City aims to make workplaces more accessible to those with disabilities

By Ashley Mitchem - Reporter, anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A recent U.S. Census report indicates the unemployment rate for disabled people is nearly double the unemployment rate of those without disabilities.

And 70 percent of working-age people with disabilities in America are not working.

In Duval County alone, there are more than 89,000 residents with disabilities.

"People with disabilities want to work, they want to have the American dream like everyone else," said Sean Pozin, who's hearing impaired.

Pozin, of Able Advisor, said the discrimination against disabled people in the workforce is real, and he's tired of it.

"People with disabilities have generally, when companies start cutting people and let people go, they are the first type of people they let go, and it's a shame it's that way," Pozin said.

That's why the city of Jacksonville hosted an informative meeting for businesses explaining how to make their workplace more accessible to the disabled community.

Victor Guillory, of the city, said this is the first step in hiring more disabled people.

"Roughly 10-15 percent of our citizens with disabilities should have every opportunity to pursue the very same values that we all want," he said.

Businesses were also informed of some upcoming changes in the new year. Starting in March, the goal is to have disabled people make up 7 percent of the workforce.

Natalie Aldean, of Disability Rights Florida, said disabled people enrich a workplace and inspire others.

"Many of the people that I know in the workforce are much harder workers," she said.

The city wants employers and potential employees to reach out to its disabled services. To do that, go to the city's website.

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