LOS ANGELES, July 31, 2020 (Newswire.com) - Angelenos with disabilities have a powerful new toolkit to help them prepare for and find new jobs and great careers. The Los Angeles office of RespectAbility has partnered with the City of Los Angeles Department on Disability, UNITE-LA and Fiesta Educativa to release a comprehensive toolkit for job seekers with disabilities in Los Angeles, which will, in the words of Mayor Eric Garcetti, “grow and build upon their own professional strengths, and put them to work — so that we can create a better city of the future for all of us, together.”
The toolkit, “Finding a Job as a Person with a Disability in Los Angeles,” will be launched during a keynote address by Stephen David Simon, Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Department on Disability, who describes the toolkit as a “cornerstone of regional efforts to help people with disabilities to gain, retain, and advance their employment opportunities.” Simon’s keynote anchors the final day of RespectAbility’s #ADA30 Summit 2020, offering his vision for people with disabilities in L.A. in the coming years, as part of a day-long focus on the way that citizens and the government can partner for the future.
People with disabilities have been especially hard-hit during the COVID-19 pandemic and current economic crisis and, often, are struggling to find new work. This toolkit, and the changes it will engender, are a significant part of that vision. It offers pathways forward and advice for Angelenos in many different stages of life.
“This guide will serve as a powerful resource for the more than 143,000 unemployed working-age Angelenos with disabilities,” said Matan Koch, the California Director of RespectAbility who is a Harvard Law graduate who uses a wheelchair. “In this time of uncertainty, economic and otherwise, people with disabilities need to know they have options. This toolkit provides clear guidance on the resources available at different stages in their journey and how to use them to reach their ultimate goal of attaining a new job.”
Even prior to COVID-19, Californians with disabilities faced serious barriers to entering the workforce. According to Census Bureau data, out of more than 1.8 million working-age Californians living with a disability, only 700,456 had jobs in 2018. Within that number, there are serious racial disparities in employment, with only 26 percent of African Americans with disabilities having jobs in California. Those outcomes are even worse with thousands of people with and without disabilities out of work due to COVID.
RespectAbility is grateful to the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust; the California Workforce Development Board; Craig H. Neilsen Foundation; the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles; Diane & Guilford Glazer Philanthropies; the Weingart Foundation; and the California Wellness Foundation for making this toolkit possible.