Twenty-eight years ago, late President George H.W. Bush signed into action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which henceforth prohibited workplace discrimination against people with disabilities. We’ve seen slow growth concerning disability inclusion within those 28 years; therefore, we still have a lot of ground to cover before we experience equal opportunity for people with disabilities in the workplace.
2017's Bureau Labor Statistics revealed there were 50 million people with disabilities in America. Of those 50 million people with disabilities, only 29% of the working-aged (16-64 years old) were employed. People without disabilities have a 75% employment rate within the working age. This constitutes a 46% difference in employment status between people with and without disabilities. Moreover, 9.2% of people with disabilities are actively seeking work compared to 4.2% people without disabilities who are actively seeking work. People with disabilities are seeking work at twice the rate of people without disabilities, which further illustrates there are not as many opportunities for people with disabilities in America.
Yet 2019 is proving to be a monumental year towards inclusion. In January, New York State Comptroller DiNapoli requested for all New York-based companies to report disability inclusion using the Disability Quality Index, a database which objectively analyzes the quality of inclusion participating companies and businesses. This push for New York businesses to become aware of how inclusive they are (or aren't) is already gaining momentum in the global market. Businesses, such as Unilever, are steadily partnering with disability inclusion campaigns such as Caroline Casey's The Valuable 500. The results are already gaining traction.
At Be the Change, Charleston, our goal for 2020 is to develop and implement a comprehensive job training program to support businesses within the greater Charleston area who want to hire people with disabilities. We will help them create policies, procedures, and practices which support hirees, as well as formulate employee accommodations to ensure quality work.
Be the Change, Charleston is dedicated to continue generating awareness of employment inclusion.
List of Resources:
United States Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) dol.gov/odep
The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (Earn) AskEARN.org
Job Accommodation Network (JAN) AskJAN.org
Leadership for the Employment and Economic Advancement of People with Disabilities (LEAD) leadcenter.org
National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) ncwd-youth.in
Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) PEATWorks.org
Workforce Recruitment Program wrp.gov
World Economic Forum https://www.weforum.org/press/2018/12/world-economic-forum-annual-meeting-2019-to-highlight-disability-inclusion/?fbclid=IwAR2aVGnFvkYgWv1Ngv7e4X58cU32HJ1a5Qj7Zuoa4SjfaRZXYKBz0WgeQ3Ej