Local organizations like The Arc contribute to record breaking employment numbers among people with disabilities

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 6:10 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - One of the few good things to come out of the pandemic was that employers realized more roles can be done from home, or in a modified way to accommodate people’s abilities. But according to the Arc of East Central Iowa, that’s just one reason more people with disabilities are working.

Take, for example, people like Claire Persick. She works not one job, but two. While some work two jobs to make ends meet, she just wanted to peruse as many options as possible.

“Out of courtesy, I help with people’s groceries. If they need help, I usually help them sometimes,” said Persick,

The positions were easily made available thanks to The Arc of East Central Iowa, an organization that provides services to people with disabilities. Services like job connections.

“Once they start we can work along side them doing job coaching for as long as they need it to make sure they’re successful,” said The Arc of East Central Iowa Executive Director, Theresa Lewis.

It’s organizations like the Arc that are contributing to record-breaking numbers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 5.6 million disabled men and women ages 16-64 were employed in August of 2022.

Lewis says the past several years have allowed for even more opportunities for people with disabilities to get jobs. One is the nation-wide push to have organizations be more diverse.

“Being the largest minority group, individuals with disabilities, that’s definitely an untapped resource for employers,” said Lewis.

Another reason has to do with the current labor shortage nation wide.

“Allowing our individuals to find jobs that no one else is applying for is really helping to fill that workforce gap,” said Lewis.

As for Claire, she says she just wanted to get a job for one main reason; “My dad is a working guy, he’s been making money a lot and he wanted me to stay busy.”