People with Physical Disabilities Speak out About They Want and Need to Know About Employment
Katherine Inge, Ph.D., O.T.R., Principal Investigator, Virginia Commonwealth University, Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project on Customized Employment
Work is a fundamental part of our lives. It promotes financial stability, a sense of purpose, and an opportunity to interact with other people. Despite decades of legislation and research, employment rates for individuals with disabilities remain much lower than for those without disabilities. The most recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistices show that 17.9% of people with disabilities had employment, while 65.3% of individuals without a disability were employed. In 2016, the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities was 10.5%, compared to 4.6% for those without a disability.
Existing research provides information on the barriers and facilitators to employment, but these studies typically present information from the viewpoint of one specific physical disability group. What is not available is a comparison of the barriers and facilitators to employment as reported by people with disabilities themselves across physical disability groups specifically Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Cerebral Palsy (CP). The RRTC on Employment of People with Physical Disabilities RRTC conducted a series of focus groups to engage people with physical disabilities in the design, research, and on-going knowledge translation (KT) activities involved in developing and maintaining a RRTC and national resource center on employment. This Keynote will present the findings from this research and the implications for providing information on employment to individuals with physical disabilities. A panel representing individuals with physical disabilities will respond to the information and present their own life experiences related the barriers and facilitators to employment.