Disabled Mississippians gain jobs as economy expands - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Disabled Mississippians gain jobs as economy expands

The state ranks 48th on jobs for people with disabilities, ahead of states like Alabama and West Virginia. Source: WLBT The state ranks 48th on jobs for people with disabilities, ahead of states like Alabama and West Virginia. Source: WLBT
The state ranks 48th on jobs for people with disabilities, ahead of states like Alabama and West Virginia. Source: WLBT The state ranks 48th on jobs for people with disabilities, ahead of states like Alabama and West Virginia. Source: WLBT
The state ranks 48th on jobs for people with disabilities, ahead of states like Alabama and West Virginia. Source: WLBT The state ranks 48th on jobs for people with disabilities, ahead of states like Alabama and West Virginia. Source: WLBT
The state ranks 48th on jobs for people with disabilities, ahead of states like Alabama and West Virginia. Source: WLBT The state ranks 48th on jobs for people with disabilities, ahead of states like Alabama and West Virginia. Source: WLBT
The state ranks 48th on jobs for people with disabilities, ahead of states like Alabama and West Virginia. Source: WLBT The state ranks 48th on jobs for people with disabilities, ahead of states like Alabama and West Virginia. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

As the economy improves, so are job opportunities for Mississippi's disabled.

New data reports thousands of new jobs are available for residents who, time after time, are not given the chance to compete in the workforce. 

"Often times, you know, they turn you away because they assume that you can't physically carry out the task," said Mario Henderson, a Spina Bifida sufferer.

The 33-year-old is wheelchair bound and began looking for work right after high school, but the Jackson resident frequently struggled to find a job.

National non-profit Respect Ability reports that according to new statistics, Mississippians with disabilities gained 4,739 jobs from 2015 to 2016.

In 2016 there were 258,824 people with disabilities, 76,078 were employed. 

"It says to us that we are finally accepting you guys as equals and for us it's an advantage and it's definitely a win for our team because we are equal, and we are more than able to do what everybody else does," said Henderson.

For over a year, the Jackson State University student has been a receptionist and input data specialist with Life of Mississippi or Living Independence for Everyone.

The non-profit works with the disabled to transition from assisted living facilities and other locations to their own homes, offering skills training, peer support, self advocacy and equipment not covered under Medicaid.

Mississippi has a 29.4 percent unemployment rate among the disabled.

In 2014, Governor Phil Bryant encouraged state agencies to remove barriers slowing down the job hunting process for the disabled.

"It's a privilege for me to be able to say that I pay taxes. Everyone doesn't get that opportunity," added Henderson. "Most people are like 'Aw we've got to pay taxes', but we had to fight for the right to be considered employees."

The state ranks 48th on jobs for people with disabilities, ahead of states like Alabama and West Virginia.

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