Disability rights advocates in St. Louis are highlighting new federal rules that aim to open more job opportunities to people with disabilities. Starting Monday, federal contractors are required to work toward a goal of 7 percent disabled employees in their workforce.
The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is about twice that of other adults.
David Newburger, co-founder of the Starkloff Disability Institute, says many employers are still hesitant to hire people with disabilities because of some common misconceptions.
“Just as one example, people often say, 'we can’t hire a blind person because they have to read a computer,'” Newburger says. “But with today’s technologies, a blind person can read a computer just fine. So we need to get over those assumptions."
Under the new rule, federal contractors will also be required to ask new hires and current employees whether they are disabled.
Related new regulations also require federal contractors to work to hire more military veterans.