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Disability Connection 200


Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy Current Population Survey

In February 2009 the U.S. Department of Labor released the first official data on the employment status of persons with disabilities. In January 2009, the percent of people with disabilities in the labor force was 23.1. The unemployment rate for those with disabilities was 13.2 percent.

These data provide, for the first time, an official monthly measure of the labor force situation for people with disabilities. The Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) sponsored the addition of new disability questions to the Current Population Survey (CPS) starting in June 2008. The addition of these questions to the CPS will allow the analysis of the labor force situation of persons with disabilities to be based on the same concepts that are already used for other groups. In addition to using the data to formulate policy recommendations, ODEP will use them to target its training, technical assistance, research, and dissemination efforts.

Read about the New monthly data series on the employment status of people with a disability.

Survey of Employer Perspectives on the Employment of People with Disabilities

The Survey of Employer Perspectives on the Employment of People with Disabilities is the first of its magnitude, with responses representing more than 2.4 Million companies nationwide. The survey reveals that a majority of large businesses hiring people with disabilities are discovering that costs for accommodations differ very little from those of the general employee population. Additionally, the survey showed that once an employer hires someone with a disability, they are much more likely to hire other people with disabilities.

Survey Report - January 2009 

Employment Resources

US Department of Labor Publications www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/publicat.htm
Includes information about finding employment, hiring individuals with disabilities, communicating with individuals with disabilities and many more useful publications.

Employer Pledge

To ensure equal employment opportunities for those with a disability, employers are encourage to participate in the Employer Pledge.

To promote full participation of individuals with disabilities in our workforce, we pledge:

  1. To engage in active recruitment and outreach to individuals
    with disabilities.
  2. To interview all applicants with a disability who meet
    minimum criteria for a job opening and consider them on
    their abilities.
  3. To make reasonable efforts to continue employment of
    current employees who acquire a disability.
  4. To provide employees with diversity training so as to
    enhance acceptance and understanding of individuals with
  5. To periodically evaluate the effects of our efforts in hiring
    persons with disabilities across all levels of the organization.
  6. To establish a mechanism to communicate with each
    employee about how to best utilize and develop his or her

Employer Pledge FAQ and Instructions

What is Disability Connection?
In January 2004, in order to elevate the issues of quality of life, equal opportunity and effective participation in the community for all people with disabilities in Allegheny County, the Department of Human Services (DHS), through the Office of Community Relations, has created The Disability Connection to help coordinate efforts to improve services to people with disabilities.

What is Disability Connection Connect with Respect doing to advocate full inclusion of persons with disabilities?
We are asking for Allegheny County employers to participate in The Disability Connection, Connect with Respect Employer Pledge program. This Employer Pledge walks an employer through six commitments regarding the recruitment, employment, retention, training and career development of individuals with disabilities.

What is the goal of the Disability Connection Connect with Respect Employer Pledge program?
The Disability Connection Connect with Respect Employer Pledge was created to promote employer's awareness of a valuable pool of labor that is available among individuals with disabilities. The Employer Pledge will create a ripple effect among employers in Allegheny County to ultimately increase the number of employers that engage in the recruitment, outreach and retention of employees with disabilities.

What are the specific actions that my organization can take to implement the Employer Pledge?
Key elements of implementing the commitments of the Employer Pledge include:

  • Outreach and Recruitment: Send announcements of on-campus recruiting, internship/co-op opportunities, career exploration activities and scholarships to disability services offices at colleges, universities and, when appropriate, secondary schools.
  • Job Openings: Send announcements of job openings for all positions, including management positions, to disability related organizations and agencies. State that the employer encourages people with disabilities to apply.
  • Interview Location: Provide reasonable accommodations during the hiring process to applicants with disabilities when needed, such as conducting the interview in an accessible space.
  • Job Functions: Identify the essential functions of all positions and use them as the criteria for making hiring decisions. Evaluate candidates with known disabilities on their ability to perform the essential functions of the job with reasonable accommodation.
  • Training Materials: Make training materials, including those that prepare employees for advancement, available and accessible to employees with disabilities. This may be as simple as providing the materials as a computer file. Include employees with disabilities in career development opportunities as you would any other employee.
  • Diversity Training: Cost effective training is available through local disability organizations or the Department of Labor.

Adapted from the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy Web Site www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/ek97/market.htm

Who do I contact if I have additional questions about The Disability Connection Connect with Respect Employer Pledge program?
Contact The Disability Connection at 1-877-755-5222 or via email at disabilityconnection@dhs.county.allegheny.pa.us.