Employment a challenge for many with disabilities –

There are a variety of new programs to help individuals with disabilities enter the job market and prepare for careers.

Adding specific training

“Although these numbers are very encouraging, full recovery to pre-Great Recession employment levels is still on the horizon, said Andrew Houtenville associate professor of economics at UNH and research director of the Institute on Disability. “If we look back to September 2009, which was the first month that the Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting disability statistics, the employment-to-population ratio was 32.7 percent for people with disabilities. Keep in mind that this followed the major job loss months of February and August of 2009, so the employment-to-population ratio prior to the recession was probably well above this percentage.”

In Massachusetts, the executive branch is launching a mentoring program on Oct. 16 to pair disabled people with state employees. The weeklong program, D’Arcangelo said, is intended to expose disabled people to potential career paths in state government. The state government, he said, is the largest employer in Massachusetts.

“This growth is positive, and may indicate that people with disabilities are closing in on their pre-Great Recession employment levels.” said John O’Neill, director of employment and disability research at the Kessler Foundation.

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