The number of people with intellectual disability working in the open labour market has declined from 8,595 in 2003-04 to 4,695 in 2013-14. This is a decline from 16.3% to 7.9% of adults with intellectual disability who receive support from disability support services in Australia.
If we are to improve open employment outcomes for people with intellectual disability we need to expand and replicate support that demonstrates successful rates of open employment outcomes.
The DES evaluation specifically noted the need for specialist services to help people with significant intellectual disability achieve open employment outcomes. The evaluation report noted that if expectations are raised, outcomes will follow, only if individuals are provided with the right type of support.
An increase in the open employment participate rates of people with intellectual disability can provide the Commonwealth with significant savings in welfare expenditure and from more expensive alternative adult programs (i.e. day programs and supported employment).