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Employment Grows For Workers With Disabilities, But Improvement Is Still Needed

Employment of candidates with disabilities in 2012 reached its highest level since the onset of the recession, however the job prospects for these workers still need improvement, according to the Labor Department.

Unemployment among people with disabilities ended 2012 at 13.4%, down from the 15% mark it hovered near throughout the recession years of 2009-2011. While last year was an improvement, that rate is still nearly 6% higher than the overall unemployment rate, which dropped to 7.6% in May. recently researched professions that are particularly accommodating to job seekers with disabilities, and reflective of current overall hiring trends, healthcare and informational technological careers are the best paths.

Regardless the of the industry sector, recruiters must become more welcoming and alter their attitudes if the employment disparity for those with disabilities is to close.

“The perception…is that [employees with disabilities] are not as valuable,” says Brad Turner-Little of Goodwill Industries.

Various programs exist that are designed to both open more opportunities to candidates with disabilities, and encourage more inclusive hiring practices.

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit, offered by the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), financially rewards organizations that give applicants with disabilities opportunities. The Federal tax credit applies to a number of groups, including “vocational rehabilitation customers, SSI recipients and qualified Veterans with disabilities.”

ODEP also works in association with One-Stop Career Centers in an effort to point recruiters in the right direction for finding qualified candidates with disabilities. Education and incentives also are widely available for companies prepared to address this unemployment issue. And for those that do, there are proven results.

Janet D. Fiore of The Sierra Group Foundation writes that some of the benefits in hiring candidates with disabilities include a deeper hiring pool, reduced cost to employee benefits and overall improved staff morale.

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About Our Partners


Looking for applicants with disabilities, including veterans?  Look no further! is your number one LINKAGE to this diverse talent pool.  A program of The Sierra Group Foundation, we meet your training, accommodation & compliance needs for ADA and OFCCP.


Our MISSION is to help reduce the already high unemployment rate among college grads with disabilities by uniting you with proactive employers. We will assist competitive career oriented college grads with disabilities in their search for employment in the entry level positions..


One More Way™ is an ‘open source’ employment initiative that makes information regarding Job Seekers with disabilities, and the programs that support them, available for use by hiring managers in virtually any industry across the country. We bring everyone together to overcome employment obstacles, share opportunities, and create new connections where none have been established. 


Project Hired was founded in 1978 to assist individuals with disabilities to gain and sustain employment, in partnerships with business and the community.

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