Disability, Employment, United States, China, United Kingdom
One for All: Employing People with Disabilities
Faculty Sponsor: Susan Roush, Physical Therapy
The creators of our constitution believed that all men are endowed with certain unalienable rights, one of which being the Pursuit of Happiness. We all measure happiness in our own lives differently, and many of us find happiness in what we do each day. President Theodore Roosevelt once said “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Everyone should have the privilege of serving a purpose within their society, however, people with disabilities often find themselves overlooked and under-represented within the workforce due to misconceptions, stereotypes, and stigmas we have attached to what it means to be “disabled.”
After graduation, I plan to become involved in public policy relating to disability issues by moving to Washington, DC and enrolling in a vocational rehabilitation counseling graduate program. In order to accomplish these goals, I need to have a deep understanding of what the employment situation looks like for people with disabilities, the programs in place to facilitate employment, and what still needs to be addressed. In light of this, my Senior Honors Project was an in-depth look at what disabled Americans face when attempting to enter the workforce, and what is being done to help them. Furthermore, I explored disability employment policy in two non-U.S. countries: China and the United Kingdom. While these countries are different from the United States (and in China’s case, vastly different), they offer something unique in the realm of employment efforts for people with disabilities.
Furthermore, my presentation includes several interviews with disabled individuals from all walks of life describing their personal employment experiences, a summary of the events that took place at an informational disability employment workshop I coordinated at the University of Rhode Island on April 14, 2011, and my own public policy proposal regarding disability awareness targeting American employers.
America works better when everyone is working, and my project invites the URI community to learn more about what is being done to ensure that people with disabilities are given every opportunity to gain employment and succeed as a worker.
Keywords: disabled, employment, policy, America, UK, China