Learn more about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities.
Did you know? October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)!
At SOAR365, we know that employees with disabilities are dedicated and valuable members of the workforce. And more and more businesses are learning this, too.
A 2018 report by Accenture found that businesses that prioritize disability hiring and inclusion perform better financially. And research shows that consumers prefer to buy from businesses that hire people with disabilities.
After COVID-19, the widespread adoption of remote work policies opened up a world of new employment possibilities for people with disabilities. Yet, in 2022, the labor force participation rate of people with disabilities (ages 16-64) was still just 37.8%, compared to 77.1% for people without disabilities. Similarly, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities remains twice as high as that for people without disabilities, at 8.2% compared to 3.5% (source: U.S. Department of Labor)
Even when people with disabilities can find employment, they may be underemployed, find themselves in a poorly fitting role, face barriers to accessibility and career growth, or be subject to discrimination. What can we do to help?
Within our Youth Services and Adult Day Support programs, SOAR365 prepares our participants for employment and build independence by offering:
- Career exploration and educational community outings
- Life skills, social skills, money management and job readiness training
- Career talks with local businesses and community members
- Work-based learning experiences
Supported Employment then picks up where these programs leave off. Supported Employment helps people with disabilities find competitive jobs in our community.
First, our employment specialists (or “job coaches”) help identify the right job for each program participant, based on an in-depth understanding of their unique strengths, talents and interests. They may visit different workplaces to try out jobs and find a good fit.
We then work with employers to give each employee the tools and coaching they need to succeed. Our job coaches will even work with employers to create customized job positions just for our program participants.
And we apply this same approach to supporting our Business Solutions employees with disabilities.
HOW WE HELP OUR EMPLOYEES
Business Solutions actively recruits employees with disabilities, and we currently have 95 employed across our four different services: Administrative Services, Assembly & Logistics, Janitorial & Custodial Services, and Landscaping & Grounds Maintenance. We know from experience that team members with disabilities are talented and driven. But like anyone, they sometimes need to find the right environment and supports that work for them.
As the Job Accommodation Network reports, these accommodations don’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, they found that most workplace accommodations cost nothing at all. Many of those that do have a one-time cost of about $300.
To help our employees succeed, our internal job coaches work to understand their specific strengths and challenges, and then tailor their job duties accordingly. They may provide on-the-job supports like visual schedules or role playing. Supervisors and managers may learn a bit of ASL or take the time to explain paperwork and directions verbally. These staff members also play a key role in helping everyone on the team understand disability etiquette and how to support their co-workers, with the help of specialized HR trainings
BENEFITS OF DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT
Recently, we’re happy to see more and more articles are popping up detailing the benefits of hiring people with disabilities (take two recent examples from Forbes and Harvard Business Review).At SOAR365, we’ve seen firsthand…
- The positive effect that hiring people with disabilities has on team-building and cooperation.
- The creative problem-solving abilities and insights of people with disabilities.
- The specialized skillsets that people with disabilities can bring to the workplace.
- The higher quality of work that results when people with disabilities are part of the team.
Including people with disabilities also allows us to work on government contracts through the AbilityOne program. Originally designed to provide employment for the blind, this program has expanded to include employees with significant disabilities. It encourages federal agencies to buy a certain percentage of their needed goods and services from employees with disabilities.
Hiring people with disabilities also creates a positive ripple effect throughout the community. Our Supported Employment partners have seen how hiring people with disabilities improves collaboration and comradery at their own businesses. And our commercial Business Solutions can feel good about hiring us to complete a job well done, knowing they are putting their values to work.
As this video for World Down Syndrome Day illustrates, when you hire one person with disabilities, it caninspire others to do so as well.
HOW TO HELP
So how can you help? Learn more about NDEAM and disability employment here. Donate to support SOAR365’s employment services programs. Volunteer to teach new skills or have a career chat with our Youth Services or Adult Day Support participants. Make sure to include disability in your company’s DEI efforts and onboarding training. Educate yourself on tax credits and best practices using JAN’s Workplace Accommodation Toolkit or by reading this article from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Start an employee resource group for employees with disabilities at your office. Share our NDEAM posts on social media.
To learn more about hiring Business Solutions for award-winning services or finding the right job candidate with disabilities for your business, contact us today!