The Australian government wants to encourage employers to hire people with disabilities and is putting their money where their mouths are in the form of a $1.2 billion program to boost access to employment services and provide long-term support for people with disabilities who are already in the workforce.
As in the U.S., Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Bill Shorten says, people with disabilities are under-represented in the workforce and that they “need to ensure that they remove the barriers facing people with disabilities who want to work, and recognize their potential rather than their impairments,". The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry says the program will be promoted among its 350,000 employer members. As in many other countries, the employment rate for people with disabilities in Australia is about thirty percent less than the rest of the population.
Many folks believe this program will lift workforce participation rates for jobseekers with disabilities in a very real way. I for one am going to keep an eye on this program to see what we can learn from it, so stay tuned.