The Rehabilitation Services Administration releases report on business needs and recommendations to improve the employment rate of Americans with disabilities
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/news.release/disabl.nr0.htm , the unemployment rate for people with disabilities continues to be higher than for those without disabilities. In 2015, the unemployment rate for persons with disabilities ages 16 and older was 10.7 percent, compared to a 5.1 percent unemployment rate for persons without a disability ages 16 and older. However, recent employment data for Americans with disabilities does show signs of improvement.
For example, in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Jobs Report http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm released Friday, January 6, 2017, the employment-to-population ratio for working-age people with disabilities increased from 26.6 percent in December 2015 to 28.7 percent in December 2016 (up 7.9 percent). The employment-to-population ratio, a key indicator, reflects the percentage of people who are working relative to the total population (the number of people working divided by the number of people in the total population multiplied by 100). For the ninth consecutive month, there was improvement in the employment-to-population ratio for people with disabilities. Furthermore, the labor force participation rate for working-age people with disabilities increased from 30.1 percent in December 2015 to 31.7 percent in December 2016 (up 5.3 percent).
On the other side of the employment equation, businesses are struggling to find candidates with the appropriate skills to meet their employment needs as evident in a 2016 survey https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/research-and-surveys/Documents/SHRM%20New%20Talent%20Landscape%20Recruiting%20Difficulty%20Skills.pdf conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management https://www.shrm.org/ (SHRM). More than half of the over 3,000 HR professionals who participated in the survey reported some level of basic skills/knowledge deficits among job applicants, and 84% reported applied skills shortages in job applicants.
In the continuing effort to support RSA’s dual customers (individuals with disabilities and employers), RSA Commissioner, Janet LaBreck, conducted a series of roundtable discussions with business and industry leaders in 2015 and 2016. These roundtable discussions focused on employment in four high-demand business areas in the following sectors: Federal contracting, banking/finance, health care, and information technology (IT). The purpose of these discussions was to engage the business community in dialogue concerning their human capital needs and challenges, skill needs and job requirements, recruitment strategies, and methods to employ more job seekers with disabilities.
The report presents the findings of the roundtables in relation to several of RSA’s current activities and the work of the State vocational rehabilitation agencies. Additionally, recommendations are presented in two broad areas: (1) recommendations for improved employer engagement and (2) recommendations for meeting the needs of businesses. Download the report http://ncrtm.ed.gov/Download.aspx?type=doc&id=3332 at RSA’s National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials http://ncrtm.ed.gov/ (NCRTM).