Economic issues and jobs
When it comes to people with disabilities it is important to focus on economic issues. Problems in this area are significant and economic issues affect many other things. If a portion of the population cannot afford to go out as much they will be seen less and this affects things like ignorance and accessibility. It is worthwhile for governments and disability organizations to focus on increasing employment.
According to US statistics people with disabilities earn $11,000 less than able body people if they are lucky enough to be employed at all. The income inequality is due to them not able to become doctors, lawyers and other high paid persons. There shouldn't be any reason why they can't become several types of doctors such as a General Practitioner and the same with lawyers. Fewer jobs are also driven by inaccessible work places and safety issues.
The governmental and nonprofit sector are ill equipped to keep up with the demand by employees with disabilities; the solution has to be more self employment, development of professional artists and encouragement of the private sector. A way to do this could be holding business seminars and by having mentors specifically to assist people who have disabilities to get into business, this scheme will pay for itself.
Technology can be a major factor. The rise of the electronic world opens up more job opportunities than ever before; you can easily work remotely in the digital age. Jobs like graphic/web designers and programmers are high paid and should be encouraged. You can do these as a contractor and create your own products if you are a programmer. Technology can be used offline too; people that cannot speak can become speakers with text to speech.
People can run their own website which may involve running a blog or authoring a course. These can be based around people's passions. People can choose to put themselves out there as a personal brand but this is not necessarily required.
People's voices can be used to power a career for example they could become voice-over artists.
Joining a disability organization can potentially help with your career as some could be asked if they know people for consultancy work. I was holding a meeting and people were continuous complaining that much of the work that is available in the disability field goes to people in specific disability organizations and this disadvantages the people who prefer to work independently.
If you cannot find a job and don't want to start a business there could be local agencies that specialize in helping people who are differently-abled to find jobs. You might want to research whether such an organization exists in your area.
There are opportunities in the arts and literature industries. They don't have to do just one; they could become a comedian that releases books for example. Although making it in the arts world is not easy and over saturation could be a problem. For some people though this could be a viable option.
Free training opportunities
If you have a disability and don't believe that you have a skill set that would be useful when finding employment there may be groups that may offer you free training. This is generally advocacy workshops. I note that you don't get official qualifications but you may find the knowledge helpful, not just in advocacy. You can use of some of the knowledge in self employment especially if your business relates to advocacy somehow. Additionally there are leadership specific programs that teach leadership skills.
Business workshops can also be worthwhile. Some have existed for people that have disabilities. If none exist you could try to get organizations to lobby the government saying that it will reduce Welfare if people who have disabilities are able to earn their own businesses through owning their own business. You might also want to try regular business mentors in your area; some are low cost or free.
Your government may provide regular universal education free to you depending on where you live. Even in the United States I believe that if you have a disability there is a way that you can write off student debt. Correspondence or online courses may be cheaper. Also if you don't really need official qualifications YouTube has countless video lectures that can be used to learn everything from marketing to psychology. They don't call this the information age for nothing!
The role of social enterprises
This site has talked a lot about employment since people with disabilities are a heavily discriminated group in this area. I would like to talk about another form of employment: social enterprises.
Social enterprises can be described as a mix between corporations and nonprofit organizations. It allows for commercial activity but the profit goes to good causes instead of share holders. If done well this means that you don't have to constantly raise money to achieve good in the world. One popular type of goods social enterprises sell is T shirts but I expect that this would have limited potential in regards to sales. The more money that you make, the more good you can do.
There are also worker owned cooperatives. This type of business allows the profits to go to the workers instead of share holders. If you don't like the idea of going it alone this could be a good option if you the find right people.
This site advocates for people that have disabilities to be involved in the private sector. However alternatives to the private sector must also be explored.
Remote jobs are also an option
People are concerned about sticking people with disabilities in remote, work at home jobs because of issues like isolation. However they need to get with the times of and understand the new economy. If they don't do this they will leave people that have disabilities behind. The old labour intensive economy did not perform well for us. It is essential that we are ready to take full advantage of the new digital economy. If we can't because of some people's views it makes us less equal, not more.
The fact is the world is changing. Companies are moving towards remote work places. Many companies are now realizing that some people are more productive at home and this can save expenses such as travel. This is part of a new move towards flexible working environments. New research shows that the work force will be highly unstable in the future. Some economists claim that your average young person will have 7 different jobs, and if this is true the days of one person one career is over for the most part, adaptation is critical.
Even discounting the above it makes absolutely no sense to shut off options. Many people who are self employed already work at home Working at home is considered a dream by many people. Employment options are already very limited. Looking all options is worthwhile. This is not about forcing people to work at home, but people must be allowed to do so if that is the path that they choose.
The disability community is economically disadvantaged and disempowered. Many solutions to barriers are possible. Countries need to do better in implementing them.
Index > Economic Issues > Economic issues and jobs
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