Is there anyone out there who remembers the Democrat mantra that candidate Donald Trump despised disabled people? Well, here’s something not widely reported: “President Donald Trump’s increasingly tight labor market, through strict immigration enforcement, is delivering jobs for Americans with disabilities in the south suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.” And that’s not from some right-wing blog but the very keyboard of The Chicago Tribune. They are hardly a news entity that often sides with the president.
Self-disclosure: I have two kids with disabilities and both work. We always felt they were not just up to the challenge but that both of our boys would benefit from the pride and personal accomplishment that comes with having a job. My youngest son even beat out two “typical people” for the position he now holds. So, hiring the disabled is near and dear to my heart.
Having said that, employers are increasingly finding out that it makes sense to hire people with disabilities. They are remarkably reliable, hard workers and – as a whole – grateful for the opportunity. Now it seems that more and more of this unique labor pool – young and old – are getting hired.
How Has This Happened?
Those with disabilities are benefiting from a perfect economic storm. As the Trump administration continues to crack down on illegal aliens and tax cuts infuse more money into the economy, the unemployment rate has dropped like a lead balloon. This means employers have jobs to fill and are increasingly seeking to hire American citizens. The disabled American job market is natural for them.
But you won’t find much in the leftist media willing to give the devil his due: “Over the past year, the jobless rate for workers with disabilities has fallen at a faster rate than among the general population, dropping 2.7 percentage points, from 9.5 percent to 7 percent,” wrote Neil Munro in a June WaPo article. Then they add a giant “but” by reporting that the number of unemployed, disabled workers were up from last year.
So, what’s the real story?
“The unemployment rate among people with disabilities dropped to an annual average of 9.2 percent in 2017, the lowest it has been since the government started tracking it a decade ago and down from a high of 15 percent in 2011,” according to the Tribune. So now we have the media lefties arguing amongst themselves. The Post can try to spin it, but anyway you cut the numbers, people with disabilities are being sought after and getting hired in the increasingly tight U.S. labor market.
There remain a number of obstacles for the disabled when it comes to jobs – transportation is a big one. The fact that my younger son can drive opened up a lot of employment opportunities for him. But for his many friends who don’t carry a license, this can be a real barrier. The common misconception that people with disabilities aren’t capable of holding down a J-O-B doesn’t help either. And finally, those with disabilities often need an extra bit of training at the outset.
The Times They Are A-Changin’
Organizations that work with the disabled population often provide job coaches to help launch these workers into new positions. In fact, these organizations are getting swamped with requests for job coaches these days. And between UBER and driverless cars entering the market, there are more transportation options for this workforce outside the standard bus and metro choices.
Still, there is a dirty little secret that those who don’t understand the disabled workforce won’t tell you. As a disabled person makes more money, his or her government benefits are reduced. This is as it should be, but often it becomes a disincentive for those on disability to work. Parents of disabled kids often can’t see the big picture – that keeping their kids’ home and collecting that government check destroys their children’s sense of self-worth and dignity.
But perhaps, that’s an issue for another day. For now, those with disabilities and those charged with their care are celebrating the growing Trump economy that as least offers a fighting chance.