I’m sure this blog will get lost amongst the thousands that everyone else has written after reading the vague guidelines issued by the White House yesterday. This is NOT a political blog. Regardless of how people feel about the politics involved in the country’s response to this pandemic, the fact is that we now have guidance that specifically calls out vulnerable Individuals and “members of vulnerable populations” and mandates we leave them at home in a bubble if possible.
So, let’s be clear who that means. Fortunately, slide 17 (the last slide) of the presentation defines them as
“1. Elderly individuals.
2. Individuals with serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity , asthma, and those whose immune system is compromised such as by chemotherapy for cancer and other conditions requiring such therapy. “
OK got it? It does NOT mean most people with disabilities. It has nothing to do with disability. I am still so confused why states have discontinued employment services to people with disabilities during this crisis. For those who need employment supports, our system has just put those individuals at greater risk that is associated with unemployment. They have lost whatever gains they had in work readiness, they have missed interviews all because the government or someone else in charge of this services industry decided it was too dangerous for them. I applaud the agencies, counties and states that have embraced remote support and expected employment supports to remain in place. But to the rest of you – shame on you. Employment is a necessity, not an accessory. Supports to gain and maintain employment are essential, especially in a crisis.
Businesses need valuable employees to get the economy back on its feet. Most people with disabilities are better employees than their non-disabled co-workers. But some need help to get those jobs, their talent is in doing the job, not getting it. Reinstate all the funding and mandate that agencies recall all job developers and that coaches to be creative and bold in ensuring that people with disabilities are not left behind this economic opportunity like they have in all the ones before. And to all those job developers, now is your time. We have thousands of businesses who need their strongest employees, be sure you are up-to-date on what they need and have lined up the talent. We’ve opened up an online community
for job developers (and those in similar roles), please join us! You have to sign up, but it is free!