Thank you to the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and Women's Bureau for the opportunity to participate in this online dialogue and submit ideas on how the USDOL can promote racial and social equity in employment policies and programs for people with disabilities.
Didlake is a rehabilitation services organization that is creating opportunities that enrich the lives of people with disabilities. We provide supported employment services, day support and community engagement services, and employment opportunities to a diverse consumer and employee base.
For employment services caseloads, we have a slightly higher number of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) than white. In some service areas, the caseload demographic is reflective of the areas served. In other areas, the number of BIPOC is higher than the overall demographic of the area served.
In serving and employing a diverse population of individuals, there are many challenges BIPOC with disabilities face, including:
Employers lack of awareness of the challenges BIPOC with disabilities experience.
Barriers to employment for people with disabilities often start in the job search, application, and interview processes.
Disparities in diagnosis, treatment, insurance coverage, and quality of medical care. This can impact the ability to obtain and maintain employment.
There can be cultural barriers that delay or prevent BIPOC from seeking care or services.
Addressing equity before individuals are ready to work is important. There are disparities in education for students with disabilities and students from racially and socially diverse communities. Equitable pre-employment transition services in school for students are a must.
Ensure there is equitable access to healthcare for BIPOC. Collaborate with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to address the healthcare needs of people with disabilities because health impacts one's ability to work.
Provide education on disability and the impacts for all individuals, particularly racial minorities.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion training. Employers should have resources from the Department of Labor, so they and their workforce are educated and informed about disability, inclusion, reasonable accommodations, hiring practices, section 503 compliance for federal contractors, etc.
All federal agencies should promote racial equity in their hiring and employment practices.
Provide resources and assistance for employers to offer employee resource groups.
Thank you for this opportunity to share.
VP of Advocacy and Public Policy