It is no secret that people with disabilities experience much higher rates of unemployment than those without disabilities—EVEN in a good job market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with disabilities are still twice as likely to be unemployed, compared to those without a disability—and that was BEFORE the coronavirus pandemic. According to a February, 2020 RespectAbility study, https://www.respectability.org/2020/02/best-states-2020/, Only 29,893 people with disabilities entered the workforce in 2018, a ten-fold decrease compared to the more than 343,000 new jobs for people with disabilities two years ago.
The RespectAbility report further notes:
‘Out of the more than 20 million working age (18-64) people with disabilities, only 7.6 million have jobs. There remains a serious gap in the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) between people with and without disabilities. In 2018, 37.6 percent of U.S. civilians with disabilities ages 18-64 living in the community had a job, compared to 77.2 percent for people without disabilities. That means there is a stunning 40-point gap in employment outcomes between people with and without disabilities. Even as other minority groups are entering the workforce in larger and larger numbers, people with disabilities are being left behind.”
What will the job market look like for people with disabilities once the pandemic lifts? We don’t know for sure, and it is likely to be “not good”–but I am pleased to report that many of my colleagues are giving a lot of thought to this issue. I look forward to reporting more on what I learn in future blogs. It may be time to “get creative.”
I continue to identify and report on creative job sites and training programs which are doing an amazing job offering “out of the box” opportunities to many people with disabilities. Have a look: