Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Hughes, C. and Avoke, S.K. (2010). The Elephant in the Room: Poverty, Disability, and Employment. Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 35 (1), 5-14.
Title:  The Elephant in the Room: Poverty, Disability, and Employment
Authors:  Hughes, C. and Avoke, S.K.
Year:  2010
Journal/Publication:  Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities
Publisher:  TASH
Research summary:
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Not reported

Structured abstract:

Background:  After 40 years of legislation designed to improve education and post-education outcomes for students both with and without disabilities, a disproportionate number of adults with disabilities, especially those with experiences of poverty, are unemployed or underemployed.
Purpose:  The authors examine the source and extent of issues that lead to high poverty and unemployment rates of people with disabilities, focusing on those with severe disabilities and from culturally diverse backgrounds. They suggest that a source of the problem is the Unites States’ failure to acknowledge the extent and effects of poverty, and provide recommendations to address barriers resulting from the intersection of poverty, disability, and employment.
Setting:  United States
Findings:  The authors recommend 1) acknowledgment of the problem, 2) increased public awareness, 3) collaboration between disability and poverty researchers, 4) improved educational initiatives, 5) school accountability for post-school outcomes, 6) increased work experiences and social skill education for students, and 7), a universal definition of severe disabilities.
Conclusions:  The authors conclude that the first step toward finding a solution is to recognize that there is a problem. They encourage readers to expand their awareness of the intersection of poverty, disability, and employment and to share this information with others. In addition, they recommend collaborative efforts between federal and state policy makers, the business community, schools, adult services, and community partners.

Disabilities served:  Multiple disabilities
Populations served:  Transition-age youth (14 - 24)
Consumers receiving federal financial assistance through TANF
SSI and SSDI recipients