Governors Issue Report on Hiring People with Disabilities
2012/2013 National Governors Association Chair Delaware Governor Jack Markell launched a yearlong initiative called A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities to focus on what state government and businesses can do to improve employment outcomes and create more employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
The Executive Summary of A Blueprint for Governors: A Better Bottom Line, noted that businesses tell governors that finding skilled workers is one of their biggest concerns. Governors can respond by introducing businesses to an often-ignored talent pool:
- Of the estimated 54 million Americans living with a disability, 20 percent are employed or seeking employment, compared to almost 70 percent of Americans without a disability.
- People with disabilities bring valuable skills to the workforce. For example, more than 600,000 scientists and engineers currently employed in the United States have disabilities.
- Some of the top innovators in the United States have disabilities, including the chief executive officers of Ford Motor Company, Apple, Xerox, and Turner Television.
- As of 2011, an estimated 204,189 civilian federal government employees, or approximately 11 percent, had disabilities—as do thousands of state employees across the country.
Specifically, governors and other policymakers should consider these five key areas:
- Make disability employment part of the state workforce development strategy.
- Support businesses in their efforts to employ people with disabilities. Governors can direct state agencies to assign one point of contact from the state to work with employers over the long term.
- Increase the number of people with disabilities working in state government. Set a state goal for hiring people with disabilities through an executive order and hold agencies accountable for achieving that goal.
- Prepare youth with disabilities for careers that use their full potential, providing employers with a pipeline of skilled workers. Research shows that early career awareness and work experience for youth are indicators of positive employment outcomes, particularly for people with disabilities.
- Make the best use of limited resources to advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Governors can act to secure additional resources and direct agency heads to continuously review opportunities for federal support and the possibility of partnerships with federal agencies and the private and nonprofit sectors.
Learn more about Paralyzed Veterans of America's employment program, Operation PAVE