Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Creating a Path to Employment for People with Disabilities

Finding employment in this economy is challenging for everyone but specifically, can be for people with disabilities. People with disabilities generally have a 13 percent unemployment rate, which is about one and a half times the rate of those without disabilities.

Last week, the Obama Administration proposed a rule that would require federal contractors and subcontractors to set a goal of having 7% of its workforce be comprised of people with disabilities. The rule would provide new opportunities for employment for people with disabilities by requiring federal contractors to devote more resources to recruiting efforts to hire more disabled workers, improve training programs and update data collection.

Currently, there are about 200,000 total federal contractors taking in approximately $700 billion in annual contracts. Approximately 170,000 of those contractors would be impacted by the rule--those that have at least 50 employees and have a minimum of $50,000 in government contracts. The Department of Labor will be taking comments on the rule for 60 days before proceeding with final approval next year. The Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis says that "this proposed rule represents one of the most significant advances in protecting the civil rights of workers with disabilities since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act." Click here to read the press release from the Department of Labor.

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