Finding jobs not easy for diabled in Fort Worth

Michael Blazek, an out-of-work financial analyst who's visually impaired, has one way to confront hiring managers' questions about whether he can do the job. He brings his tools to the interview.

Small enough to fit in his suit pockets, they include a magnifying glass, a monocular he uses to look at projections on a wall and an electronic magnifier that can blow up images 16 times. He also has a laptop with a magnifying program and closed-caption TV technology that allows him to work on spreadsheets.

"The company will not have to pay for anything," said Blazek, 47, of Irving, who nearly two years ago lost his job at a major telecommunications company after more than 20 years of moving up the ladder there.

The questions of how well they can perform and what accommodations employers might have to make are big elephants in the room for disabled job-seekers, but they aren’t the only issues. While the downturn might be easing, it’s worse for job-seekers with disabilities than just about any other segment of the work force. An estimated 13.8 percent of disabled job-seekers were unemployed in December, nearly 4 points higher than the work force overall, federal data showed.

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