Guest Editor – Miriam Hertz

It’s okay if you quit the training program for working the 2010 Census; everyone will understand that you don’t want, maybe can’t, talk to the public. And…you can have the internship in Washington DC, but you’ll have to stay in the back where you won’t be talking with patrons. And…I’ll allow you to work the front desk of the University Library, but, in case you can’t tell, I’m not happy about it.

These were real reactions to my disability of stuttering. Sadly, in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 47.2% of working-age people with a disability were employed. Job discrimination is better evidenced by the statistic that 27.9% of working-age people with a non-severe disability (such as my own level of stuttering) were unemployed in 2013, although only 15.2% reported being prevented from employment by their non-severe disability. The problem disclosed is that discrimination even though outlawed by the Americans with Disabilities Act keeps people with disabilities from working even when level of impairment doesn’t obstruct work.

My and other’s individual experiences with employment discrimination come together to form our group experience, which is laid bare by survey data, such as from the U.S. Census Bureau. This group – or macro – experience of disability-based employment discrimination is opposed by a macro approach taking the form of policy and law. A fundamental question: to what extent is the community responsible for work opportunity for people with disabilities? Beyond having outlawed discrimination, government assists people with disabilities through social programs and budget initiatives to work and live independently.

Next month: The individual – or micro – experience of disability-based employment discrimination is countered through DAC’s interpersonal relationships with consumers. How does DAC assist consumers to become and stay employed?