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|Groups Praise, and Lament ADA's Effect on Employment for Disabled
|Nearly two decades after the Americans with Disabilities Act passed, people with disabilities in Illinois are lamenting that their employment rate remains at about 70 percent. But they have success stories to tout.
Gerard Broeker, executive director of the Statewide Independent Living Council of Illinois, says he doesn't want a new law, or a tougher ADA, but thinks the only way to improve the employment rate is to better educate companies about hiring people with disabilities. "In a lot of cases, there are employers who see a person with a disability and automatically think, 'Well, I don't have anything here that that person can do,'" he said
He likes to introduce a couple of student professional workers at the Illinois Department of Transportation, who are getting job experience as they wait for a private-sector job.
Jason Lloyd, who has partial paralysis on one side of his body due to a childhood vehicle accident, is one of the success-stories-to-be. He says no one would hire him, and temporary agencies wouldn't even test him, because he had no job experience. "How am I supposed to get job experience if no one will hire me?" he says.
He's not alone. Patricia Bednarchik is also an IDOT student professional. With a marketing major, earned after suffering a traumatic brain injury, she's one of the lucky ones. After her stint with the IDOT program ends, she'll take a full-time marketing job with a new organization that will help people with disabilities. She encourages other students with disabilities. "If I can do it, anyone can do it," she says.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
(Source: Illinois Radio Network)
|10 22 08 by Newsroom
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