Employment for IDD Community Getting Attention

Join the ACCESS-VR Virtual Public Hearings

Meaningful employment. For most of us, it’s the reason we get out of bed every morning. In addition to paying the bills, it gives a sense of purpose and connects us socially to our community.  

Unfortunately, many individuals with developmental disabilities will never experience meaningful employment, or in many cases, any employment at all. 

According to the NYS Labor Department, between April 2020 and May 2021, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 16.2 percent, an increase of 8.9 percent from the previous year. Compare that to the rate for the general population, which was 11.3 percent during the same period. For many with high needs and/or health issues, those numbers are much higher.  

Thankfully, employment for individuals with development disabilities may be getting the attention of local elected officials. In January, a bi-partisan group of legislators introduced nine bills aimed at addressing the systemic employment challenges many face when pursuing meaningful employment.  

For those who have subscription access, this recent article in the Times Union highlighted these employment challenges and discusses the need for adequate funding to allow more residents with disabilities to find employment.  

In addition, there is interest in expanding funding vocational transition programs. Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (or ACCES-VR) assists individuals with disabilities to achieve and maintain employment and supports independent living through training, education, rehabilitation, and career development.  

Three virtual public hearings will be held in February to discuss changes to their state plan. Learn more about how to participate at  ACCES_VR State Plan Mod Public hearings 2122 (002).docx 

Meaningful employment is one of many issues our Member and Family Advisory Advocacy Committee is working collaboratively on in 2022. To learn more about these efforts or to join the committee, go to the LIFEPlan Advocacy News web page or ask your Care Manager for more information.