Americans with disabilities responding to a survey regarding their workplace experiences report that they are striving to work and overcome barriers to employment.
Findings from the survey, conducted by researchers from Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire, Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD), were published recently in the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation.
“Approximately 69 percent of those surveyed are striving to work, which is defined as working, actively preparing for employment, searching for jobs, seeking more hours, or overcoming barriers to finding and maintaining employment” says Elaine Katz, senior vice president of grants and communications at Kessler Foundation.
“By focusing on the successful outcomes of job-seekers and employees with disabilities, rather than the barriers, we are reframing the discourse and adding to the growing body of knowledge on best employment practices,” she adds, in a media release from Kessler Foundation.
A substantial percentage of employees reported experiencing—and overcoming—barriers to finding and maintaining employment, including insufficient education or training, negative attitudes of supervisors and coworkers, inaccurate assumptions on ability, pay disparity, and lack of transportation.
More than 42% of survey respondents were currently working, with 60.7% of those working more than 40 hours a week. Other findings showed that approximately 50% of the respondents used workplace accommodations and were satisfied with their jobs, and nearly 90% felt accepted in their workplace.
“This review highlights the strategies people with disabilities use to search for work and navigate barriers, a topic largely overlooked in contemporary disability and employment research,” explains John O’Neill, PhD, director of disability and employment research at Kessler Foundation, in the release.
“Our hope is that this information will aid the development of targeted policies and programs that foster long-term increases in workforce participation among Americans with disabilities.”
[Source(s): Kessler Foundation, Science Daily]
This is wonderful news in that it demonstrates that many individuals with a disability can meet the essential requirements of the job with or without reasonable accommodations. In a congressional study done years ago it was found that for every dollar invested by Congress for services provided by vocational rehabilitation agencies (with assessment, technology and training, eleven dollars is returned when a person with a disability resumes employment and becomes a tax payer.