Programs Fail Unemployed with Disabilities

LAWRENCE, Kan., Sept. 16 (UPI) — Two federal programs for the unemployed are failing job seekers with disabilities, U.S. researchers find.

Jean Hall and Kathy Parker and colleagues at the Center for Research on Learning at the University of Kansas in Lawrence find two major federal programs — the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program requiring recipients find employment within two years, and the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 “One-Stop” centers — have inadequacies in aiding people with physical or mental health impairments.

The study, published in the Career Development Quarterly, finds about 63 percent of U.S. adults with disabilities are unemployed.

Some of the barriers to employment for people with disabilities include resume gaps due to illness and the possible need for special workplace accommodations, but the biggest barrier is the attitude about disabilities, the researchers said.

“What we also found is that people with disabilities who are in these systems, whether it’s welfare or trying to find a job, experience low self-esteem,” Hall says in a statement. “When they go into a center, the staff at the center is not well-prepared to address their particular needs. That response reinforces their feelings of disempowerment — that the system is not really there to help them.”

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