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Help Needed: Workers with Disabilities Seeking Jobs in MA

October 8, 2007

Natick, MA – October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a time to remember that people with disabilities struggle to find employment nationwide. The latest statistics from the National Organization on Disability show the unemployment rate for disabled people is over twice as high as it is for those without disabilities. Kathleen Petkauskos from Resource Partnership says the same barriers that have been around for decades are still present today.

"Transportation has always been one of the biggest challenges. Another one is other people's attitudes. Non-disabled people just do not view a person with a disability as someone who could be productive."

Petkauskos says tax breaks given to businesses are usually not the reason they hire people with disabilities.

"That usually isn’t the biggest motivator for businesses to hire people with disabilities. Most of the time, they just really want the right person for the right job."

Petkauskos says the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 helped some overcome those obstacles. She believes a new law, the Americans with Disabilities Restoration Act, which is now before Congress, would help even more.

Kevin Clay/John Robinson, Public News Service - MA