By Kyle Ingram
People with disabilities trail the employment rates of their nondisabled peers in every state in the country.
Several converging factors result in people with disabilities participating in the labor force at only a third the rate of people without disabilities. Barriers to employment access and opportunity results in almost 30 percent of people with disabilities living at or below the poverty line.
A forthcoming report, "Work Matters: A Framework for States on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities" offers state legislators a number of policy options to consider in increasing employment access and opportunity for people with disabilities.
The release of "Work Matters" marks the culmination of a year-long task force initiative of state legislators, legislative staff and executive branch representatives, convened jointly by NCSL and the Council of State Governments (CSG).
Join us on Dec. 8 at the NCSL Capitol Forum in Washington, D.C., for the rollout of the "Work Matters" report during a joint session of the Labor and Economic Development, Education, Health and Human Services, Budgets and Revenues Committees and Military and Veterans Affairs Task Force.
The report contains 13 state policy options developed by the bipartisan task force membership. Each policy option offers strategies to address barriers in education, workforce development, vocational rehabilitation and business development systems that affect people with disabilities. Readers of the report will also find pertinent information, statistics and examples of current state policies and programming supporting the 13 policy options.
Because of the commitment made by the task force members to develop bipartisan strategies, NCSL constituents in all states will find comprehensive and relevant content that can inform their policymaking related to supporting people with disabilities striving to get, keep and succeed in a job.
“In sum, people with disabilities are a key factor in states' ability to build strong, inclusive workforces that translate into economic success. While state policy efforts to support increased disability employment have made an impact, many individuals with disabilities remain unemployed or under-employed. Moving the needle on this critical workforce issue will require strong public policy at the state level that systematically addresses a number of key areas.”
– Excerpt, "Work Matters: A Framework for States on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities."
A digital version of the report will be made available Dec. 8 on NCSL’s Disabilities Employment research page.
Kyle Ingram is a policy specialist covering disabilities and employment issues for the Environment, Energy and Transportation program.