Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Without Support People With Disabilities Will Lose Jobs

People with significant disabilities often need ongoing support to maintain employment. For some the support reduces significantly as they become more independent in the workplace. Others require a job coach on a more consistent basis. This support is effective and efficient. For every dollar AtWork! spends on supported employment services, 1.69 is returned to taxpayers as a result of savings in government benefits and entitlements and taxes paid by people who have jobs. (The average cost/benefit or ROI for supported employment services in WA state is $1.45, which is the highest in the country.

The problem is that support for many people is in jeopardy. Without support, people with disabilities will lose jobs. Without jobs, they become more dependent and access more human service programs that are already over capacity due to the economy. Some of the people we support are the primary wage earner for their entire family. They live with elderly parents who rely on their adult child with disabilities to earn money and have meaningful opportunities outside of the home. Many families who support their adult child with disabilities to live with them at home are also working. If their adult child does not have a job, many parents would have to quit working in order to stay home and provide necessary care and supervision.

Public transportation is essential for people with disabilities to work. Transportation has become less reliable, more costly, and less efficient. Some people spend hours on buses every day. Job coaches lose hours of service every week waiting for transportation to drop off or pick up the people we serve.

Stigmatism remains an issue for people with disabilities. As we work to find employment for people with significant disabilities, we encounter fear and lack of understanding on a regular basis. While many caring and astute employers have recognized the bottom-line benefits of employing people with disabilities, community attitudes remain a barrier to employment for everyone.

posted by AtWork! at


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