The Work We Do

For this blog I spent hours researching employment statistics for people with disabilities from around the world.  Unfortunately I wasn’t shocked by what I found.  Working in supported employment for approximately ten years, I’ve seen the difficulties people with disabilities encounter while looking for jobs.  I also guessed that because we are an industrialized nation our numbers would be higher than that of those in developing nations.

According to the United States Department of Labor, in the United States in 2012, 35 percent of men and women of working age with some type of disability were employed.  That means that a whopping 65 percent of the same group of people were unemployed.  As an employee of an agency that provides employment supports to people with disabilities these numbers blow my mind.  How can it be that so many capable people cannot find work due to their disability?  My thoughts are that there is a lack of understanding amongst potential employers.  They have not been educated as to the benefits of hiring a person with a disability.  They are uninformed in regards to the quality of work a person with a disability can produce.  It is time that those people living in this country become attuned to the necessity of those with disabilities finding work.  Their unemployment rates are far higher than those of their counterparts without disabilities whose unemployment rates fall around  22 percent.

The following is a list of all countries and land area’s unemployment rates for those with disabilities according to the United Nations:

Asia and the Pacific:  80-90 percent unemployment rate

European Union: 2-3 times as likely to be unemployed as their non-disabled counterparts

Latin America and the Caribbean:  80-90 percent unemployment rate

Argentina: 91 percent unemployment rate

Austria: 40 percent unemployment rate

Brazil:  90 percent unemployment rate

Bulgaria: 87 percent unemployment rate

Canada: 26% unemployment rate

Chile: 75 percent unemployment rate

Costa Rica: 65 percent unemployment rate

Estonia: 75 percent unemployment rate

Greece:  84 percent unemployment rate

Honduras:  68 percent unemployment rate

India:  94 percent unemployment rate

Ireland:  63 percent unemployment rate

Mexico:  86 percent unemployment rate

New Zealand: 71 percent unemployment rate

Phillippines:  43 percent unemployment rate

Republic of Korea:  30 percent unemployment rate

Russian Federation:  70 percent unemployment rate

Spain:  66 percent unemployment rate

Turkey:  93 percent unemployment rate

As you can see the unemployment rates for those living in industrialized nations are far lower than those in developing countries but nonetheless they are way too high.  How can we help you might ask?  That is a great question.  We can educate those we know on the importance of people with disabilities becoming part of the workforce.  We can meet with and explain to potential employers the benefits of hiring people with disabilities.  We can write to our legislators and push them to make employing people with disabilities a priority.  We can sign petitions and join in demonstrations.  Whatever our mode may be, we can get out there and do something.  It’s time to make employing people with disabilities a priority.