disability-employment-policy-speech

Hillary Clinton embraces advocate Anastasia Somoza, who introduced her before her disability employment policy speech.

Hillary Clinton became the first presidential candidate ever to give a policy speech focused on disability issues when she spoke about her plan to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Here is the transcript to her Sept. 21 speech.

“In America every person no matter what you look like, who you are, who you love, you should have the chance to go as far as your hard work and dreams will take you,” said Clinton in her speech. “That is the basic bargain that made our country great and it’s our job to make sure it’s there for you and future generations. Building an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top, is the central challenge of our time.”

Her speech outlined these three major points:

1. A focus on jobs and incomes, and especially closing the loophole that allows certain businesses or nonprofits to pay people with disabilities subminimum wage.

2. Making colleges and universities more accessible for people with disabilities.

3. Encouraging partnerships with businesses to hire and retain employees with disabilities.

Becky Ogle

Becky Ogle via this Storify.

“Why are so many people with disabilities unemployed?” asked Becky Ogle. “Rampant discrimination,” she answered — “and I think Hillary is going to take that head on and will appoint people who can make a difference and give them the leeway to do so.”

Ogle, who has spina bifida, served as the executive director of the Presidential Task Force on the Employment of Adults with Disabilities, which operated from 1998 to 2001. In her current position with the Department of Labor, Ogle is working to change the law allowing people with disabilities to be paid subminimum wages in certain circumstances.

“I think Hillary will create some sort of government-wide council made up of CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies. Once and for all, she’ll hold these companies accountable to hire people with disabilities in good jobs,” says Ogle, who has worked on Democratic campaigns in the past.

Andy Imparato appreciated Clinton’s inclusion of the need for accessible colleges in a push for employment opportunities. “She hit on an important issue, and we’ve not seen the level of leadership from the executive branch that we need,” says Imparato, executive director at Association of University Centers on Disabilities. “If I were writing a college accessibility platform, I’d have a White House summit on it and frame it as opening up higher education for students with disabilities, including first generation students.”

Watch the speech here: