The National Council on Disabilities recently released its report on disability employment, “Empowerment for Americans with Disabilities: Breaking Barriers to Careers and Full Employment”. The report details the barriers that people with disabilities face when trying to enter the workforce.
Currently the employment rate for working-age people with disabilities is half that of people without disabilities. The report states that two-thirds of people with disabilities who are unemployed want to find work. The report examines barriers to employment faced by people with disabilities by looking at the perspectives of both employer and prospective hire.
“The key challenges and barriers to greater employment of people with disabilities reflect both the supply side and demand side of the labor market. On the supply side, some people with disabilities have extra costs associated with working: education or training gaps, the need for flexible work arrangements, and disincentives from disability income and health care. On the demand side, the barriers include employer discrimination and reluctance to hire, corporate cultures that are not disability-friendly, and the need for accommodations.”
The report does highlight some good news for those people with disabilities who are moving into the job market. Continued growth in the information technology sector allows for more employment options for people with disabilities. Many companies are giving their employees opportunities for telecommuting and flexible work arrangements. For people with disabilities, these options afford many more possibilities for career development. There is also the increased attention to diversity in the workplace to consider. People with disabilities make up the largest minority group in the United States, and corporations view them as a sub-culture when forming their diversity plans.
The report concludes by offering policy suggestions on how to encourage corporations to increase the percentage of people with disabilities that they hire.
Read the report:
National Disability Employment Awareness Month is an opportunity to recognize the contributions and accomplishments of Americans with disabilities and to underscore our Nation's commitment to advancing employment opportunities for all our citizens.
Americans with disabilities strengthen our country's workforce, and their achievements help keep our Nation the world's economic leader. Landmark reforms such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 have helped to ensure that individuals with disabilities are better able to engage in productive work and participate fully in the life of our Nation. It is important that we continue to expand on these opportunities for Americans with disabilities by eliminating the barriers and false perceptions that hinder them from joining the workforce. By enhancing the workplace environment for people with disabilities, employers can help provide access to jobs that allow these individuals to demonstrate their potential and realize their dreams.
Since 2001, my New Freedom Initiative has helped promote the full participation of people with disabilities in all areas of society, including education, training, and employment. Programs such as "Ticket to Work" and services at One-Stop Career Centers have helped improve access to employment training and placement services for individuals who want to work. Throughout the Federal Government, we have worked to improve access to jobs for individuals with disabilities and to promote greater inclusiveness in the workforce. Individuals and employers can learn more about the Federal Government's disability-related programs by visiting DisabilityInfo.gov. We will continue to build on the progress that has been made for individuals with disabilities and will work to ensure that our Nation remains a place of opportunity for all Americans.
To recognize the contributions of Americans with disabilities and to encourage all citizens to ensure equal opportunity in the workforce, the Congress (36 U.S.C. 121) has designated October of each year as "National Disability Employment Awareness Month."
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 2007 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. I call upon Government officials, labor leaders, employers, and the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.
GEORGE W. BUSH