On Aug. 27, one day before the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the final rule was published for affirmative action for people with disabilities, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Section 503 was enacted in 1973 to prevent employment discrimination for people with disabilities by federal contractors and subcontractors and to require them to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified people with disabilities; to date, this rule has not been enforced. In the United States, people with disabilities have an unemployment rate of 13.4 percent and 70 percent are not even considered to be a part of the workforce. This is shameful and must change.
As a woman living with epilepsy, and founder of Bender Consulting Services, I partner with public and private employers, such as Highmark and Bayer, to advance employment for people with disabilities.
In the 1960s, I saw the positive results for women and people of color, based on the Civil Rights Act. Some men would say, "People of color and women are taking our jobs and they are not qualified!" Today, the people they spoke negatively about hold positions such as the commander in chief and CEO.
People with disabilities have great talent and ability! When you say, "They are not qualified and are going to take our jobs," I will say, "I've heard it before. and guess what? It wasn't true then and it isn't true now."
President and CEO
Bender Consulting Services Inc.