Study: Americans with Disabilities Want to Work, are Working

Americans with disabilities endeavor to find employment and are successful in overcoming obstacles in the workplace, according to the 2015 Kessler Foundation National Employment and Disability Survey, the first nationally representative survey to examine the work experiences of adult Americans with disabilities.  Approximately 68 percent of respondents indicated they were looking for work, have worked, or were currently employed since the onset of disability. Persons currently working averaged 35.5 hours a week, and over half (60.7 percent) worked 40+ hours a week.  The majority of those not employed (but looking for work) were actively preparing to enter the workforce in optimum condition by receiving medical treatment and rehabilitation (72.7 percent).

Additional findings:

  • Most respondents (86.6 percent) reported feeling accepted at their places of employment.
  • Over half of those surveyed (68.4 percent) reported that their workplaces provided most or all of the supports or accommodations they needed. The most requested accommodation was schedule flexibility (28.4 percent).
  • Challenges for those employed included receiving less pay than others in a similar position (16.5 percent) and management attitudes (15.7 percent).  At least one-third of respondents reported overcoming one of these obstacles (38.6 percent for pay disparity and 41.3 percent for supervisor attitude).

The complete report, including video of the presentation of findings on Capitol Hill, is available at the Kessler Foundation website.





Report Citation: Kessler Foundation (2015). The Kessler Foundation 2015 National Employment and Disability Survey: Report of Main Findings. West Orange, NJ.

Report: Evidence of Long Term Economic Impact of the Nonprofit Sector

There has been much focus the past few years on the impact of the economy on philanthropy and nonprofits, but relatively little on the overall impact that nonprofits have on the economy (save some state/local level analysis).  But a recent look at nonprofit operations and economics has concluded that private grantmaking has a greater impact than previously assumed – so says new research from The Philanthropic Collaborative.

The report, Economic Impacts of 2010 Foundation Grantmaking on the U.S. Economy takes a closer look at the $38 billion in foundation grants dispersed throughout the United States in 2010. The authors found positive impacts of the funding at the immediate and short term levels, specifically in wages and jobs, revenue and Gross Domestic Product  (GDP) growth. In the midst of the recent recession the foundation monies resulted in the immediate creation of approximately half a million jobs. More notable than that however, was that the study identified long term impacts,  including creating  partnerships between organizations to encourage local entrepreneurship and grow the presence of for-profit businesses over time. The authors conclude that nonprofit activity does have long-term economic impact, reflected in both the GDP and the country’s employment rate.

The complete report, including eight community-level case studies of diverse initiatives and programs, is available at  The Philanthropic Collaborative’s website.




Arts and Culture and Economic Growth in Pennsylvania

While the state of the economy is center stage this election season, there has been little discussion of the importance of nonprofits, particularly those in the arts sector, in job creation and economic growth. A new study, Arts & Economic Prosperity IV: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences in the State of Pennsylvania, conducted by Americans for the Arts demonstrates the clear correlation between support of  the arts and employment and revenue generation in the Commonwealth.

According to the report, in 2010, Pennsylvania had $2,545,382,269 in total expenditures between art and culture organizations and their patrons. This spending supported more than 81,000 full-time jobs and sent over $201 million in revenue to the state government.

In Allegheny County, 2010 arts and culture industry expenditures totaled $685,602,764, with event attendees spending an average of $21.44 per person, not including the cost of event admission. As would be expected, people living outside of Allegheny County spent more on meals, gifts or souvenirs and lodging.  The data indicate that this patronage of cultural events and activities in and around the city of Pittsburgh supports over 20,500 full-time jobs and generates $31,448,000 in revenue to the local government.

Read the complete report or the regional summaries at the Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania webpage (all are available for download). Then make plans for dinner and a show!

Young Adults, Missing Jobs and the Nonprofit Sector

Watching a segment on a morning show featuring pundits drinking coffee and discussing the difficulty of the job market for anyone under age 30 reminded me of a chat I had with a nonprofit leader back in the midst of the fiscal maelstrom. He lamented that his children – all young adults, finishing school or starting off in their various fields – were never going to have either the professional opportunities or the standard of living that he had achieved. I thought to myself that Gen X didn’t have it particularly easy either: the “new normal” of guaranteed job insecurity, 1.5  to 2 incomes needed to buy a modest house (forget about being too choosey about the school district), raising children while planning (or actively caring) for aging parents, and carrying the obligation of repaying our own student loans.

However, some recent reports shed light on the extent of the challenges facing young people when it comes to securing employment. The report, No End in Sight? The Long-Term Youth Jobs Gap and What It Means for America from Young Invincibles, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, found that the rate of unemployment for 16-to-24 year olds was more than double the national unemployment rate – 16.5 percent compared to 8.2 percent. The rates for African–American and Latino young adults are even higher – 20.5 and 30.2 percent.

No End in Sight? examines the youth employment  gap between what is available in the current economy and what a healthier version (not expected until 2021 unless strong action is taken) would resemble, concluding that the recession has cost youth and young adults over 2 and half million jobs. What makes the impact of the recession more of a concern to the authors is that early experience of unemployment leads to outcomes such as lower lifetime wages and lack of upward mobility.

 Demos looks the July 2012 Young Adult Employment Report though a mixed lens, on one hand the unemployment rate for 25-to-34 year olds remained stable at 8.2 percent, but data indicate this cohort also left the labor force – ending their job search for whatever reason.

Tying this bleak outlook back to the nonprofit sector – I was curious about the results from the latest survey from which indicate unemployed young adults are not flocking to the HR departments of nonprofit organizations. According to the data reported in Voices from the Sector: The Nonprofit Job Seeker Report, people 18-to-29 years made up 27 percent of nonprofit job applicants – just slightly above the 24 percent of 30-to-39 year olds and below the 28 percent of job-seekers aged 50 to 54 years. Interesting.

What are you experiencing as a nonprofit professional or job-seeker? Are older persons returning to the full-time workforce, including nonprofit organizations? Are Millenials just not attracted to the sector as much as their older counterparts?