11 million unployed Americans with disabilities nationwide
Washington, DC – In a news maker’s event at the National Press Club, former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Vinton Cerf, Rob Wong, Chet Cooper, Kim Charlson and Gregg Vanderheiden discussed “Driving Economic Growth Through Assistive Technology and Workplace Inclusivity.”
The speakers discussed the tools and policies needed to lower the unemployment rate among 11 million adults with disabilities in the United States. The disability population is the largest minority group in the United States.
Harkin called the 11 million unemployed people with disabilities a blot on America’s history. According to Harkin when President George Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 20, 1990, there were four goals associated with the law. The goals were, full participation, equal opportunity, Independent\Living and economic self sufficiency. Harkin introduced the ADA to the Senate and guided it through the legislative process.
In July 2018, only 29 percent of Americans with disabilities between ages 16 and 64 were employed, compared with 75 percent of Americans without a disability. In 2017, the unemployment rate for persons with disabilities was more than twice that for those without a disability—9.2 percent versus 4.2 percent. The research also revealed employers achieved – on average – 28 percent higher revenue, double the net income and 30 percent higher economic profit margin.
Harkin said the country has failed in achieving economic self-sufficiency, The needle has not moved in 29 years. Wanting to put a positive spin on employing people with disabilities, Harkin cited data from a recently release four-year study by Accenture.
Senator Tom Harkin (ret) encouraged employers to double the number of empoyees with disabilities over 10 yeats.
Kim Charlson, Dr. Gregg Vanderheiden and Tom Harkin listen to NPC moderstor Tom Hamrick.