When news of mass layoffs became unavoidable, IssueLab (a publishing forum for nonprofit research) unearthed a widely scattered body of research about how this affects people with disabilities (PWD). With proven discrimination against job seekers with disabilities and an increasingly competitive labor market, it is only becoming tougher for PWD to find and retain employment.

Some of the issues faced by this group, and addressed by the research in this collection, include:

  • Youth with disabilities transitioning from school into the workplace - It’s hard enough in this economy to find a job out of high school, but young people with disabilities transitioning to a post-school life often have added barriers. A multitude of programs exist, but work-based learning programs have proven to be very successful, as long as they emphasize a shared responsibility by all parties involved.
  • The effectiveness of one-stop centers and other government support systems - One-stop centers are put in place to assist all people to find employment, but how well do they serve people with disabilities? Even getting in the door might be a problem with 71% of those surveyed saying that accessibility needs improvement.
  • The advantages and challenges for businesses employing PWD - Each sector offers different challenges and opportunities for employing people with disabilities, but this does not lessen the value that fostering an inclusive workforce presents. Businesses such as IBM, Microsoft, Bank of America, and SunTrust all have dedicated budgets toward hiring and accommodating people with disabilities. Read more about the corporate policies here.
  • Strategies and tactics for employers to accommodate PWD - The average cost to an Oregon employer for accommodation of a worker with a disability in 98% of all cases: $528. The average return on investment: Priceless.
  • The long term impact of un and under-employment on health and retirement benefits for PWD - Social security pops up every now and then in the news cycle and then seems to disappear, but the reality is that the concerns it raises don’t go anywhere. Disability rates combined with a shifting retirement age could have some very real implications for the perpetuation of Social Security. Does the picture look the same for low-income workers as it does for high-income workers? Read more in this report.
  • The adequacy of workers’ compensation and disability prevention and prevalence of late-career disability - Is America doing enough for workers with disability who need worker’s compensation? Should worker’s comp be public or private? How do certain states stack up to other programs? Find out here.

The CloseUp on Disability & Employment brings together nonprofit research that addresses this important social issue in one easy-to-access collection online.

issuelab.org is a nonprofit publishing forum that encourages the broad dissemination of nonprofit research on social and policy issues.