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U.S. disability employment is weak

Posted on February 14th, 2013 Read time: 1 minutes

The employment gap between the general U.S. workforce and workers with a disability is significant.

In 2011, the employment rate for all working-age people in the U.S. was 75.6 percent, while the employment rate for work-age people with a disability was just 33.4 percent, according to the 2011 Disability Status Report: United States released by Cornell University.

While the U.S. has a significant amount of government programs and advocacy efforts dedicated to equal opportunity employment enforcement, the study suggests numbers are still lagging.

This is in large part due to employers not having the appropriate recruiting outlets for disabled workers, Susanne Marie Bruyere, the director of Cornell’s Employment and Disability Institute, said in an interview with SHRM Online.

Companies should invest in specific recruitment sources to help HR administration professionals identify qualified candidates within the pool of disabled workers. 

Bruyere noted many businesses are unaware of the number of people with unnoticeable disabilities already working for them. 

“[Employers] don’t think about nonevident disabilities,” she said. “They don’t think of [workers with disabilities] as being in their own workforce, and to some extent that’s good. They just think of them as a productive employee in the workforce.”



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