With the Labor Day holiday upon us focus is on jobs.  Where are they?  How many need one?  And, How can we find them?  There are news releases and updates available including the Labor Secretary:  “There are jobs out there” and the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP): August 2010 Disability Employment Statistics Released

The economy has hit many people really hard but among those hardest hit are people with disabilities.  Even in a good economy people with disabilities have fewer opportunities available.  ODEP points out, “In August 2010, the percentage of people with disabilities in the labor force was 22.0.  By comparison, the percentage of persons with no disability in the labor force was 70.2.”

There is a great national campaign, ThinkBeyondTheLabel.com it’s messaging that labels get in the way, but disabilities rarely do.   Providing keen awareness that we often allow our prejudices to get in our way.  Focusing on disabilities instead of abilities creates a huge gap in the numbers 22 employed rather than 70.2 employed.

Some facts they provide, ‘Workers with disabilities do not have higher rates of absenteeism than their peers.’  And, ‘Employees with disabilities don’t increase your workers compensation insurance rates.’

Education and awareness is invaluable in getting beyond our opinions to truly understanding the realities of a vast untaped labor pool that is dedicated, hard working and loyal to their employers.

There are many more people with disabilities proving to us on a daily basis that they can dream big and achieve even higher successes than the majority of the rest of us.  We are extremely excited to hear first hand from one such person, Marlee Matlin will be presenting at our Annual Meeting & Conference and I can’t wait to meet her and broaden my knowledge about her abilities.

Additional resources are available here:  http://www.dol.gov/odep/categories/research/bls.htm

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