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Workplace & Employment

interns with Senator Tom Harkin, Yoshiko Dart, and former AAPD president Andy Imparato
AAPD interns with Senator Tom Harkin, Yoshiko Dart, and former AAPD president Andy Imparato

Employment opportunity means economic self-sufficiency and independence. AAPD is committed to improving employment outcomes for the many people with disabilities who are not working but are ready, willing and able to work.  

We promote legislation and policy that promotes opportunities for people with disabilities, partner with employers to improve business practices and develop mentoring programs, and offer career opportunities to students and recent graduates with disabilities.

Over 10% percent of people of disabilities are unemployed, almost double the rate of unemployment among people without disabilities.


AAPD works to eradicate discrimination against people with disabilities by advocating for vigorous enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and including employment opportunities for people with disabilities in job creation measures and federal investments. LEARN MORE

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014

With the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Congress has reauthorized the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), including the Rehabilitation Act, through 2020.

What does this 300-page legislation mean for people with disabilities? Major highlights include:

  • A much larger role for public vocational rehabilitation (VR) as people with disabilities make the transition from school to adult life.
  • Efforts intended to limit the use of sub-minimum wage.
  • Required agreements between state VR systems and state Medicaid systems, and state intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) agencies.
  • Enhanced roles and requirements for the general workforce system and One-Stop Career Centers in meeting the needs of people with disabilities. 

For more information about WIOA’s changes, visit the Department of Labor fact sheet here.


Internships are invaluable professional development tools and can open doors that education alone cannot. In the best programs, interns receive hands-on work experience and mentoring, which prepare them to succeed in the workforce. Read about AAPD’s summer internship program, in-house internships, and internship coalition here.


AAPD is a collaborative partner on Cornell University’s Work-Life Balance Study at the Employment and Disability Institute. This field-initiated research project is designed to explore the intersection of work and life for employed individuals with disabilities, in order to inform individuals with disabilities, employers and disability service professionals about effective policies and practices that can be utilized to improve and enhance employment and work-life outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

AAPD also partners with the University of New Hampshire on their Annual Compendium on Disability Statistics and Research to Policy Roundtable. LEARN MORE.  

Disability Mentoring Day

Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) is a large-scale national effort coordinated by AAPD to promote career development for students and job-seekers with disabilities through hands-on career exploration and ongoing mentoring relationships. LEARN MORE

Campaign for Disability Employment

AAPD has partnered with the United States Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, other disability organizations, and business organizations "to promote positive employment outcome for people with disabilities." LEARN MORE

Disability Equality Index

AAPD and the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) have partnered to establish a national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices for disability employment inclusion and accessibility. LEARN MORE

Latest News

AAPD Principles and Policy Priorities

Are you a professional with a disability seeking promotional opportunities or a recent college graduate seeking to put your education to work?

Bender Consulting Services has 20 years of experience aligning companies and federal agencies with professionals with disabilities in a variety of competitive career fields across the United States.

Learn more: WORD | PDF

Visit to apply.

One Size Does Not Fit All: A New Look at the Labor Force Participation of People with Disabilities

This brief from the American Institutes for Research casts new light on a perennial problem: the one-third of people with disabilities who haven’t sought work or stopped trying to find it.

The American Association of People with Disabilities:

Promoting equal opportunity, economic power, independent living and political participation for people with disabilities.

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