People With Disabilities Finding More Work


The North Dakota Department of Human Services is looking at employment trends for people with disabilities.
A recent survey shows wages are going up.
Ben Smith reports.

The North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities recently completed a project to get a look at the employment status of people with an intellectual disabilities.
A survey looked at wages, hours worked for people with specific disabilities, comparing it to 2012.
The survey showed more are choosing to work, and more people are getting full-time positions.
“We saw an increase in the number of people that are working in the community being paid by an independent business and they were also receiving two dollars more an hour for that work.  says Dr. Melissa Naslund, project director
“The things that people with disabilities have in common with wage changes and wage pressures are more similar to people without disabilities than dissimilar.  Things might slow down in the economy, or the boom in the economy a few years ago, those are going to impact those with disabilities just like they would people without,” says Bruce Murry, ND Association of Community providers
About 68 percent of people surveyed are working for pay, a slight increase from 2012.
But there are still many people with disabilities without a job.
“You don’t see individuals with disabilities going into higher paid positions,” says Royce Schultze, Dakota Center for Independent Living
He says the majority of available jobs are in the service industry…restaurants, box stores, and motels.
“I would like to see the state of North Dakota hire more people with disabilities…this is a big misnomer out there that about some bodies got a disability, they’re not going to be showing up for work.  They’re not going to do as good a job as somebody else, and that’s not true,”
“People with disabilities are just like typical employees, they want to feel passion, and motivation for what they are doing,” says Dr. Naslund
Naslund says they hope to continue to monitor North Dakota’s progress every 4 years.

The survey shows fewer individuals at work centers, and more working directly for private employers.

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