Meet Anthony J.
December 2018 we featured Anthony as our final employment spotlight of the year. He has excelled at his position at Walgreens and remains one of 120 people working in competitive integrated employment that Inroads team provides employment services.
This weeks Blog Post is going to highlight ten barriers to employment that people with disabilities face on a daily basis. The purpose of this blog is to start the conversation. Our goal is an inclusive world.
What will it take to get there?
BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT:
Have you ever heard a business owner say, “I have a business to run here,” in regards to employing people with disabilities? Unfortunately, for many business owners there is a level of skepticism and doubt that comes with the decision to hire a person or persons with disabilities. “Is there a level of risk to hiring someone with a disability?”
At Inroads to Opportunities we work to alleviate the stress of employers who are uncertain about these issues.
For people with physical disabilities, environment is a major factor to whether or not a employment site is accessible. This ranges from wheelchair ramps, elevators and everything in between. If a business is not located on the ground floor and the building doesn’t have a working elevator, a person who relies on crutches or a wheelchair cannot work there.
3. Lack of Assistive Technologies
Employees with visual impairments or hearing loss need assistive technologies in order to succeed in the workplace. This also includes closed captioning on training videos and increased font size for those with visual limitations. If a job requires a person to use a phone and computer it needs to be designed to accommodate employees with these needs.
We could fill an entire blog post with the amount of stereotypes that surround employment for people with disabilities. As an agency that both hires people with disabilities and helps people to get hired externally; we have experienced all types of stereotyping.
Here is a an example:
A job is posted that might be a great fit for one of our candidates. We have an employment specialist contact the hiring manager and explain that we are working with an individual who has a disability. More often than not, we are informed that the job has already been filled.
After a brief wait we have someone else contact the same number and inquire about the same job position. There are times when the second call results in completely different information (explanation how to apply online or in person).
Does stereotyping exist? Absolutely.
5. Health Insurance
Many parents share the same fear that their son or daughter will lose their health insurance. There is two ends to the spectrum with this topic. People who receive SSDI through Medicaid and people who receive medicare for general health insurance. There are very few circumstances where entry level employees are eligible to receive health insurance from an employer. For the majority of people with disabilities, not having health insurance is not an option. Routine checkups and doctors visits are vital.
People who receive SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) cannot exceed a monthly income of more than $500 per month without being in jeopardy of losing coverage. With that being said, employees who exceed $500 per month move into a trial work period, which can be up to 30 months. This is considered gainful employment. If an individual is able to sustain gainful employment, they are no longer eligible for SSDI.
6. The Revolving Door
In many businesses like retail and food services, management positions constantly change. The assistant manager of XYZ food store that hires one of our employment candidates may only be with that location for a limited amount of time. People are sometimes relocated or move onto other employment opportunities. This can be a problem for employees with disabilities.
For example, a manager who is patient and understands the needs of an employee with disabilities can be replaced by someone who is closed minded and not as acceptant. Businesses can be a revolving door and for people who struggle especially with social anxiety and self-confidence, this is yet another barrier.
7. Minimum Wage
How will a $15 per hour minimum wage change the way small businesses operate across our country? For the skeptical business owner or hiring manager they will be faced with new challenges that will force them to make difficult staffing decisions. How will this directly affect people with disabilities who apply for a job? We are just starting to see this new reality play out.
Did you know that if an employee is having trouble completing their work they legally need to be provided the necessary accommodations? This topic brings us back to environment as a barrier as well. Inclusive adjustments must be made to accommodate employees of all abilities. It’s not just good business practice, its the law.
9. Staff Training
How many businesses are fully trained to understand the various types of disabilities and expectations in the workplace? What are the expectations of hiring an employee with autism? Someone who is visually impaired? Someone who lives with chronic illness? Are management trained to handle a situation when an employee is susceptible to seizures?
An inclusive workplace should include a policy and procedures manual/ trainings for employees with (and without) disabilities.
The next time you walk into a fast food restaurant, notice the new digital kiosks where you can order your food, pay and wait for it without having to talk with a cashier. Business analysts project that over the next 10-15 years employment as we know it will be transformed by automation.
“The workers most vulnerable are in transportation, production, food preparation, and office administration, which, combined, make up about 36 million jobs, or 25% of the total jobs in the US today. In these occupations, roughly 70% of tasks were considered routine and predictable, prime targets to be managed by machines. The most vulnerable were “packaging and filling machine operators” (100% exposure to automation), food preparation workers (91%), payroll and timekeeping clerks (87%), and light-truck and delivery drivers (78%) .“ - Michael J. Coren
What are some of the barriers to employment that you have experienced?
Share your thoughts and comments below.
Written by: Bryan Hansen
#employment #incusion #accesibility