If disability organizations want people with disabilities to be employed at real jobs, for real pay in the community, shouldn’t they be the first to fulfill that goal? Shouldn’t disability organizations be the leaders in employing people with disabilities and set an example for others?
New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense
Who's Talking the Talk, But Not Walking the Walk?
From coast to coast, thousands of human service agencies exist to help people with disabilities. Some are non-profit, some are for-profit. Some are large corporations with million dollar-plus budgets; others are tiny and run on a shoestring. Many have a single focus; helping people with disabilities in the employment arena. Others may assist with jobs, and also provide housing-habilitation and/or other services. And to one degree or another, all share a common rallying cry: “People with disabilities should work, live, and play in the community.”
Ahhhh—it all sounds great. They’re talking the talk, but are they walking the walk? They tell others to hire people with disabilities, but do they hire people with disabilities? These questions come directly from individuals with disabilities who have shared their personal stories of seeking employment at these human service agencies. Again and again, they’re told no.
It would be easy to dismiss this issue with a pat answer: these people weren’t hired because they’re not qualified. And this might be an accurate statement in some cases. But, for many jobs at service provider agencies, little or no experience is required. And when comparing two applicants side-by-side, who would be more qualified: a person with little or no professional experience or a person with decades of experience—a lifetime of living with a disability? Click here to continue.