Transportation remains a barrier for employees of SC companies phasing out subminimum wage

  • Date: 04/19/2024

When Barrett Counterman was looking for a job, he kept running into the same problem: He didn’t know how he would get to work.

Eventually, Counterman, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, found a job at Able South Carolina’s Rock Hill branch mentoring others with disabilities. Coworkers drive him to work every day. That job was a lucky break, he said.

Most employers require reliable transportation. But he can’t drive and can’t depend on public transportation or a rideshare service being available.

“Not everyone is willing to take someone with a disability somewhere,” Counterman told the SC Daily Gazette after speaking Tuesday at the annual Advocacy Day for Access & Independence at the Statehouse.

Transportation is a major barrier standing in the way of people with disabilities finding jobs. It’s also a big reason why there are 321 employees at seven private companies and two state-supported job centers still making less than minimum wage, as of the latest count in February. That is progress — down from 1,111 employees at 21 employers in September 2022.

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