Find out How the Pittsburgh Disability Employment Summit Helps Disabled Job Seekers Return to the Work Force

A new Disability Employment Summit took place in downtown Pittsburgh this past October 13th through 15th. This Summit routinely advocates for workers who suffer from disability. The conference serves as a seminal influence in the work world given the conditions of today’s employment market. It advocates for the integration of disabled job seekers and spreads awareness of the challenges these people face. We will examine this conference, the organizations behind seeing it through to completion, as well as a projected impact on workers who suffer from disability (and their potential employers). We’ll discuss how the Pittsburgh Disability Employment Summit Helps Disabled Job Seekers Return to the Work Force.

The Pittsburgh Disability Employment Summit: Who, Where, Why?

The Pittsburgh Employment Summit focuses on workers who suffer from disability in any form or manner. A collaborative effort by the American Association for People with Disabilities, Allegheny County, and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development organized this particular summit. Aside from opening up perspectives for workers with disability, the conference also celebrated Pittsburgh’s new responsibility as the national host for the U.S. Disability Mentoring Day every October 15.

This three day event began with an Abilities Celebration Reception at the Heinz History Center. The following day, attendees came together in several meetings to focus on unifying sponsors, employers, individuals with disabilities, members of organizations who lobby for disability rights, family members, friends, and support service providers for disabilities. The discussions that took place entailed overhauls to create a more inclusive workforce, changes to recruitment practices, military veteran recruitment, and the overall regional economy of Allegheny County.

Pittsburgh Disability Employment Summit Helps Disabled Job Seekers Return to the Work Force

Businessman Sitting in a Wheelchair Working in a Laptop — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

The event’s career spotlight brought applicants and employers face to face. Employment opportunities were presented in numerous fields (including banking, finance, law, advanced manufacturing, health, hospitality, and education). Many high school students from across the region attended the final day of the summit, the Disability Mentoring Day. During the event, students visited local companies and participated in mentor-ship activities.

The Disability Employment Summit helps disabled job seekers become better integrated on the job market by bringing them, their advocates, and numerous corporate partners together at the same discussion table. It raises the issue of inclusion strategies in the economic field and seeks to improve employment rates for people with disabilities throughout the entire southwestern region of Pennsylvania. Aside from presenting job seekers with actual vacancies in the job market, it also addresses educational issues and other initiatives which they can actively take part. From the perspective of a job seeker, the summit seeks to deepen their understanding of how specific industries work in order to facilitate greater access to these industries.

New Perspectives on Disability on the Job Market

On a broader level, the Pittsburgh Disability Employment Summit aims to shed more light on the economic and social status regarding the statistic that one in five Americans lives with a disability. Many of these people deal with medical issues that can be easily noticed by others. Other citizens living with a disability show no outward symptoms or signs of the disability. Of the roughly 500,000 Pittsburgh citizens living with disability, adults of working age comprise more than 300,000 of this population. Several thousand others are set to enter the work force over the course of the upcoming fifteen years. Given the fact that less than 20 percent of disabled adults have integrated into the workforce thus far, it’s rather obvious that this situation needs to be efficiently addressed as soon as possible. The rate of unemployment is double in adults who live with disabilities versus the rest of the population. The summit focuses on this jarring statistic as well.

What kept disabled individuals out of the workforce thus far? The Disability Employment Summit claim that a slew of factors caused this lack of employment. Many work places still continue to practice discriminatory policies in present day America. People with disabilities have less access to educational and employment opportunities. They often find themselves as the target of misunderstandings or stereotypes. Against the backdrop of an aging US population which is retiring, the work force is coming under immense pressure to find skilled workers from all walks of life. A more inclusive workforce serves as a desideratum whose fruition would benefit everyone.

Integrating working age people with disabilities into the workforce is feasible in the foreseeable future. It’s definitely not a process that will unfurl overnight. In the long run, these events that bring together advocates, allies, citizens with disabilities, and the employers willing to hire them should help mold our hiring policies of the future.


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