By Leah Danville, ERC Intern
Now that the election dust has settled, Americans are anxious to hear from President Obama and Congress about their plans to address one of the nation’s biggest issues: unemployment. Unemployment rates over the past few years have ranged from a high of 10 percent in October 2009 down to 7.8 percent this past September. While views on how to address the problem varies, everyone agrees that even at its lowest rate unemployment remains too high.
One overlooked employment policy of Obama’s first term is a 2010 executive order charging federal agencies with developing and implementing policies to encourage the retention and hire if workers with disabilities. This ordinance increased the employment rate in the federal sector of individuals with disabilities—people living with disabilities. Could other equality initiatives further help solve our unemployment crisis?
People with disabilities are entitled to equal employment opportunity, but often experience discrimination in the job market and have shockingly disparate employment rates. After the executive order was passed in July 2010, during the 2011 fiscal year the federal government hired approximately 18,000 workers with disabilities, a nine percent increase from the previous year. This growth in employment allowed thousands of people who were previously unable to secure employment, perhaps due to their disability, to work and provide for themselves and their families. (more…)