Supporting Employment Of The Disabled

14 Feb


A new program to support the employment of individuals with disabilities is being launched in New York State, according to a New York Times post:

The School of Industrial and Labor Relations’ Employment and Disability Institute is collaborating on the project “New York Makes Work Pay,” which plans to make finding employment easier for disabled people. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services is sponsoring the initiative. Collaborators with the EDI include New York State Most Integrated Settings Coordinating Council’s Employment Committee, the New York State Office of Mental Health and Syracuse University’s Burton Blatt Institute, according to the Cornell Chronicle.

In the state of New York, there are over 1 million residents between the ages of 21 and 64 that have at least one disability according to the EDI’s 2007 Disability Status Report. While 78 percent of non-disabled New York residents in that age group are employed, only 34 percent of New Yorkers with disabilities have jobs.

In the short-term, the project is working to inform disabled people of their options. Golden explained that the project will create a website to make public the information disabled people need in order to return to work. One current issue Golden mentioned was that many disabled people incorrectly believe that returning to work would compromise their current health care plan. Since they do not understand the rules they elect to avoid any risk by not returning to work.

I wish the program managers well in this endeavor. It’s sad that the unemployment/underemployment of the disabled is so high. Studies show that the retention, productivity, absenteeism and health care claim activity of the disabled is on par, or better, than peer groups. As employers, we may be missing out on a group of talented people who could add value to our companies.

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