Concord, N.H. — A survey conducted by West Orange, New Jersey non-profit organization Kessler Foundation said that two-thirds of adults with disabilities in America are “striving to work”, 25 years after the American Disabilities Act was put into law.
The survey, which was released just before the act turns 25, was conducted to examine how the experiences of people with disabilities were when they joined the country’s workforce, as well as the obstacles that they faced in doing so— and if they were actually able to overcome them. According to Director of Research at the University of New Hampshire Institute of Disability, Andrew Houtenville:
“There has been some work in previous surveys that looked at barriers but never asking the question, have they overcome the barriers? There was always this sense of doom and gloom.”
The survey involved about 3,000 individuals with disabilities. Nearly 43 percent of the survey’s participants appear to be currently employed, while 17 percent have actually experienced working, and about 9 percent of them were still looking for jobs. The participants who fall under the categories mentioned were labeled by researchers as “striving for work”, and noted that, together with other relevant findings, the survey suggests that people with disabilities are in fact making an effort to become productive members of the country’s workforce.
Researchers hope that their findings would spark positive changes in the federal disability benefits program, which they feel is still inadequate in its current form. They are also hoping that the findings would inspire development of more targeted programs and strategies for people with disabilities hoping to join America’s workforce.
According to Houtenville, the survey’s results show that people with disabilities are making tremendous efforts in their hopes to find work. He told:
“It’s a way of describing how active people with disabilities are in the labor market. It’s not just about sitting back and taking benefits.”
Source: Holly Ramer on the USNews.com website: 25 years after Americans with Disabilities Act, survey explores employment experiences