Today, Americans with disabilities are facing disproportionately high rates of unemployment compared to Americans without disabilities. As America confronts broader challenges around developing our workforce and creating jobs, it is important to keep in mind that not everyone is affected equally. Individuals with disabilities should have, to the maximum extent possible, the same opportunities as all others do: to live close to family and friends; to live independently and in safe communities; to engage in productive employment; and to participate in community life. That's why my initiative, A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities will focus on providing these opportunities.
A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities aims to increase employment among individuals with disabilities. Specifically, my initiative will focus on the employment challenges that affect individuals with intellectual and other significant disabilities and the role that both state government and business can play in facilitating and advancing opportunities for these individuals to be gainfully employed in the competitive labor market. Successfully achieving that goal will require not only attention to appropriate training, job placement, and work-based support but also advancing best practices and meaningful engagement of the business community. Because government, business, the general public, individuals with disabilities and their families all stand to benefit from increased employment of people with disabilities, all have a role and shared responsibility in reaching this goal.
The initiative will provide governors and other state policymakers with better policy options to assess the environment in their state and strategies designed to support this population. A major emphasis will be on people who have significant intellectual and developmental disabilities and may require supports like job coaches and personal attendants in order to live and work in the community. We will convene governors, businesses, disability leaders and other thought leaders throughout the year to share ideas and move forward with support for this population.
Together, we can ensure that individuals with disabilities will have opportunities for a brighter future.