This article originally appeared in The Post & Courier.
South Carolina advocates for people living with disabilities want to make sure that the community isn’t forgotten during a time when unemployment is rising due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Able SC, a nonprofit that provides services and resources for people with disabilities in the state, South Carolina has the sixth-highest unemployment rate for those living with a disability.
That community is also more than twice as likely to be unemployed than someone without a disability. This is based on data from the 2019 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium and the U.S. Department of Labor, Community Rehabilitation programs list.
“Right now there is a big gap … and that’s specific to South Carolina,” said Sandy Jordan, Able SC’s director of employment programs.
With the rise of the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing, many businesses have had to let employees go. More than 400,000 unemployment applications were filed in South Carolina in the last month and half. And Jordan and her colleagues know that those numbers include people with disabilities.
The hope is that more employers and service providers continue to come up with accessible ways for folks within the disability community to work and help erase the stigma that they are incapable of doing so.