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Employment: Good for People, Good for Business

For many people, employment is more than a way to cover living expenses. A career is a source of identity, fellowship, confidence, personal worth, and growth. Employment is a critical need for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) who often face discrimination in the workplace. These individuals bring myriad abilities and talents as well as being loyal members of the workforce. In fact, nearly two-thirds of adults with ID have been at their current job for three years or more.

Even with these positive contributions, the numbers can be disheartening. In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that only 19.1 percent of citizens with a disability are employed. The Center for Social Development and Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston found that only 44% of adults with ID are in the labor force (compared to 83% of adults without disabilities). This means the unemployment rate for adults with ID is more than twice that of the general population.

If your workplace is interested in the benefits of employing individuals with disabilities or you would like to learn more about the Arc Human Services Employment Program, please contact the Director of Employment Services, Brent Troyan, at troyan.brent@archumanservices.org or (724) 222-6960 x 219.

To address this disparity, Pennsylvania stepped up as one of the first states to adopt “Employment First” policies that prioritize employment in integrated settings for individuals with disabilities. To encourage these efforts, businesses hiring employees with a disability are eligible for various tax incentives. These include the Work Opportunity Credit, which grants an employer a tax credit of 25%- 40% of wages paid in the first year. Another incentive is the Barrier Removal Tax Deduction, which encourages businesses to remove architectural and transportation barriers with support up to $15,000 per year. And finally, the Disabled Access Credit provides a tax credit to employers for yearly expenditures occurred to employ an individual with a disability, especially to supply technology or adaptive equipment to complete daily work activities.

Very few individuals with disabilities are completely unable to work. The reality is that most have significant abilities that, when given the chance, will enhance any workplace environment.

Arc Human Services works directly with individuals and employers through their Employment Program, which provides opportunities for integrated competitive employment to build skills, enhance workplaces, and transform lives. To learn more about Arc Human Services’ various programs for individuals with disabilities, visit www.ArcHumanServices.org.

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