Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How The Recession Has Impacted AtWork! & People With Disabilities

The economic recession has impacted AtWork! and the people we serve in two ways: the amount of resources available to serve them and the job opportunities available for people seeking employment.

With less resources and fewer employers hiring, AtWork! struggled in 2010 to keep people with disabilities employed and find new jobs for people who are looking. We placed 14 people in jobs in 2010 (40% less than the previous 2 years). In order to meet the demand, we need to place 50 each year. 16 people lost jobs in 2010, the majority to lay-offs. This is the highest job loss we have experienced in 10 years and the first time it exceeded placements.

Jobs are vital to the economic well-being of the people we serve and their families. In addition, the loss of skills, confidence and self-esteem can be devastating. We see increased isolation, behavior regression, and deterioration of mental health when people lose their jobs and remain unemployed long-term. Families become impoverished when essential income is lost.

AtWork!’s largest commercial contract in our packaging and assembly business ended last fall because the customer changed processes and no longer needed our product. As a result, 50 people have reduced hours of service (some by more than half. Everyone who works in our shop experienced significant lose in wages. 15 individuals have not had paid work in more than 6 months. We have started a new business to provide more employment opportunities. The start-up is slower than we would like largely due to the economy. We hope to create job opportunities for 12 people by the end of this year.

posted by AtWork! at


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