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New International Report on Using AI to Support People with Disability in the Labor Market

Recognizing that individuals with disabilities face ongoing difficulties in the employment market, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently released a report on “Using AI to support people with disability in the labour market.” Although AI, “if managed poorly, could further exacerbate these challenges,” its use can potentially create more inclusive and accommodating work environments and could help to reduce barriers faced by people with disabilities. Moreover, the impact of AI in terms of labor market accessibility “could be transformative.” AI can expedite change by addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities, in different scenarios, simultaneously and cost effectively. Making best use of technology comes with its own challenges, however. These include inadequate funding for research and development, difficulties attracting AI talent to the field, and a lack of accessibility training among technology developers. Looking ahead, stakeholders surveyed and developed the report call for governments to do more to address “the risks of AI for people with disability” and to “call on governments to implement policies explicitly outlawing uses of AI that result in discrimination against people with disability.” This extensive report features sections on: “Evaluating the potential” to examine whether AI can foster employment of people with disability; “From development to user adoption,” citing challenges to AI support workers with disabilities; and  considering the role for governments in “Seizing the potential” and addressing risks. Nathan Cunningham, Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), and Bill Curtis-Davidson, Co-Director of the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) contributed their expertise to the publication. To read the full report, visit the OECD Publishing webpage on Using AI to Support People with Disability in the Labour Market: Opportunities and challenges.