While the unemployment rate for Americans without disabilities dipped slightly in July, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) decried the disproportionately high unemployment rate for people with disabilities and its increase since July 2010.
“A 16.8% unemployment rate is unacceptable,” says Mark Perriello, president and CEO of the nation’s largest cross-disability advocacy organization. “This is a significant increase from July 2010, when we were at 16.4%. This needs to change..
“More than three quarters of a million people without disabilities have been hired over the last year,” Perriello added. “It’s time for employers to step up to the plate, set some targets, and hire qualified people from our community as well.”
“For a qualified person with a disability who wants to work, who wants to get out there and contribute to her community, to be responsible for herself -- we can’t say to that person, no, this country doesn’t value what you have to offer,” said Joyce Bender, AAPD board chair and president of Bender Consulting. “We need to open the doors of freedom through competitive employment to all people,” she added.
According to the latest information released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 970,000 people with disabilities were unemployed in July 2011, compared with 919,000 last year.
AAPD has long recognized that employment plays a critical role in economic sufficiency and independence for people with disabilities. The organization is committed to improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities, and reversing the persistently high percentages of people with disabilities who are not working but are ready, willing, and able to work.
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the country’s largest cross-disability membership association, organizes the disability community to be a powerful force for change – politically, economically and socially. AAPD was founded in 1995 to help unite the diverse community of people with disabilities, including their family, friends and supporters, and to be a national voice for change in implementing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).