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Disability Employment: The Chronic Crisis

  • Posted on December 16, 2013 at 10:00 AM

In November 2013, 68.6% of Americans without disabilities participated in the workforce. Only 19.6% of Americans with disabilities participated in the workforce. Of the 68.6% of Americans without disabilities who participated in the workforce, 6.4% of them were unemployed. Of the 19.6% of Americans with disabilities who participated in the workforce, 12.3% of them were unemployed. This isn’t a lingering effect of the recession. This is a chronic problem that has gone on for years.

If it were any other American minority group, there would be public outcry and a demand for action. Unfortunately, people with disabilities don’t warrant that much attention from the general public. Despite the persistent prejudice against people with disabilities:

  • People with disabilities are employable.
  • People with disabilities can make substantial contributions as part of our workforce.
  • There is no excuse for these discrepancies.

I’m not going to dwell on this. The numbers speak for themselves. But I will return later this week with more information.

Thoughts on Labor

  • Posted on August 30, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Today starts the celebration of Labor Day (by which we mean Labor Weekend) in our little city. There is an abundance of fun, family-friendly activities which we will probably avoid in their entirety. The surprising thing is that most of them are going to be free!

It seems ironic to celebrate Labor Day in a city with abundant labor and far too few jobs. It’s even more ironic for me to celebrate Labor Day when the right to work is still a right reserved. It’s reserved for fully-able, fully-functioning adults with far too few exceptions. A lot of people with disabilities—even mild disabilities that require no overt accommodations—are finding it especially difficult to find work in this difficult economy.

When I think about it, I just can’t find a reason to celebrate. Labor Day doesn’t celebrate people like my husband, who chooses not to work outside the home or even for pay inside the home. Labor Day doesn’t celebrate people like me, who freelance and compete in an international market that drives my earnings down and down and down. Labor Day doesn’t celebrate many of my friends, who want to work but aren’t given the chance to.

So, what’s to celebrate? The power of the unions? Bah humbug! Their power is waning anyway and I for one am glad to see it go. If only the unions would loosen their strangle hold on my community a little more, maybe we could turn this economy around.

So I’m opting out. Indefinitely. Until the right to work is more than words on paper, until a person’s disabilities aren’t a hindrance to gainful employment, well then…I’ll be working my way through Labor Day.