Introduction The National Organization on Disability 2004 reported that

Introduction the national organization on disability

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Introduction The National Organization on Disability (2004) reported that Americans with disabilities continue to lag well behind other Americans in many of the most *Corresponding author. Email: [email protected] Disability & Society Vol. 27, No. 6, October 2012, 837 852 ISSN 0968-7599 print/ISSN 1360-0508 online Ó 2012 Taylor & Francis
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fundamental aspects of life, including employment. While persons with disabilities are legislatively protected in the USA, they are the most underemployed group (Aune and Kroeger 1997). According to a statistical report collected by the Of fi ce of Disability Employment Policy, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was unacceptably high, over 30% in 2004 (US Department of Labor 2004). While the unemployment rate for persons with disabilities appears to be decreasing (15.2%) lately, the Of fi ce of Disability Employment Policy reported: the percentage of people with disabilities in the labor force was 21.1 compared with 69.7 for per- sons with no disability (US Department of Labor 2011). The World Health Organi- zation. (2011b) estimates that approximately 10% of the world s population has disabilities. The United Nations reported disparities for people with disabilities globally; in developing countries (e.g. Latin America), 80 to 90% of persons with disabilities of working age are unemployed, whereas in industrialized countries, the fi gure is between 50% and 70% (United Nations 2011, 1). Particularly, in Canada, the unemployment rate for persons with disabilities is about 26%, compared with 5% for persons without disabilities; and in the European Union, there are approxi- mately 40 million persons with disabilities who are two to three times more likely to be unemployed than those without disabilities (United Nations 2011, 1). In the United Kingdom, only one-half of people with disabilities of working age are work- ing, compared with 80% of people without disability; currently 1.3 million persons with disabilities are available for and want to work (UK National Statistics 2011). Overall this high unemployment or under-employment trend suggests the magnitude of challenges confronting persons with physical disabilities who wish to participate in the labor force. While scholars need to investigate employment experiences of all persons with disabilities, this study focuses on the employment issues and experiences of a his- torically under-represented and marginalized group in the labor market, college stu- dents and graduates with physical disabilities. Applying a phenomenological perspective, this study sought to understand their lived employment experiences during college and post college. The research questions are as follows: (1) What are the lived employment experiences of seniors and recent graduates with physical disabilities?
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