Summary of Findings
Key findings include:
* Nationally, 34% of people with intellectual disabilities are employed. (Previous research conducted on behalf of Special Olympics has shown that 52% of adults who participate in Special Olympics are employed.)
* Of employed people with intellectual disabilities, 53% are employed competitively (i.e., work alongside people without disabilities at a market-driven wage); 38% in a sheltered workshop (work centers specifically for people with disabilities), and 9% in other settings (e.g., are self-employed).
* Of those competitively employed, 28% work in customer service; 17% in retail; 16% in food service; 9% in offices; 8% in manufacturing, and 22% in other sectors such as childcare and landscaping.
* Of the adults with ID employed in a competitive setting, over half (62%) have been at their job for three years or more.
* However, only 26% of employed adults with ID have full-time jobs. Only a third were offered health insurance by their employer.
The National Snapshot of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities in the Labor Force is the first of three studies to be released in the next six months by Special Olympics focusing on the employment of persons with intellectual disabilities. Although the results of the first study are worrisome, the study breaks new ground with the first- ever nationally-representative data set on the employment situation for adults with ID and lays the foundation for efforts to ensure that this population can find meaningful jobs.
"A meaningful job is important to most of us, and people with intellectual disabilities are no different," said Dr. Gary Siperstein, Director of the Center for Social Development and Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston and the lead researcher of the study. "Government has invested millions of dollars in better outcomes for adults with ID as they transition out of high school and into the labor force. Unfortunately, this study shows that we havenít done enough. But a bright spot is that the survey shows that those who are employed have job stability regardless of where they work and what type of job they have. With this study and the two that will follow, we can better tailor efforts to bring adults with ID into the labor force and provide them good jobs."