Lt. Gov. Brian Calley says the state needs to do more to help people with disabilities get good jobs.
A new report released on Monday shows many Michiganders with disabilities are all but forced into menial jobs, some of which pay less than the minimum wage. That is legal if an employer gets a waiver from the federal government, and advocates say only Washington can change that practice.
But Calley says the state can do more to prepare people with disabilities for better jobs. He says it has already made a lot of progress improving other services for the disabled.
“But when it comes to employment, this is where we need the most dramatic shift in attitude of all of these different areas,” said Calley.
“We are not talking about charity here. We are talking about people that have something important and valuable and productive to add to our community and to our economy, to Michigan.”
Calley is the father of a child with a disability. He says he knows from personal experience how perceptions can limit their opportunities.
“The message that you hear loud and clear from a whole, very wide group of professionals is to temper your expectations of the future, to hold back or to change or to modify or to just essentially give up on some of those hopes and dreams that you’d have for your child because now you understand that you have a child with a disability,” said Calley.
He says he is looking at a number of ways to improve those job opportunities, but he says he is not yet ready to make any specific proposals.