The Power of Disability Employment: The Impact to Arizona’s Economy

Arizona’s working-age population (ages 16–64) of people with any type of disability (10.2%) who are working hovers around the national average (Erickson, Lee, & von Schrader, 2019). In addition, individuals with a disability in Arizona, as in the nation as a whole, are more likely to live in poverty (30.5% and 26.1% respectively). The Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (ADDPC) contracted with the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston to explore the economic impacts for Arizona of increasing the employment of individuals with disabilities and to analyze how the state can improve its efforts.1 To do so, ICI developed statistical models to measure the impact of greater inclusion of individuals with disabilities in Arizona’s workforce. Simultaneously, ICI conducted a comprehensive review and analysis of data on Arizona’s economy, disability demographics, and employment and other services for Arizonans with disabilities. The study found that increasing the number of workers with disabilities will positively impact Arizona’s economy, and that employment infrastructure for Arizonans with disabilities is consistently improving, but must be brought to scale.

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