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Friday, May 18, 2018

House Hearing on Disability Employment

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the employment of adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. Many posts have discussed programs to provide them with training and experience

A May 9 release from the House Small Business Committee:
Today, Members of the House Committee on Small Business heard testimony from a panel of small business owners and experts on developmental disabilities on how those with differing abilities have an essential role in the small business economy.
“While employment opportunities for people with disabilities have substantially improved since the Great Recession, the gap, in comparison to those without disabilities, continues to persist at almost the same rate,” stated Angela Geiger, President and CEO of Autism Speaks in Washington, DC. “However, despite the continued low rates of disability employment, progress is being made. In the last year, employment rates for people with disabilities have increased (up from 32.3 percent in March 2017). Disability employment has increased steadily over the last 24 months. The rate of increase for workers with disabilities is greater than the rate for people without disabilities.”
“Many people with autism possess skills that are valuable for today's economy. Often, they possess intense focus, comfort with numbers and process, and a passion for repetitive, process-intensive tasks,” said David Friedman, Founder and CEO of AutonomyWorks in Downers Grove, IL. “In the next decade, the workplace will be flooded with over half million adults with autism – talented and eager to work. Small businesses generate a large percentage of new jobs across the United States. Small businesses must be a core part of any solution to the employment challenges facing adults with disabilities.”
“We are witness to the dramatic positive impact have a job has on our employees. We see the significant decrease in challenging behaviors, an increase in job skills, dexterity, communication, life skills, and confidence,” said Lori Ireland, President of Ireland Family Foundation and Founder of Extraordinary Ventures, in Chapel Hill, NC. “There is no question that employment is beneficial and a worthy cause to fight for.”
 Full video can be found here and full testimony can be found here.