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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Working For a Better Life

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  Today, 70% of people with disabilities are not employed, even though polls show that most of them would prefer to work. Incredibly, this is about the same percentage of unemployed persons since the early 1980's when I began my work in the field of disabilities.

The Unitarian Universalist Association, along with many other religious organizations, signed a Statement of Solidarity Around the Employment of People with Disabilities.  It pledges us to promote the full employment of people with disabilities in our congregations and in the wider community. For more information on the Statement of Solidarity, click on

What can congregations do to support this commitment to full employment?  Here are some ideas developed by the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition, of which the UUA is a member:

  • Develop a plan to offer support to people in the congregation who are out of work
  • Communicate to members and visitors in the congregation the need to support an initiative to hire more people with disabilities
  • Encourage employers who are members of the congregation and within the community to hire qualified people with disabilities
  • Encourage local organizations that have job assistance programs to include a component that will assist persons with disabilities to find employment:
You can find specific suggestions on how to implement the above ideas at

Unemployment is an affront to one's dignity, self-worth and ability to achieve a satisfactory quality of life.  We have to do better.  Please share the attachments in this message with members of your congregation and work collaboratively to improve opportunities for people with disabilities to gain employment.

With respect,

Mark Bernstein
Congregational Life Staff, Central East Region of the UUA
UUA Liaison to Equual Access

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