot of pride."