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Helping Reduce Unemployment For People With Disabilities

An organization that helps people with developmental and intellectual disabilities says progress is  being made in helping reduced the local unemployment rate for the types of people they are trying to help.

That according to Andrew Sewnauth, a vice president with CDS Monarch. He says recent statistics from the federal government show that the jobless rate for people with disabilities dropped about two percent, to just over 10 percent in July.  Sewnauth says his organization has helped find jobs for 35 people with those types of disabilities.

“Since a couple of years ago we have made a very big focus on what we call ‘supportive employment,’ and giving people job coaching, giving people vocational counseling, going out and making connections with employers ahead of time so the stress isn’t there.”

Sewnauth says it is not easy to change the mindset of employers who may not be open to hiring people with disabilities, but he believes that climate is changing.

“I think right now that you’re seeing that employers are learning, just like the rest of the community that work comes in all forms and all sizes, so whether it’s an individual that needs a little bit of different help, or whether it’s a person coming back for more, like our veterans program, I think all employers are realizing that the work needs to get done and they can open up their doors to that.”

CDS Monarch has its own subsidiary that does provide job opportunities for people with disabilities, but Sewnauth says there is a trend to trying to find ways to place those workers into competitive jobs around the region.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.