Employment Resources and Statistics

Looking at the Numbers

The National Statistics

We have work to do.

Nationally, people with disabilities are unemployed in much higher numbers than people without disabilities. In 2020, just 17.9 percent of people with disabilities were employed compared to 61.8 percent of those who do not have disabilities (Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics-2020, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor). 

And those numbers only reveal a part of the story. Unemployment statistics reflect the number of people who once worked and aren't currently working. But only those who are actively seeking employment are counted. Many people with disabilities--even though they would like to work--have never been employed. Many who have worked have given up continuing to seek employment for reasons that could include a lack of on-the-job supports, transportation challenges, or a fear of losing health care or other benefits. 

19%were in "sheltered employment" (refers to facility-based employment where workers are often paid "by the piece" or less than minimum wage).

22%were in an individual job.

31%were participating in non-employment day services.

Working, Community, and Access: Data from Indiana Service Providers

How do working-age adults with disabilities spend their day in Indiana? What types of work are they doing? How much money are they earning, and how many hours are they working? Who do they interact with? The Day and Employment Services Outcomes Systems Report (DESOS) answers these and other questions about the types of work or alternatives to work people with disabilities are engaged in throughout Indiana. DESOS is compiled by the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community for the Indiana Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services and the state's Family and Social Services Administration.

For more information on DESOS and this report, contact Teresa Grossi at tgrossi@indiana.edu.

View the report


The Good News

We have work to do, but there is hope. 

  • Indiana is now an Employment First state, which means that competitive integrated employment should be the first and preferred outcome for all Indiana job seekers, regardless of disability or support needs.
  • Students with disabilities who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) receive supports during their transition years to help them understand their options for competitive integrated employment (e.g., Pre-Employment Transition Services).
  • More large and small employers throughout the state are recognizing the value of hiring a diverse workforce. 
  • Workers who have disabilities now have access to work incentives and options (e.g., ABLE Accounts, Individualized Development Accounts) that help them earn and save money without losing health care and other services and supports.

More Information and Resources

Selected resources and information highlighted here are just a few of those available to job seekers and workers with disabilities, their families, and the professionals around the state supporting them. See also the Resources tab in the navigation bar located at the top of the page. 

Hoosier Orientation Handbook on Supported Employment-- a guide to employment services and supports for Indiana employment specialists and consultants. Center on Community Living and Careers, 2017.

Working with Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation -- a short video illustrating the VR application, eligibility, and referral process. Also available in Spanish! Indiana Servicios de Rehabilitacion Vocational.

Social Security and Other Work Incentives--fact sheets explaining programs from Social Security and other agencies to help workers with disabilities keep their jobs while maintaining necessary services and supports. 

Looking for Local Employment Resources?

FINDER is Indiana's newest disability resource search wizard. If you're searching for what's available in your community--or throughout the state--you can look for a specific resource, search by topic, or see what's available in your ZIP code. 

Indiana Disability Resource FINDER