Proposed S.C. bill seeks to give more employment opportunities to those with disabilities

Updated: Dec. 28, 2019 at 12:21 PM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Thousands of people in Horry County have been diagnosed with some form of autism or other disability, and it’s not always easy for them to find a job.

A proposed bill that was recently filed, however, aims to give them more job opportunities.

The bill, which was filed this month by two South Carolina state representatives, aims to create more employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Across the state, there are more than 720,000 people with disabilities. The employment rate for this part of the population is the sixth worst in the nation, with 67 percent of people with a disability being unemployed.

The proposed bill would give tax incentives to businesses across the state and a commission would be formed to help guide businesses, along with the government, on how to support people working with disabilities.

The proposed bill is expected to be heard by state lawmakers sometime after the legislative session begins in January.

Kevin Andrews, the owner of Good Day Café in Myrtle Beach, said days are made even better by the people working there.

"Ever since we opened, our mission and our goal was to hire individuals with special needs so they could be a part of the community and they are a part of the community," Andrews said.

Andrews’ wife works as a special education teacher, so when they started looking for people to serve the meals at the restaurant, they knew where to start.

“When young kids go through school, they get a lot of support but then when they’re 18, 19, 20 and they’re out of high school and the structured curriculum and the structured help isn’t there for them, well what do they do?“ Andrews said. “They’re still adults. They still want to work. They still want to earn their own money. They still have goals, aspirations and dreams, and I think businesses should hire them so they can fulfill their dreams.”

Becky Large, the director of the Champion Autism Network, has a son who worked at Good Day Café. She said the proposed bill is a step in the right direction, but there’s still a lot of work to be done across the county and the state.

“It’s not a tidal wave, it’s a tsunami and it’s really something that we aren’t prepared for,” Large said. “So anything that can be done and the sooner that it can be done, the better.”

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