Tag Archives: Disabilities

Debunking Myths of Employing People With Disabilities

19 Aug


A new brochure from the US Department of Labor provides useful information about hiring individuals with disabilities. It does a nice job of  factually reporting certain “myths”, including that reasonable accommodations mandated by the ADA law are costly (they aren’t, most cost nothing) and that you have to learn a different way of managing the disabled (you don’t, just manage well).

You can find a link to the brochure at Examiner.com.

Expectation + Opportunity = Full Participation

17 Aug


From Aspen Publishers:

“Expectation + Opportunity = Full Participation” is the official theme for October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), announced the US Department of Labor (DOL) on June 26, 2009. NDEAM is intended to urge employers, as they seek to fill positions, to embrace the richness of America’s diversity by considering the talents of all workers, including workers with disabilities.

Bravo for this unique theme, one that I do hope highlights what individuals with disabilities to do to contribute productively to our places of work.

If you think that hiring the disabled is to hard or will be too expensive or won’t address some of your current staffing challenges… think again.

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.

Disabled Unemployment Rate

6 Feb


I’d like to call your attention to a serious labor and social problem– the unemployment/underemployment of the disabled. The report published at Occupational Safety & Health Online gives the numbers:

The Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy released the first employment and unemployment data on Americans with disabilities this morning. This began a monthly data series that “will assist the nation in understanding how changing labor market conditions affect Americans with disabilities. Although it is widely believed that this group typically faces a higher rate of unemployment than individuals without disabilities, official estimates were not available until now,” the DOL news release said.

This morning’s release showed the unemployment rate for disabled Americans in January 2009, 13.2 percent, was 59 percent higher than the unemployment rate for non-disabled Americans in the same month, 8.3 percent.

“Now that so many Americans are suffering job losses, there is a tremendous amount of attention being paid to employment problems and solutions affecting the general population. Americans with disabilities typically experience similar employment difficulties, even when there is a robust economy. The economic downturn may just exacerbate their struggle. These data will go far toward efforts to increase the employment of people with disabilities,” John Davey, deputy assistant secretary for ODEP, said in the release today.

Are we missing an opportunity to hire people who are ready and able to work? As  the category of this blog post admonishes: Disability Isn’t Inability.