According to a report published by Special Olympics and titled “National Snapshot of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities in the Labor Force,”
only 44% of adults with ID aged 21-64 are in the labor force. This is compared to 83% of working-age adults without disabilities who are in the labor force. Furthermore, only 34% of adults with intellectual disabilities aged 21-64 are employed, and an approximately equal number work in a sheltered setting. Those are the statistics for the United States, anyway.
The Japan Times
reported that Japanese companies are required by law to hire people with disabilities. Fines are imposed if companies fail to achieve a proportion of such workers that meets the legally set threshold, while subsidies are paid to those that satisfy the requirement. And latest numbers show that more than 500,000 people with disabilities are employed in Japan.
For this reason, special education teacher Joey Cumagun set his sites on Japan when he designed a 2020 Fund for Teachers fellowship. He wanted to observe best practices in workplaces to design a simulated classroom environment that is both conducive and motivating for students with disabilities.
Then the pandemic happened. And that was just the beginning of the ordeal resulting in his distinction as our final 2022 FFT Fellow who completed their fellowship – in April. But his journey was worth the wait.
* Click here to watch Joey's interviews with his Community Based Instruction students at Deer Valley High School in Antioch, CA.