The problems finding employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have not diminished. As of 2012, one in three living in the community lived in poverty, fewer than one in four was employed and less than 12% were employed full time, year round. My son is still volunteering in order to develop work skills, especially the "soft" skills of communicating with other employees and behaving appropriately in a business setting, and to make connections in our new community that might lead to paid employment. That employment dream seems more distant as the months go by, and his confidence is sapped. Even finding organizations that will accept him as a volunteer is difficult. One charitable organization that turned him down was later advertising for volunteers in local free papers. Having had a year of work-study experience in stocking shelves in a grocery store should have qualified him to stock the charity's food pantry shelves. The saying that "where one door closes, another door opens" does not seem to apply to employment for individuals with disabilities.
We need to commit to employing people with disabilities who are willing and able to work. It may take some ingenuity, such as in job carving. In job carving, people with disabilities are hired for certain tasks they can perform and freeing current employees to concentrate on their primary work. For example, a company might hire people with disabilities to make copies and collate mailings, so that current employees can focus on developing the content of the mailings. Employing people with disabilities can benefit employers, employees and the economy as people with disabilities contribute meaningfully within their community.