Judging A Book By It’s Cover: The Unemployment Rate Among Blind Individuals in the United States of America

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May 22, 2016
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September 15, 2017
Unemployment Rate of Blind and Visually impaired Individuals in the US.

Employers must have this on their property!

DEFINITION OF TERMS

  • Unemployment as we know it, is defined as the state of being unemployed.
  • Total blindness is referred to many people as the inability to see at all or, at best, to discern light from darkness.
  • Visually impaired is a severe reduction in vision. This cannot be corrected with standard glasses or contact lenses and reduces a person’s ability to function at certain or all tasks. This low vision is a condition which is caused by an eye disease, in which visual acuity is in 20:70 ratio or even poorer in the better-seeing eye.

The United States of America unemployment rate sadly expectedly rose to 4.4 percent in August 2017 from 4.3 percent in the month of July 2017 and above market consensus of 4.3 percent. The number of unemployed persons increased by 151 thousand to 7.1 million while the labor force participation rate was flat at 62.9 percent. Consequently, there has been a higher record of unemployment among the disabled, not realizing the damage that is being done in families that carry that financial burden.
Lots of blind, visually impaired, low vision and partial sighted individuals in the country find it difficult to get a job for themselves despite having attended a university and even regardless of graduating with acceptional grades. They remain unemployed despite being capable, motivated, and even having access to adaptive technology which allows them to perform most current day-to-day required tasks a sighted person can perform. Most Human Resource Manager sees these bright, hardworking individuals which would be an asset to any organisation if given the opportunity as a liability for their organizations because of their disabilities. They believe they cannot be fully efficient because they possess a defect, therefore they cannot be mentally stable to work for them but they fail to remember that anyone can fail in a job – disabled or not. We have disable individuals that can function better than those without any disability. Blindness/visually impairment, low vision or even sight loss inquisitively are something of the mind. When someone has this disability, they can still function like every other normal citizen if they refuse to let their mind accept their disability for a weakness. There has been this conscious belief that blind people are not capable or skilful employees. There is even a fear of making some sort of intentional ‘politically incorrect’ statement that often offends them. Statements like ‘see you later’ gets at them because they feel they are mocking their blindness. Why will they say see you later when they know we are blind. Or the one I’ve gotten the most, “did you see that…. I mean….. Hear that show?”
The unemployment gap between the people with and people without disabilities in US is significantly high. As at 2015, the percentage of the disabled employed was 34.9% while the percentage of those without disabilities employed was 76.0%; that is a 41.1% difference. This percentage of the employed disables dropped to 17.9% as at 2016 according to the USA Bureau of Labor Statistics
The simple fact is that blind/visually impaired people are not gaining employment even with their degrees.
REASONS WHY BLIND INDIVIDUALS ARE UNEMPLOYED

  1. .. A general discomfort interacting with them: One major factor contributing to the unemployment rate among the blind and visually impaired people is a general discomfort interacting with them. People turn it into a jaw-dropping, most “oh-my-goshing” reactant because they don’t know what they will say or do that might offend them. For example, the ‘see you later’ statement
  2. . Discrimination: Though legislation such as the Americans with Disability Act prohibits discrimination against all potential employees on the basis of any disability. A company is only allowed to decline to HIRE a blind employee if the applicant is unable to perform the duties of that job. However, if the applicant is not given a chance or opportunity to prove his/her abilities required to do the job and thereby dismiss on the basis that he/she is disabled, that is a form of discrimination and this is what is in common place among employers. They always fail to let blind potential employees show what they have to offer. They simply dismiss them base off of them walking in with a guide dog or white cane.
  3. . They are seen as liabilities: Another reason why there is a higher unemployment rate among the blind is the ‘supposed cost’ associated with employing disabled persons. Some blind/visually impaired persons will require some specialized equipment and employers are under the impression that they would have to bear such bill.
  4. . Discouragement: Discouragement is a general thing for anyone who has experienced repeated failure to obtain employment. There is always a feel to want to drop out of the labor force. The likelihood of experiencing failure is also a reason why we have higher rate of unemployment among the blind. They feel discourage and therefore withdraw from job search, further pushing the statistic.
  5. . Loss of benefits: Blindness qualifies for the Social Security Disability Income. This monthly treat, which may or may not require the singing of BoneThug’s “First of the Month” as a theme song may keep some blind people from looking for work thereby remaining counted among those unemployed.

HOW TO TACKLE THE PROBLEM OF UNEMPLOYED AMONG BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED CITIZENS

    The first approach to tackling the problem of high unemployment rate among the blind and visually impaired citizens of the US is the need of

  1. employers with the vision and the willingness to JumpStart the economic contributions of this highly motivated and diverse pool of workers. Companies should be encouraged to open their doors to allow the blind and visually impaired show case what they have to offer.
  2. . The United State government should encourage vocational jobs among the disabled citizens. They should be empowered and with this, there would be a drastic reduction of unemployment rate as they would be self-employed and have no need to seek for a job.

In conclusion, we would have learnt from all that has been said in this article that the rates of unemployment for the disabled; the blind, visually impaired, low vision, sight loss and partially sighted individuals emphatically, in the United States have been low for decades and will keep rising high if not managed properly by the United States Government. And, now that we are through with the statistics, I can carefully communicate to blind people that we face this issue partially because of, you. You read articles with these points and you give up on searching for a position, even if it’s low-wage or you do not spend time creating something you can be behind. I know blind people who sit pitching me the most credible money-making schemes, then when I light the fire under their ass, there is some excuse on why they cannot achieve such dream. The simplification of conjuring up cop-outs among blind individuals has risen and I find no patients for it. I have built these personal brands, in order to push the idea that your personality must stick out over your work when you are faced with a disability. I have become complacent with the fact that I have to prove myself in every way in order for people to know my full skill. Having a kid, working for a celebrity and being on a syndicated morning show apparently are enough for people to treat me normal and offer me opportunities. If I was given one wish, affective that moment, is if I could have everyone just be open to hiring a blind person and deciding their skills then. If other people who do not possess the qualifications are able to get a job, and get fired because of their inability to meet the demands of that job, then a blind person should face the same treatment. So to all employers, next time you witness a blind person in your establishment who wants to work for you, chances are they can. Chances are, they did not just apply to a job just because. It is obviously something they went and obtained a degree in, have practiced since they were kids or have been passionate about for a good amount of time. Judging a book should not be some wasteful cliché we throw around, it should be something we all live by.

REFERENCES
https://disabilitycompendium.org/sites/default/files/user-uploads/2016_AnnualReport.pdf