Workforce GPS: Workplace Resources for Targeted Disabilities

The percentage of those with a disability in the U.S. civilian population slightly increased from 11.9% in 2010 to 12.8% in 2016. In 2016, 35.9% of people with disabilities ages 18 to 64 living in the community were employed. Employment rates vary by types of disability. The following resources are listed to increase our collective awareness about different disability types and supporting workplace resources available to support that targeted population.

Workplace Resources for Ambulatory Disability: Based on the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 6.5 million people in the United States use a cane, a walker, or crutches while 2.2 million people depend on a wheelchair for mobility. Overall, it has been found that as the American population ages, the percentage of people with an ambulatory disability increases.

Workplace Resources for Autism Spectrum Disorder: It is estimated that more than 3.5 million Americans live with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Within the range of ASD, one person may have a high level of intelligence but not have the basic social skills required to navigate everyday life. In contrast, another person may have delayed learning of language skills. Overall, ASD affects each individual differently with a range of symptoms occurring at varying intensities from mild to severe in relation to social and communication skills.

Workplace Resources for the Blind: Among working-age blind adults, approximately 70 percent remain unemployed. A leading barrier is that too many people with low vision are not being taught Braille, a skill which has been found to be correlated with successful employment for the blind.

Workplace Resources for the Deaf: Based on the National Institutes of Health (NIH), approximately 15 percent of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing. The ability to communicate defines us as human beings and forms a foundation for every day decision making and relationship building. Communicating with deaf individuals is an achievable goal in the workplace as outlined in the following resources.

Workplace Resources for Mental Health: Based on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the national unemployment rate for individuals receiving public mental health services is approximately 80 percent. It is reported that up to 70 percent of the 7.1 million people receiving public health services nationwide want to work. Today, mental illness is the cause for 16 percent of SSDI recipients and growing as a percentage.