Think College is a national organization dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving inclusive higher education options for people with intellectual disability. With a commitment to equity and excellence, Think College supports evidence-based and student centered research and practice by generating and sharing knowledge, guiding institutional change, informing public policy, and engaging with students, professionals and families. Click to learn more about our various grant projects.
Meeting the Demands of an Expanding Health Care Workforce
If you’ve ever seen the “Because” public service announcement from the Office of Disability Employment Policy, you’ve seen Kayla Woolridge swim. While filming the PSA, Kayla, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, got to chatting with my staff about her career goals. Although still a few years out from college, Kayla has been thinking about becoming a neonatal intensive care unit nurse. When I heard this, I thought how great it would be if she does indeed pursue that path — because the nursing industry is going to need her.
An Ordinary, Extraordinary Day
Beginning Monday, March 24th, 2014, businesses that work with the Federal Government will be required to set goals to employ people with disabilities at a rate of 7 percent and in doing so, keep track of their progress. The new law permits companies to invite employees to self-disclose a disability, allowing the company to conduct an internal census. With this data, companies can ensure their recruiting and hiring practices do not inadvertently exclude qualified candidates with disabilities. Employee are not required to disclose a disability.
This rule change stems from an effort to combat chronic unemployment of people with disabilities. Most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in 2012:
1) The unemployment rate for non-disabled Americans stood at 8 percent, but almost doubled to 15 percent for people with disabilities;
2) The workforce participation rate for non-disabled Americans was 31.6 percent, while 76.5 percent of people with disabilities in the same age group were out of the work force entirely;
3) Median household income for a person reporting a disability was $25,420, compared to $59,411 for someone without a disability“ These numbers remain unchanged over the past 40 years despite dramatic improvements in access to physical workplaces, technology, and policy,” says attorney David Newburger, co-director of Starkloff Disability Institute. “Many people with disabilities want to work but face barriers.”
Health Care Professionals with Disabilities Career Trends, Best Practices, & Call-to-Action Policy Roundtable
March 18, 2014
More than 40 employers, federal and state policymakers, researchers and nursing school administrators convened at the U.S. Access Board on March 18 for a policy roundtable hosted by the Office of Disability Employment Policy in collaboration with the National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities. “We know that health-care occupations dominate the list of jobs predicted to be in most demand in coming years,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor Kathy Martinez, who heads ODEP, as she welcomed attendees. Martinez was joined by acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Eric Seleznow, along with leaders from the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Department of Education. They explored strategies for using the skills and talents of people with disabilities, including veterans, to meet anticipated labor shortages in nursing and allied health occupations. Because “there is simply not enough talent in the pipeline,” that people with disabilities “have an important role to play in meeting the demands of this changing landscape,” Martinez told attendees.
Your pathway to career success. Tools to help job seekers, students, businesses, and career professionals Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor
Give Nurses in Wheelchairs a Chance
Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media , December 10, 2013
Although some nurse leaders cling to the rigid requirements of the profession, others are making accommodations for nurses in wheelchairs, sending a powerful message to patients in the process.
A “walking interview” is one of the questionable—to say the least—tactics that one prospective supervisor used during a nursing job interview with Marianne Haugh.
“I had one walking interview…to see if I could handle their huge unit,” Haugh recalls, a note incredulity still present in her voice when she talks about it. Haugh was born with spina bifida, and although she can walk short distances, she relies primarily on a wheelchair to get around.
On September 4, 2013, Michael Argenyi, a deaf medical student, represented by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), the law firm of Stein & Vargas and Disability Rights Nebraska, won a jury trial against Creighton University in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska. Mr. Argenyi had been a student in the medical school at Creighton University beginning in 2009, and had requested that Creighton University provide him with real time captioning for classes and oral interpreters for clinics. Creighton refused to provide him with such services and also refused to allow Mr. Argenyi to bring interpreters even if he paid for the interpreters himself.
Deaf Student Denied Interpreter by Medical School
Deaf Student, Denied Interpreter by Medical School, Draws Focus of Advocates
By JOHN ELIGON
Speaking with the parents of a sick infant, Michael Argenyi, a medical student, could not understand why the child was hospitalized. During another clinical training session, he missed most of what a patient with a broken jaw was trying to convey about his condition.