Disability and Employment

Kade and Josh, 2018 Scholars

At a 3.9% rate of unemployment, the United States is on track for the lowest unemployment rates since World War I. You may see this as good news, but this statistic overlooks one of the largest minorities in the United States— the disabled. Of disabled workers that are of working age, over 35% are unemployed. This statistic is in stark contrast workers without disabilities (3.9%). You may ask what has caused this huge divide in employment rates, and the answer isn’t as simple as you might think.

DO-IT participants works with a faculty member to improve their resumes.

A common factor that causes this divide is disability stigma and ableism. People with disabilities are often thought to need extra help or be less of a hard worker than an able-bodied employee. This has been proven false in many studies; they are often harder workers and need the same level of help as people without disabilities. Even so, some small businesses see a potential barrier in hiring disabled employees due to the costs associated with accommodations. The cost of accommodations is often 500 dollars.

Employment is one of the most important parts of adult life. The disabled community and allies fight against the stigma that is attached with “disability” to provide job opportunities for people with disabilities. By being more open about disability, we can work together to fight ableism.