Research Matters

Research Matters

Disabilities and Unemployment


An investigation by Jean Hall and Kathy Parker of KU's Center for Research on Learning shows that both the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program and the Workforce Investment Act have inadequacies in aiding people with physical or mental health impairments.

Episode #75



2 minutes (2.7 MB) | Download mp3

Transcript


An investigation shows that programs to help job seekers are failing people with disabilities. From the University of Kansas, this is Research Matters. I'm Brendan Lynch.

An investigation by Jean Hall and Kathy Parker of KU's Center for Research on Learning shows that both the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program and the Workforce Investment Act have inadequacies in aiding people with physical or mental health impairments. Jean Hall ....

Jean Hall: The biggest problem is that these are one-size-fits-all programs. People with disabilities, because they are a smaller subset, don't get they kind of services they need. They are lost in the system.

The insufficiency of the programs is striking because about 63 percent of Americans with disabilities are unemployed. Yet counselors for the unemployed lack the training necessary to help clients with disabilities.

Hall: When we spoke with the service providers who work in these centers they expressed a level of discomfort working with people with disabilities. They really did desire training to learn how to do that better. It's a matter of a comfort level and availability of training or information that they don't have.

Barriers to employment common to people with disabilities include resume gaps due to illness and the need for special workplace accommodations. But Hall said that attitudes about disabilities present the largest barrier to employment.

Jean Hall: What we 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. 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.

For more on unemployment and people with disabilities, log onto Research Matters dot KU dot EDU. For the University of Kansas, I'm Brendan Lynch.

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Research shows unemployment programs lacking for people with disabilities

Federal programs to assist the unemployed are failing job seekers with disabilities, according to an investigation by Jean Hall and Kathy Parker of the Center for Research on Learning at the University of Kansas.

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