Survey Finds Most With Special Needs ‘Striving To Work’
A new, national survey finds that the majority of people with disabilities want to be employed, but they often encounter barriers to work.
Overall, nearly 43 percent of individuals surveyed said they were currently working. Another 25 percent said they’d been previously employed and a handful of people said they hadn’t worked but were looking for a job.
Collectively, those behind the research said the figures show that nearly 69 percent of those with disabilities are “striving to work.”
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The findings come from a telephone poll of more than 3,000 adults with disabilities across the country conducted by the University of New Hampshire for the Kessler Foundation, a New Jersey-based nonprofit that focuses on neurological disabilities.
For the survey, pollsters random-dialed over 117,000 landline and cellphone numbers across the country between October 2014 and April 2015 to reach households with at least one adult with a disability. In most cases, the individuals themselves were interviewed, but in 18 percent a proxy answered questions on behalf of a person with special needs.
People surveyed cited several barriers to obtaining employment including transportation, lack of proper education or training and assumptions from employers about their inability to perform the job.
What’s more, the findings suggest that obstacles persist for individuals who are employed, with lower pay than others doing similar work and negative attitudes from supervisors and coworkers cited as issues on the job.
“This clearly demonstrates that people with disabilities are ready and able to contribute their talents in the workforce,” said Rodger DeRose, who heads the Kessler Foundation. “Efforts need to focus on improving self-advocacy, supporting family members and friends in job search efforts and educating coworkers and supervisors.”
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