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Channel 15 now presents a voter's pipeline a program designed to keep voters in touch with the people they elect to office. The program alternates each week in dialogues with Orange County elected officials in Washington. Sacramento county government and with personalities in Orange County discussing local issues. Today's program is entitled faces and issues and centers on the issue of the handicapped and employment. Now here's your host John Cooper. Both by law in every sense of decency and morality it's clear that handicapped people should have the chance to work if they want to. Yet handicapped people and the experts who work with them all agree that one of the biggest problems of handicapped people is chronic unemployment. Many handicapped people who are fully qualified by training motivation and ability to do a job have found that the doors are shut to them after they've repeatedly tried to get those jobs. Today we've invited experts including the
California State Department of Rehabilitation communication chief to talk with local handicapped people. Right here in our studio about this problem today is a guest in the studio audience include those handicapped in hearing sight and many other physical disabilities yet they all have in common the motivation training and ability to hold a job. We're going to ask them to share through their questions and their answers some of their comments about this important problem. And now let's meet our special guests Hugh March's communications chief of the California State Department of Rehabilitation. It's the largest operation of its kind in the country. There are approximately twenty four hundred employees located in 160 field offices throughout the state. The department serves over 100000 handicapped people with an annual budget of one hundred and ten million dollars. Tom Davis is manager of employment an equal opportunity program to Disneyland he's on the Board of Governors of the Orange County governors committee for employment of the handicapped and he's also on the board of directors as an officer of the Orange
County Mental Health Association. Brenda primo has been the director of the Dale McIntosh Center for the disabled in Garden Grove since its inception in November 1977. She's a graduate of California State University Long Beach. Brenda has been almost totally blind since birth. Paul cotton will act as interpreter for the hearing impaired. He's director of the disabled students program at Golden West college at Huntington Beach Calif. Mr. Carson has been a consultant in the stablish in post-secondary programs for the Deaf in California and elsewhere. And for the benefit of our viewing audience as well as our audience here Paul called in to the man in the corner of your screen. Paul I'd like to ask you to tell exactly how you will refer the questions back to us. That may come from the hearing handicap. The Deaf people in the audience will stand or sit and convey their questions or comments in sign language. And then I will interpret those questions or comments into English and when other people speak in English
I will convey that message in sign language. Thank you very much Paul a fine teacher and a very nice person with whom we've had great cooperation on this program. I think I'd like to start with you. Hugh why is it that handicapped people who are qualified and motivated and protected by laws that said that they are supposed to be no discrimination against handicapped people still find doors closed to them. How would you deal with that question. Well Jim I think that one of the. I think one of the real problems we have is the issue of. A I guess we have to call them attitudinal barriers. We're all familiar with the kinds of. Physical barriers that we run into all the time but I think the most difficult barriers to deal with are really attitudinal barriers for a long time people with disabilities. Have been looked upon as being unable or not able to handle jobs and we know that that is simply not true. And certainly the motivation skills are all
there but the old attitudes that see us as not being able among most the most difficult to overcome. One of the figures that. A jolting figure to most people in our audience our viewing audience is a two hundred seven thousand people in Orange County have one kind of handicap or another about 12 percent of our entire population. And I would believe the question is of that population how many of those and dealing on the state question on this about handicapped people. How many of those really are finding difficulty getting jobs. What percentage of those who really want a job are being discriminated against for no other reason than simply that they're handicapped. Well it's very difficult to say because as you know by law now. Section 5 0 3 of the 1970 Vocational Rehabilitation Act specifically prohibits any discrimination against people with disabilities where employment is concerned because of the disability. Employers sometimes find other reasons for
discriminating but they can only reasons that the bases there are actually some phony reasons however I think it's really a lack of. A lack of familiarity with the problem a lack of education about what is really available and what people disabilities can do. But I don't know it's it's not as I say one of the things to really be specific about because it's it's like saying if you stop beating your wife you answer what would you get would you answer this. From your perspective you think the problem is better now than it was say 10 or 15 years ago. Absolutely it's not actually about that I guess I still have a long way to go Jim. But. There's no question about the fact that people are their consciousness is going up all the time. Tom what about that employer didn't you land where you have people working under you who are. Handicapped people. What's your experience. Well. I experience as an employee a good qualified handicapped people has been very
good. I think that you know you know instead of responding to the first question that you asked him about you know what are some of the barriers or some of the problems with employing the handicapped I think that the major problem is one of understanding you know what you know what is a handicapped person because I think most employees have in their minds some sort of thought that if you deal with handicapped people you're talking about people who have no abilities whatsoever and that you're going to hire someone who is totally incapacitated and who is unable to do the normal work that's required. I think one of the biggest barriers that prevent a handicapped person is from permeating the structures that employers have set up just to screen people in and out of their organizations is really the culprit because I think that those systems have been designed and developed. Screening people who have who have no noticeable disability. And and I think that you know you know when you couple that with added to the problem of the lack of understanding is that you really have a real problem in the
employment area. If you go shoot me those employers who have had experiences with the handicapped and who and who are legitimately concerned about employing them based upon my communications with others as well as using our own experience as an example it's been very good and very good when you have a handicapped person and you have a job and a handicapped person apply for it. Do you treat that person any differently than anyone else. As far as his ability to do the job. Well first off I think that what we have to do is say yes to people are treated a little differently in some respects. And it's and of course it starts with an issue you know prescreening processes that we've done at Disneyland in order to. To make sure that the screening systems that we have established Don't don't screen out those qualified people who are able to work. And and is that we first and send them through you know a different a different process and we have established a different medical or medical examination procedure that make sure those people get through and that we screen in on their abilities rather than disability. Once those people go to work obviously you have to be concerned about
what it is that you know the nature of the disability because it's as if it's one in the area of ambulation you certainly would want to put that always in a position when that's required. I mean I mean given the fact that they're able to do the job given the fact that they're able to do the job there's no difference at all. They're no different than they're treating you know I hope at the example that you had dependability on the job their absenteeism rate how would you say how would you describe that's been excellent I mean that's better than those individuals who have no disability because one of the you know one of the I hope the employers hear you say that one of the I think our experience has been is that. Is that once a handicapped person is hired they are in fact good employees. There is no absentee or whatever form it canno you Johm percent no job performance problems whatsoever. Most of the folks that I've had experience with would have been several hundred are glad to have the position. And of course you know they are with us too and they realize that it's difficult to find a position once they
get one they do everything they can to hang onto it and so expense has been good with the people and the other thing I'd like to say before we move on is that you know the other experience I've had with handicapped people is that they are very realistic in terms of what they can and can't do because most of them do realize what their limitations are and seek jobs that fit within their own capabilities. The frustrating thing is when they are motivated they are trained and that's a job for which they are fully qualified to do it and still can't get it and that's a frustration I'd like to ask you about and that you had that you sent that have not had it. Yes and I think that yes I think the first thing that I need to save as an introduction is the first problem comes up and we see handicapped people. There are people with disabilities the disability is one component and the reason the disabled people or people with disabilities don't get jobs is the first thing that is seen is the wheelchair or the lack of hearing or the lack of vision instead of the architect of the plan or the abilities that are there. That's the first problem and many people who go into jobs with
disabilities are stopped right before they can even say Hey I have my credentials I have my training to do whatever it is. Also even with people who have good attitudes about quote handicapped people usually stereotype what a handicapped person is that is if I were to ask an average population what do you think of as a handicap person. Some people will think of only people in wheelchairs or only blind people only deaf people. And so they say oh no that that people in wheelchairs aren't disabled but you asked them to hire a blind person and they wouldn't do it. And they stereotype those people into jobs for example. They make assumptions non-disabled people make assumptions about what disabled people with particular disabilities can do for example all people know that blind people can't sign. Right. Oh you're having a beautiful job. Therefore blind people can't communicate with deaf people. Right. That's an assumption made by non-disabled people about what disabled people can do. And that's one of the big problems with employment. Blind people are supposed to
tune pianos. People in wheelchairs are supposed to do assembly deaf people are supposed to be printers. So when a person goes into a job that or is qualified for a job that isn't in the stereotype kind of positions they have real problems getting it. Have you got any horror stories that you can tell us just to share one typical page without mentioning any names of the person. Well I have to decide which horror story I want to tell them in the book that the kind of person you just are tied to thriving. OK I have a very close friend who happens to be happens to be hearing impaired has a credential a certificate certificate in counseling. Now we all know that deaf people can't counsel. So this individual went into applying where I made that rule. Yeah well this individual when I had been counseling for 20 years although that person couldn't do that this individual went in to apply for a job in the county. We won't name the county and went in for the physical and always physically a very healthy person except that they were deaf and immediately walked in the doctor began to ask questions and the individual says I'm sorry I'm deaf you'll have to write oh my god you're
deaf you can't drive. I beg your pardon. I've been driving for 20 years. How do you take counsel I've been doing that for 20 years too. I communicate you know this is the kind of interaction that went on between the physician and the counselor who by the way had been working part time at the job already. What happened. The doctor said that the individual's going to have to sign away but they wouldn't drive. That's like asking you know for 20 years this person said no I will not do that but you do what you have to do with this particular individual. Isn't your average quiet withdrawn in person in terms of his rights so he just said OK I'll sue you. And that sort of got the doctor to thinking about it went to his supervisor and said that that sort of made the doctor think second thoughts about not hiring deaf people. And that's that's an example of your stories that you're finding that the driver didn't get the individual did definitely get the job. Yes but I was going to get it. All right let's take some questions from the audience at this time now. We would like to have any of you asked questions by the way I had another big figure here but I'm not going to go into it except this
is a study that I'm holding in my hand and I would be glad to send it to any employers who are listening to it. Taken by the DuPont in Morris County which hired 110000 people that indicates the accident rate is much better among handicapped people who are employees than non-handicapped. The absentee the absenteeism is much lower for handicapped and other people so it's a very very good report and I decided to send this to any employers who would like to see that kind of statistics backing it up. I want to ask some questions. Let's have a question from the audience about any of our panelists. Yes. How much exploitation of the Handicapped is I'm not talking about the token individuals how much but exploitation could I ask you what you mean by exploitation. Goodwill Industries it's been you know working for less than minimum wage. Is that actually places that have sheltered workshops. Yeah things like that is that exploitation of the
handicapped. How would you know if you have to answer that two ways. Yes there is exploitation of handicapped people many persons with disabilities get underpaid for the same work done get in the training get denied in one type of training program that pays a higher wage and gets forced into another training program has a lower wage. And that isn't to say that one particular program such as shelter workshops is necessarily always exploitive. But there are many that are and now disabled people are learning that they can appeal and can get out of these kinds of problems but it's kind of a communication problem of saying you have a right to go on to this kind of training program versus one just for handicapped people with lower wages. But again it takes some assertiveness on the behalf of the person themselves to take an active part in that process or anyone else with your question over here from this lady in the front in the wheelchair right here. OK. I think Mr. Davis. Yes. From Disneyland. I would like to know approximately how many people you have employed it is the land and what kinds of positions do they feel
people who with disabilities. All right well we have people with all kinds of disabilities working for Disney and. I think that you know you have to get back to you know what is you know you know what is a handicap according to my guest legal definition and of course you know in you know in section 5 0 3 of the of the 1973 Vocational Rehabilitation Act and in section 5 0 4 I would say Matthew where you find basically three definitions of handicapped people and those three definitions are now just covered rather briefly. Are those persons with substantial limitations to one of the vital life activities. That's for instance a person who has a military problems or is missing a hand or something like that who's lost their sight lost ability here lost ability to speak and so forth. We have quite a few people working in many different kinds of positions at you know at Disneyland. We have those who have some sort of up. Say medical history of
some sort that would be limiting in terms of their ability to seek and find employment you're talking about folks who have suffered nervous breakdowns your time but folks who have suffered a major operation of some sort like that those are also there as well. Then there are those who perceive which is the most difficult category of all to place people into. But we do have people employed in all three of those different categories Additionally and the other thing is that you have groups that are you know who have visible handicaps versus you know vs. invisible handicaps I'm sure that you probably heard a lot of talk about that. How many do you have working there last night. About on the last count we had someone a neighborhood of 400 different types of handicapped people working there out of how many total were we going to ask that question as I look at the workforce this morning at six thousand seven hundred three people on the payroll. So about 400 out of 60. Yeah it's over 400 but Exactly. Well we have people as ride operators merchandising host hostess dishwashers we have people
in management to reform managers of you know departments with you with major departmental responsibilities. We have people who are crafts persons and people who work in office positions and so forth. All right another question gentlemen. Back here with the what the flowered shirt there. Yes sir I would like to pose a question to the panel about the other 88 percent of the people who do not know what we are about. Yeah when we go to apply for a job and you know that we are good workers that are going Medically it cuts down the 88 percent of the other people when they come in they say well okay we're been our production been cut down because they said this person can produce more than I do. They come to the job more than I do so I would like the panel to identify handicapped people to the other 80 percent of the people because we keep sitting here fighting among ourselves just 12 percent and get nowhere. You mean to
define what categories there are handing out the fine handicap to the 88 percent of people where they will understand what a handicap is. All right want to deal with that. You know that's you know that's a Republican problem in the workforce and that goes back to the original response that he made and I made which is that there is a truth that there is a terrible lack of understanding in the workplace as to how useful and successful handicapped people can be because of this image problem that they have that Brenda expand upon about you know the various perceived problems that you might have or will run into with a handicapped person. I think that what employers have to do just as we do with all other areas where we want to improve our performance is to educate the workforce and of course I think that you can do that if you do it with the right intent. If you put the right kind of attention on the program to develop a program that totally communicates to the
employment for such as what their obligation is to do something about the problem not from a legal standpoint but also from a social standpoint as well. All right maybe we haven't fully answered but we do have a lot of other questions let's move a long time to do it. Would you take over the gentleman on the other side over here with the. It will come to you next. Let's hear it you might ask Mr. Marsh. There's been so many problems with the severely handicapped with Ed Roberts when he came into office and saying that he was going to do so much help for the severely handicapped because they couldn't get employment at all but yet a couple years later the counsellors themselves are limiting their clients and not helping him find employment at all when they know they can do the job they're telling him. Well we want you to do this kind of job but yet the handicapped person knows that they can do a different kind of job so they're not even trying to work with them in the job area that they know that they can do. Some of these cases sit by and go idle for
two years. So the person doesn't work and they get all built up thinking that they can become useful self-supporting people and then end up in deep depression because of this counselor putting them where they know that they can't function the same. It's the same one that sort of thing happens. As you know the department by law all rehabilitation it's by law have to deal at least with 50 percent of severely disabled folks. And the emphasis has been of course and said Roberts came in who is himself severely disabled on improving services to people with severe disabilities. Now. If if this is indeed a problem with the department there are a couple things you can do. We have an ombudsman program that will that allows a client a person who is receiving service from the department to call him to explain the situation. Say they want to get off center or ask for another concert there are several avenues that any client
has. If that client is unhappy with the service they're getting. And I would be glad to explain those. After the show. All right let's take the question for this gentleman right here. Yes you say that there are job problems because of insurance company. Very frequently blames the insurance for example a deaf person going to work I go into a job to get a job and they say Why no the insurance would cost too much. And I go through work experience and really there's no difference between me and the other person. They really don't have to pay a higher insurance rate as you do want to me I'd like to just comment you know specifically that it is not true that insurance rates to go up was a matter of time because of the better attendance lower accident rate. If anything it could go down. I've never heard of insurance rates going down hardly anywhere but. They certainly don't don't make them go up and if that is the case then ask your employer or ask the Department of
Rehabilitation or the Bill McIntyre Center to explain what the facts are because that's simply not true. I think it would be appropriate we have two phone numbers to give you and we hope people will write down the phone number of people in our viewing audience and I'm now getting ready to give those two phone numbers that we have the first is the California Department of Rehabilitation office in Anaheim. 6 3 5. 5 5 0 0 0 6 3 5 5 5 0 0 0. You can call it with the kind of question that you have for action the second number that you can call is the Dale McIntosh center. For the disabled in Garden Grove which is 7 1 4 8 9 8 9 5 7 1 8 9 8 9 5 7 1 and that kind of a question is one that they could deal with let's take the gentleman over here with the white suit. Yes sir. First yes sir without affecting the monies are receiving from the state. I'm sorry didn't you mean you can't just say the person
is working and not affect the money. Who can answer that well I'll answer it this way. There's just been a new law passed by the state that is up the amount and if you want the exact amount if you call the center we have the ombudsman program for Orange County commercial for State Dept. of rehab and if you call that number we can not only give you the amount but what kind to be directions you can have what kinds of programs and what the different kinds of supplemental income differences are in how much you can make and where you can work and so forth. Thank you. I think just essentially to expand on that slightly. In this state because of two laws that were passed last year and the year before AB nine twenty two twenty eight 90 you can go to work if you lose your if you lose your SSI which is 340 month you can still retain your homemaker benefits and your medical in this state the only state where that can happen. And the other question yes or let's take the gentleman who was a checker chair in the front. Yes I'd like to
address this to Brenda mainly Brenda I think. It seems that we're dealing with a lot of labels too and for instance if I went into an employer with my guide dog immediately be labeled blind when actually a low vision and do have a little bit. But if I went in without my guide dog they'd just him in application. My question is how do we get around these labels I don't run the life I answer that two ways one through education into learning how to use them. If I'm going in to go for a job I'm visually impaired if I need benefits I'm legally blind. Really you have to learn not only what it is that you need but how to educate the employer or the person you're going to work with with what you can and cannot do. He's not going to know unless you were in the interview or in the screening process can say you know I think that you know part of the problem is that I think it had to be an internal educational process that has to take place with the employer first before you before you would be would be received as you should with your you know
particular disability I think that you can only go so far in telling the employer what that is and having him to be receptive to what the employee has to make the change first and then I think that you can a system by that education process then bam and you have a question over here. Over the question. OK. My big concern is when I saw the legislation 5 0 3 5 0 for the affirmative action legislation that went on the federal government. Program that said you know no more discrimination I think a lot of disabled people saw that as you know the great hope OK we have a chance to actually make an impact. Work with employers and have some affirmative action clout. But all I've seen is it is a further frustration when the federal government doesn't even back the program. There's such a waiting list for ongoing complaints. And I just don't see that is any hope for the disabled I just don't I don't see that as what it was meant to be. The language is ambiguous. Things are thrown around like reasonable accommodation. And I'm very concerned
about legislation being passed maybe in the state maybe a little bit more teeth in the federal legislation because I see major employers that are having federal contracts that are not even abiding by it in the federal government doesn't come in and step in and do anything about very quickly because we're just about out of time and that's a very light has to be made. And and the process unfortunately it's about is quite long we're in a period of transition. I think it is getting better it's serious slow and sometimes you'd like to kill the system. But it is beginning to change. And without those laws I don't think there'd be any change at all. OK and they can they can take action under the law too if there is a place of discrimination absolutely individuals and individuals can. On that note I want to thank our guests for coming on and sharing with us a program that could we could live gone on for an hour and this unfortunately we don't have that time. Jim thank you. Good to be here appreciate all of your coming down and we will be glad to stay and continue this discussion all in as we go along. Next week I'll be on the same program dealing with the problem of the people who are in the desperate plight
of heroin addiction then we'll look at the methadone program. I'm Jim Cooper. Thanks for being with us.
Voter's Pipeline
Faces and Issues: The Handicapped & Employment
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PBS SoCal (Costa Mesa, California)
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Episode Description
In this episode of Voter's Pipeline the issue of people with disabilities not being able to get jobs is discussed.
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Voter's Pipeline is a talk show hosted by Jim Cooper and featuring conversations with politicians and experts about local and state politics.
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Guest: Davis, Tom
Guest: Marsh, Hugh
Guest: Premo, Brenda
Host: Cooper, Jim
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Chicago: “Voter's Pipeline; Faces and Issues: The Handicapped & Employment,” 1979-04-19, PBS SoCal, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 13, 2024,
MLA: “Voter's Pipeline; Faces and Issues: The Handicapped & Employment.” 1979-04-19. PBS SoCal, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 13, 2024. <>.
APA: Voter's Pipeline; Faces and Issues: The Handicapped & Employment. Boston, MA: PBS SoCal, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from