Employment Opportunity for All
Twenty-six years after the enactment of the Disabilities Act in 1990, people with disabilities are still largely under represented in the workforce. However, some big companies are creating programs to implement change.
According to The Economic Picture of the Disability Community Project, only 32 percent of people with a disability, who also were of working age, were employed in the period from 2010 to 2012. Many of the occupations that people with disabilities hold are low paying and while employment rates for people with disabilities do not vary significantly by gender, employment is extremely low for those who are black and have low levels of education.
Some companies are taking initiatives to implement this demographic of workers onto their payroll. Ford Motor Company, for example, recently launched a hands-on training program for people with autism. The program will create five new positions that will cater to the skills and capabilities of people with autism. According to Ford’s press release, the highly structured work requires a worker who is able to focus and has exceptional attention to detail, attributes that individuals with autism typically have.
From a business standpoint, hiring people with disabilities would be extremely beneficial to any company. Not only would the cost of the needed accommodations be low, but it would also be worth the expense. According to Exploring the Bottom Line: A Study of the Costs and Benefits of Workers with Disabilities by DePaul University, participants with disabilities had fewer scheduled absences and had nearly identical job performance ratings compared to those without disabilities across all sectors.
Another positive in hiring people with disabilities is that it diversifies the workplace; having an employee with disabilities in the mix with the rest of your employees has the potential to widen an organization’s customer base and stimulates innovation, not to mention it creates an appreciation for people with different talents and strengths.
If you are considering hiring employees with disabilities check out this website for local resources.