Disabled Face a 70-Percent Unemployment Rate - 8 News NOW

Disabled Face a 70-Percent Unemployment Rate

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LAS VEGAS -- Finding a job isn't easy in this economy. But imagine if you lived with a disability that made it even harder to land work. Statistics show that's what many people with disabilities face as they struggle to find employment.

Safe Nest's mission is to end domestic violence, but they're also making a difference by putting people to work. Out of a donation center they employee about 13 people with disabilities.

Five days a week Kathleen Jacobsen stays busy at work making calls. She solicits donations for Safe Nest. While you couldn't tell by simply looking at her, she has is visually impaired. She admits finding work before landing this job was difficult.

"People who knew I was visually impaired just assumed that I wouldn't be able to do an office job," she said. "I can do every bit of job that I used to do. But people won't take a chance on disabled people."

According to Enable America, a disability employment resource, 70-percent of people living with disability who want to work can't find it.

"A lot of times an employer sees someone with a disability and they see a detriment," said Ben Vitale, Director of Operations at Safe Nest's Donation Center.

Almost half of Vitale's 32 member staff have a disability.

"The advantage to hiring someone with a disability is loyalty and appreciation. And it's a long-term for them," he said.

For workers like Amy Palermo, having a job means more than just a steady paycheck. It is a sense of independence and having a life like everyone else.

"We are all the same: human. We can do what anybody else can do," she said.

With a tough job market, Vitale's advice to other employers is to give everyone a fair chance.

"The stone may not be the best looking stone in the field, but turn it over, you'll see that there is something there of value," he said.

Safe Nest recently won an award because their efforts. They were recognized as the private employer of the year by the Work Enhancement Employment Team, better known as WEET.

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