In August 2022, the Amputee Coalition hosted its first in-person conference in three years. The experiences of those three years deeply impacted the topics and focus of the conversations and sessions presented during the event. A key topic centered on diversity and equity. While some efforts have been made to support diversity in the workplace, people with disabilities remain an unseen and often forgotten minority in corporate America.
Inclusion in a commercial does not translate to inclusion in the office.
Currently, people with disabilities, like limb loss and limb difference, are overrepresented in dying career fields and underrepresented in fast-growing industries. This is happening while there is an increasing amount of diversity being depicted in all media. The cognitive dissonance of seeing advertisements and entertainment that reflect the disability community, and not having that replicated in the real world is a contributing factor to why this issue goes unrecognized.
As presenter Luka Erceg noted, “We are drowning in ableism – disability discrimination is embedded in every aspect of society, and the disabled and not a protected class.”
While people applaud small steps toward inclusion and accessibility, we know the people most affected, are still fighting to have basic needs met through public spaces – not to mention their workplaces.
When discussing barriers to work…
- 79% of people with disabilities report their own disability as a barrier to the workforce participation
- 2% cite a lack of training education
- 69% cite transportation barriers
- 9% cite the need for special accommodations
What can be done? The Amputee Coalition is introducing a new Workforce Development Program within its organization, working to assist individuals (including Veterans) within the limb loss/limb difference community with employment. The program is designed to assist participants who are new to the workforce and/or those transitioning back into the workforce after an amputation(s). Learn more here: Implementation of the Amputee Coalition’s New Workforce Development Program.
Throughout the month of October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Amputee Coalition will release a series of blogs and webinars to provide awareness around these issues.