Disability rights group focuses on employment in Indiana

(Photo supplied/Pixabay)
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, and this year’s theme is “Beyond the Conversation”. In Indiana, that could mean ‘less talk and more action’ to create job opportunities for adults with disabilities. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is more than double the rate for those without a disability, and only 40% of people with disabilities are in the workforce, according to the Labor Department.
Hannah Carlock, senior director of public affairs with The Arc of Indiana, said they are as productive as any other group of workers.
“They want to be a part of the Indiana Hoosier workforce,” Carlock said. “And so, we are working on that, because there are so many open jobs in Indiana, and we have people available to fill those jobs. And people with disabilities want to be a part of that solution.”
Indiana has a Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services, but it does not focus on employment or job training. The Arc is one organization that offers information about jobs and education, in addition to housing options. The group also advocates at the Statehouse for fair treatment in workplaces and schools, she said.
Developmental disabilities include autism spectrum disorders, speech or learning impairments and even hearing loss. They are often detected during routine doctor visits in the first few years of life. Carlock said some disabilities are more easily recognizable than others, and the people who live with these conditions are capable of endless possibilities – as long as their employers are willing to adapt.
“Autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, that could be a learning disability. It might just take somebody more time to complete a task, because they move a little bit slower or read a little bit slower. Or they might have to take a break from something because they’re overstimulated,” she said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 12% of Indiana residents have cognitive challenges; another 11% live with either hearing or vision loss.

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1 comment

Charles U Farley March 26, 2023 at 2:45 pm

“The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is more than double the rate for those without a disability,”

Sadly, some disabilities simply prevent people from holding some jobs. Logic says that people with a narrower range of available jobs will suffer from increased unemployment. This is not rocket science, nor is it some ableist conspiracy.


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