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What Kansas City's Center for Disability Inclusion is doing to narrow the employment gap

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Darla Wilkerson, CEO of the Center for Disability Inclusion speaking at a conference.
Center for Disability Inclusion and Omaha Chamber of Commerce
Darla Wilkerson, CEO of the Center for Disability Inclusion, speaking at a conference.

October is National Employment Disability Awareness Month, but there’s still more organizations need to do to create accessible workplaces.

Unemployment among people with disabilities is particularly high. According to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor statistics, only 21.3% of disabled Americans are employed compared to 65.4% of people without a disability.

Here in Kansas City, the Center for Disability Inclusion works with companies both locally and nationally to advance disability inclusion in the marketplace. Their goal is to narrow the unemployment gap between people with a disability and those without.

Darla Wilkerson, the CEO of the Center for Disability Inclusion, said that one in four people have a disability and 74% of those with a disability have a non-apparent disability. Wilkerson's organization strives to provide resources for companies to implement a disability inclusion policy.

"A lot of our work has to do with just bringing awareness to what disability is, and awareness to looking at our policies or practices, and some of those systemic barriers as well as our attitudes," Wilkerson said. "Our conscious and unconscious bias can be very strong limitations or barriers for people to access employment."

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
Elizabeth Erb is a production intern for KCUR 89.3's Up To Date. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program. You can email her at eerb@kcur.org.
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