Accommodating persons with disabilities

A 2004 survey found that only 35% of working-age persons with disabilities are in fact employed, compared to an employment rate of 78% in the rest of the population.

Two-thirds of unemployed respondents with disabilities said they would like to work but could not find jobs.

One out of 10 worked with an official labour contract and nearly two out of every ten were self-employed, according to census data.

Since 2001, more than 55,000 persons with physical disabilities have entered the labour market.

Fear is the biggest barrier, said former Congressman Tony Coelho, an epilepsy sufferer himself and one of the authors of the Americans with Disabilities Act: “It’s really fear of the unknown.” The best way to eliminate such fears, he argues, is to hire persons with disabilities.

“You’ll find out that a lot of those things that you’re fearful of are not true.” “I believe one of the main reasons that people with disabilities are consistently finding it difficult to gain employment is that employers tend to have this erroneous assumption that the disabled will likely under-perform in most areas of their duties.

At every level of qualification, persons with disabilities are up to three times more likely than other citizens to be without a job yet wishing to work.

Some fear they will have to make an unwarranted investment in providing facilities for persons with disabilities and some do not believe in the potential of persons with disabilities. That’s when I realized that the only reason they don’t know is because they have had no contact.” — Caroline Casey, founder of the Irish disability group Aisling Foundation.

Persons with disabilities are frequently not considered potential members of the workforce.

Perception, fear, myth and prejudice continue to limit understanding and acceptance of disability in workplaces everywhere.

In developing countries, 80% to 90% of persons with disabilities of working age are unemployed, whereas in industrialized countries the figure is between 50% and 70%.

There are approximately 40 million persons with disabilities, and of these 43% to 54% were of working age in 1998.

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