Michigan DD Network and Lieutenant Governor Announce Employment Report

The 2014 NDEAM theme, EXPECT.EMPLOY.EMPOWER. appears in large white letters at the center of the poster on a blue backdrop of a collage of images of people with disabilities in a variety of work settings. On the right side is a large image from the back of a female wheelchair user. On the back of her chair are the words What can YOU do? The words at the bottom on a silver banner include National Disability Employment Awareness Month, DOL’s logo with the words Office of Disability Employment Policy United States Department of Labor and ODEP’s website: www.dol.gov/odep.The Developmental Disabilities Network –  Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service, Inc., the Developmental Disabilities Institute at Wayne State University, and the Developmental Disabilities Council – released their Employment First report at a press conference in September outlining the employment circumstances of Michiganders with disabilities, particularly those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, whose daughter has autism, spoke at the event, saying “We are not talking about charity here. We are talking about people that have something important and valuable and productive to add to our community and to our economy, to Michigan.”

The report finds that 60 percent of individuals with disabilities in Michigan want a job in their community, but only 17 percent of them have one. Most of those who are employed – over 8,000 Michigan citizens – are earning below minimum wage and making an average of $2.75 an hour.

Lt. Gov Calley Speaks at a Podium

The Michigan DD Network calls on the Michigan state legislature to enact Employment First legislation that recognizes and assumes that individuals with disabilities, with the proper supports and accommodations, can earn a fair and prevailing wage alongside individuals without disabilities in fully integrated settings.

Read more about the event and the report from the Lansing State Journal and Michigan Public Radio.