University graduates with disabilities: a regional study on the transition from higher education into employment in times of an aging workforce.
Looking at the employment situation of university graduates with disabilities in Germany, a lack of inclusion can be detected (Federal Employment Agency, 2011). Even the economic upturn in 2010 that lead to improvements for other university graduates, did not have an effect on the employment situation of graduates with disabilities. That contradicts the requirements of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. By signing the convention Germany agreed to promote autonomy, ensure accessibility as well as equal opportunities and work for full and effective inclusion in all areas of society, including education (Article 24) and work and employment (Article 27). What are the barriers that hinder the transition process from higher education into employment for university graduates with a disability and cause a deficit in equal opportunities? This study is the first to explore the state of inclusion on the first job market and the transition process in the Cologne-Bonn region from several perspectives. Disabled graduates, agencies and services that support the transition as well as employers are asked to describe barriers and opportunities from their point of view to identify urgent needs for action. Regional supportive structures concerning the qualification of university graduates with disabilities and their transition to the labor market are identified and compared to structures in other countries. Examples for best practice are collected.