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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Disability Employment: A Remedy for the Labor Shortage

 In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the employment of people on the autism spectrum.

Jonathan Bennett at Human Resource Executive:

Businesses across the country are facing a labor shortage. Employers are struggling not only to bring back many of the workers they let go earlier in the pandemic but also to retain their existing employees. Adding to this challenge, the “great resignation” is far from over–our research found that 37% of U.S. workers are likely to search for a new job in the next six months.

One way to address this labor shortage–while also addressing companies’ commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion–is to focus on hiring people with disabilities, who are disproportionately under-employed or unemployed. In August 2021, just 19.2% of people with disabilities were employed, compared to 63.9% of people without disabilities.

As a prerequisite, employers should be familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the civil rights law that broadly protects people with a wide range of disabilities from discrimination. Some managers may be surprised to learn how all-encompassing the ADA is. In fact, one in four U.S. adults has some kind of disability. It’s critical for employers to be aware of the full range of disabilities that employers play a role in supporting–including disabilities that may not be immediately visible to a coworker or manager.