Sunday, August 23, 2009

Workers With Disabilities Feel Job Squeeze

A dose of reality on the job market for people with developmental disabilities. Granted, this economy and the job loss is taking its toll on everyone. Bravo to programs t hat continue to train and help people with disabilities find jobs. And, the quote of t he day: "Our people don't want to be dependent on public assistance," said Danielle Frazier, employment director at Community Options. "They want to work. They want to pay bills. They want to live on their own, just like you and me. They just need a chance."

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- It can be even tougher to get a job when you have a disability.
Community Options, a nonprofit agency on State Street, helps people with disabilities secure jobs. But not just any jobs. Jobs that pay minimum wage or better in a variety of workplaces - not just in warehouses and "sheltered workshops," where many of the other employees also have disabilities.
Not only do people with disabilities often battle stereotypes about what they can and cannot do on the job, but layoffs at a number of area businesses are adding to their already challenging job searches.
But while the nation's unemployment rate was 9.7 percent in July, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 15.1 percent for the same month, according to the state Labor Department and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Both agencies said they did not have state or regional unemployment figures related to people with disabilities.

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