The vast majority of disabled Americans are striving to work and are anxious to overcome barriers to employment. This is the key finding of a recently completed study funded by the non-profit Kessler Foundation and conducted by researchers at the University of New Hampshire.
In this survey of more than 3,000 people 18 to 64 years old, the UNH researchers found that Americans with disabilities who are employed work an average of 35.5 hours per week, with 60.7 percent of those working more than 40 hours per week. Of those surveyed, less than 6 percent had never worked. In comparison, nearly 43 percent were currently working, 9 percent were looking for work and 17 percent had worked since the onset of their disability. Those in the last three categories were classified as striving to work by researchers.
“Nearly 69 percent of those surveyed are striving to work,“ said Rodger DeRose, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kessler Foundation. “This clearly demonstrates that people with disabilities are ready and able to contribute their talents in the workforce. By providing a better perspective on workplace experiences, this survey will help us prioritize our grant-making efforts and refine our approach to expanding employment for Americans with disabilities.”
“The Kessler Foundation Employment Survey is the first such survey to take a rigorous in-depth look at the workplace experience of Americans with disabilities,” said economist Andrew Houtenville, Ph.D., Director of Research for the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability. “This survey highlights successes in finding and maintaining employment, instead of focusing on the disparities between people with and without disabilities and barriers to employment. By reframing this dialogue, the survey will inform the work of policymakers and legislators and help reshape the future of employment for people with disabilities.”
According to the Foundation’s website, the Kessler Foundation is a public charity dedicated to improving quality of life for individuals with disabilities.The New Jersey based organization strives to improve the lives of people with physical and cognitive disabilities caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis, brain and spinal cord injury, and other chronic neurologic and musculoskeletal conditions.