If you are an individual with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) (or someone who provides assistance to an individual with I/DD), The Arc wants to hear about your experience applying for jobs online!
Over 85% of individuals with I/DD are unemployed and rely solely on family and/or government supports to get by. The lack of employment options for people with I/DD reduces opportunities for them to interact with their peers in an integrated setting and reinforces the harmful stereotype that people with I/DD are not productive members of their communities. The Arc works in a myriad of ways to improve the employment outcomes for individuals with I/DD to ensure they are able to lead independent, meaningful lives in the community in competitively paid jobs.
As businesses increasingly shift to online platforms, a major concern within the disability community over the last decade has been the accessibility of websites for individuals with disabilities. In an age where more than half of new hires are sourced from the web, it is vital to ensure that individuals with I/DD are able to utilize all of the available tools to gain meaningful community-based employment and stay out of poverty. Great strides have been made in recent years towards improving the accessibility of various websites for individuals with visual and hearing disabilities through methods such as closed-captioning and compatibility with screen-reading software. In allowing individuals to fully experience the web, such tools are as fundamental as ramps for wheelchair users.
Unfortunately, very little progress has been made on this front for those with I/DD. The Arc seeks to ensure that individuals with I/DD do not get left behind and become a web underclass. Like everyone else, individuals with I/DD desire to learn, socialize, and shop online as well as access job opportunities in this forum. Towards this goal, The Arc wants to find out about YOUR experience with applying for jobs online to assess how accessible (or inaccessible) these mechanisms are for you. We have developed two surveys – one intended for individuals with I/DD and the other for those who assist individuals with I/DD such as job coaches or family members – to find out more about your experiences applying for jobs online.
Our community’s ability to access these applications is vital to The Arc’s continued efforts to expand integrated, competitive, and community-based employment opportunities for individuals with I/DD and ensure that the integration mandates of state and federal disability rights laws are meaningfully fulfilled.