How many Hispanic workers with disabilities are in skilled trade professions?
A core goal of the Biden-Harris administration’s Good Jobs Initiative is to increase equitable pathways to good jobs in infrastructure for underrepresented groups, including women, people of color and individuals with disabilities. Many infrastructure jobs, such as those in skilled trade professions, have training requirements that are shorter than a typical four-year degree program, allowing quicker entry into the workforce.
To gain a better understanding of how many disabled Hispanic individuals are currently working in skilled trade professions, we analyzed the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data for 2017 through 2021. The industry codes are derived from the Standard Occupational Classification System (SOC), which is a federal statistical standard that is used to group workers into different occupations based on job titles.
Of the approximately 5.1 million Hispanic adults aged 16 and older with disabilities, about 1,410,000 are currently employed, and of these disabled workers an estimated 430,000 (or 30.5%) are working in skilled trade professions. This compares to 32.2% of non-disabled Hispanic workers in skilled trades professions, or 21.9% of all workers. Skilled trade jobs are critical for maintaining everyday infrastructure and include the following major occupation groups:
- Farming, Fishing and Forestry
- Construction and Extraction
- Installation, Maintenance and Repair
- Transportation and Material Moving
Data highlight: Among Hispanic workers with disabilities, 30.5% are working in skilled trade professions, of which the largest proportion are working in Transportation at 35%.
Data highlight: Women make up slightly over one-fifth (20.4%) of the 430,000 Hispanic workers with disabilities working in skilled trades, a proportion that is consistent across different age groups.
Data highlight: About one-fourth (26%) of Hispanic workers with disabilities in skilled trades professions report having multiple disabilities. For Hispanic workers reporting only one type of disability, the most prevalent type is vision disability (21%).
Data highlight: A detailed look at the distribution of skilled trade professions across industry of employer, using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), shows that most Hispanic workers with disabilities in skilled trade professions are employed in the Construction, Manufacturing, Retail & Wholesale Trade and Transportation industries.
Data highlight: Hispanic workers with disabilities in both Construction/Extraction/Agriculture occupations and Repair/ Installation/Maintenance occupations have higher earnings than Hispanic workers without disabilities in the same occupational categories. Note: These data include employees who are full-time (usually worked at least 35 hours per week), worked at least 50 weeks in the last year, and have positive earnings.
Data highlight: Across all occupational categories, including both skilled trade and non-trade categories, Non-Hispanic White workers with disabilities have higher mean wages than Hispanic workers with disabilities. Note: These data include employees who are full-time (usually worked at least 35 hours per week), worked at least 50 weeks in the last year, and have positive earnings.
*Tests of statistical significance were conducted using a 95% level of confidence.
David Rosenblum is a senior economist and Felix Wu is an intern and Industrial-Organizational Psychology Ph.D. candidate at Rice University, in the department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.