By Kyle Ingram
For people with disabilities, finding, securing and maintaining employment that leads to self-sufficiency and economic security is one of the pressing issues to be addressed at next week's Legislative Summit in Chicago.
While the economy continues to rebound and monthly job growth occurs at a healthy rate, people with disabilities continue to experience extremely low labor force participation and employment rates relative to their peers without disabilities.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ July 2016 data on employment status of people age 16 and over, the labor force participation rate for people with disabilities is 20.4 percent, compared with 69.2 percent for people without disabilities. Employment rate figures fare no better, with only 18.1 percent of people with disabilities employed compared to 65.5 percent employment for people without disabilities.
NCSL has prepared two informational sessions addressing the employment of people with disabilities. During these sessions, legislators and legislative staff can interact with subject matter experts representing state, local and federal organizations working to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities.
During the Workforce Development and Employing People with Disabilities session at 1 p.m. Monday, explore strategies and innovations in meeting the needs of people with disabilities in state workforce development systems and how states can support employers in leveraging the creativity and unique perspectives of people with disabilities in their workforce.
Then at 5:15 pm Tuesday, August 9, attend the State Disability Employment Policy Developments in 2016 session to learn about state-level trends in disability employment policy, get a look at current and future efforts at NCSL to support legislators and legislative staff working on disability employment policy, and hear about the critical role transportation navigation and travel training plays in successful school-to-work transitions for people with disabilities.
Kyle Ingram is a policy specialist in NCSL’s Environment, Energy, and Transportation program, focusing on disability and employment issues.