World: Public-private partnerships key to improving employment for people with disability
Businesses working hand in hand with government and nonprofit programs can open more employment opportunities to people with disabilities — and help fill a shortfall of available workers, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said Monday.
He made the case alongside Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein at a discussion at DTE Energy Co.'s headquarters in downtown Detroit.
The utility company's Abilities In Motion employee resource group hosted the forum in advance of the elected officials' MI Hidden Talent Workshop tour stop in Novi next month.
During a pair of speeches and a Q&A that followed, Bernstein, who is legally blind, and Calley, whose daughter has autism, stressed that companies must change their perspectives and hiring practices to achieve two goals: to close gaps in job vacancies and reduce unemployment for individuals with developmental disabilities.
"There is no part of this whole process that is charity. We're not talking about giving somebody a chance to do something that they don't deserve or aren't capable or qualified for," Calley, who is running to replace term-limited Gov. Rick Snyder, told the audience of about 100. "We are here to discuss and make progress on the ability to see ability in people and give them a chance to show it."
According to data released in February by the National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors, less than 33 percent of adults with disabilities were employed in 2017, compared with more than 70 percent of adults without a disability. That figure drops to less than 15 percent for individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability.
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