Kessler Foundation and National Organization on Disability commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a series of surveys exploring the quality of life and employment opportunities for people living with disabilities. In July, the 2010 Survey of Americans with Disabilities marked the sixth effort over the past 24 years to measure the gaps between people with and without disabilities on different indicators, and to track them over time. These indicators include: employment, income, education, health care, access to transportation, socializing, going to restaurants, attendance at religious services, political participation, and life satisfaction. Employment represents the largest gap between the two groups. Of all working-age people with disabilities, only 21 percent say that they are employed, compared to 59 percent of people without disabilities – a gap of 38 percentage points.
On October 5th, 2010, Kessler Foundation, NOD and Harris Interactive released the results of the follow-up survey, the 2010 Survey of Employment of Americans with Disabilities. This marks the third effort since 1986 to determine the current attitudes of corporate employers toward employees with disabilities. The partners designed this survey and developed the questions that provide insight into the employment environment for people with disabilities. The findings help explain why such a large gap exists between people with and without disabilities.
Among the Findings:
Results from this latest survey reveal that although 70 percent of corporations polled have diversity policies or programs in place, only two-thirds of those with programs include disability as a component. Only 18 percent of companies offer an education program aimed at integrating people with disabilities into the workplace. The low figures are particularly notable given that a majority of employers perceive the costs of hiring a person with a disability to be the same as hiring a person without a disability (62 percent).