[nfbmi-talk] Sounds All Too Familiar Here in Michigan

Terry D. Eagle terrydeagle at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 20 21:32:59 UTC 2015


 

There's too little to celebrate on ADA's 25 anniversary

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, AZ I See It 8:43 p.m. MST July 19, 2015

 

My Turn: Only three out of 10 working-age people with disabilities in
Arizona are employed. We need to do better.

Accessibility icon

 

Phoenix's new accessibility icon is seen painted in a parking spot at Third
Avenue and Adams Street in downtown Phoenix. Existing signs will be replaced

with the new icon as need arises.(Photo: David Wallace/The Republic)

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This month marks the 25th anniversary of the

Americans with Disabilities Act.

Yet Arizonans with disabilities have little to celebrate as only three out
of 10 of Arizona's 365,000 working-age people with disabilities are
employed.

Most people with disabilities want jobs and independence, just like anyone
else.

 

One in five Americans have a disability and a recent

Kessler Foundation survey shows

they are largely striving to work. While persistent stigmas remain an
obstacle, the evidence shows that people with disabilities can be highly
successful

workers.

 

For example, Virgin Airways founder Richard Branson and finance wizard
Charles Schwab are dyslexic. Scientist Stephen Hawking, Gov. Greg Abbott of
Texas

and President Franklin D. Roosevelt before them are wheelchair users.

 

In Arizona, 23,500 youth with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 20 are
preparing to enter the labor market. They have high expectations and deserve

the opportunity to achieve the American dream. Young people with
disabilities may simply need thoughtful help to transition into the
workforce.

 

People who are blind, deaf or non-verbal frequently use assistive
technology. Similarly, people with intellectual disabilities can benefit
greatly from

internship opportunities and job coaches.

 

Comcast, Ernst & Young, Lockheed Martin, Sprint and other companies

have seen that people with disabilities can be extremely capable and loyal
workers. While there are few Stephen Hawkings, with or without disabilities,

people with disabilities can work in restaurants, tend our parks, assist
aging seniors and be super talents in developing computer software.

 

The

U.S. Business Leadership Network,

a group of companies that focus on building their bottom line through
diverse talent, can be a real resource to the private sector.

Federal contractors

are also vital because of new regulations requiring that they be inclusive
employers of people with disabilities.

This new Section 503 rule creates a 7 percent hiring goal for people with
disabilities in all job categories.

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi is president of RespectAbilityUSA.org,

 

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi is president of RespectAbilityUSA.org, a non-profit
based in Bethesda, Md., working to empower people with disabilities. (Photo:

handout)

 

Vocational rehabilitation programs in Arizona helped 1,900 people with
disabilities find work in 2012. But the state has failed to properly address
the

growing inequality between people with disabilities and those without
disabilities or do anything of substance to reduce the growing gap.
According to

the most recent statistics, the employment gap increased by 0.9 percentage
points.

 

Under the new

Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act,

Gov. Doug Ducey can break down the waste and silos between the branches of
government so education, transportation, workforce development, health care
and

other departments work together with employers to create strategies to
enable people with barriers to obtain jobs and careers.

 

One of their first steps can be to stop funding failing programs and instead
fund programs that are proven to succeed. Public-private-philanthropic
partnerships,

along with programs such as

Project SEARCH

and

Bridges to Work,

can bring breakthroughs and success.

 

As a person with a disability, I know the dignity, friendships, income and
purpose that jobs provide. Employment first policies are a good starting
point,

but further progress is necessary. When people with disabilities can climb
the career ladder it is win-win-win for people with disabilities, employers

and taxpayers alike.

 

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi is resident of RespectAbilityUSA.org, a non-profit
based in Bethesda, Md., working to enable people with disabilities to
achieve

the American dream.

 

Source:

http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/2015/07/19/little-celebrate-ada
-anniversary/30394507/



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