The state has received a federal grant aimed at reducing that number by helping schools come up with incentives that can give students with disabilities a better chance of finding a job, says Becky Harker, director of the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council."What we know is that families and educators, and community members often don't have real high expectations for youths with developmental disabilities to be integrated into the workforce."
Many people with disabilities who do have jobs are often sheltered behind the scenes in low-skill and low-paying jobs, she says.
This is where many individuals with developmental disabilities really fall through the cracks. Because even if they do find employment, they seldom make enough to support themselves. Which is what these individuals both want and can accomplish with the right programs and employers giving them a chance.
"We're looking at working alongside others without disabilities, receiving the same rate of pay and the same benefits for doing the same work."Harker says the state's project is one of six that will share $3 million from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.