People with Disabilities Need Your Help Now
MTC’s job training and certification programs are more critical than ever, as MTC clients will re-enter a hyper-competitive job market after the COVID-19 crisis has passed. In its April 10, 2020 report on the impact of COVID-19, the TampaBay Partnership stated that “individuals with a disability may present unique challenges for medical and emergency personnel, and be disproportionately affected by social distancing and stay-at-home measure, as well as potential job loss.”
The post-pandemic jobless rate for people with disabilities is expected to mirror that of the Great Recession (2007), running 10% or higher than the national unemployment rate.
MTC staff has had the difficult task of breaking the news to clients that they have been laid off due to COVID-19 and helping those clients navigate the bewildering array of government programs and resources. One MTC job coach reports that eight of his thirteen clients, most employed for 5 years or more in their positions, are now out of work. In addition, former clients are reaching out for emotional and practical support in dealing with unemployment. Those already living at or below the poverty level find themselves in an even more precarious financial position and face increased risk of hunger and/or homelessness.
MTC staff has also been helping students and their families address the significant physical, mental and behavioral health challenges experienced by individuals with cognitive disabilities such as Autism and Down syndrome during the stay-at-home order. Many of our employment coaches report that all of their clients with all disabilities, both cognitive and physical such as deaf or hard of hearing, need more supports and services during this crisis.