The Business Side of Disability – PART 2

As part of our continued celebration of October being National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), this is PART 2 of our blog series showcasing the untapped workforce of job seekers with disabilities. In PART 1, we explored the overall value workers with disabilities can bring to your organization, but here we will be exploring how you can attract those employees to apply for open positions at your company.

How to Make Talent Recruitment Accessible

First things first, if someone doesn’t see your job posting, they won’t be able to apply for the position. Posting jobs on the internet may not be enough, as only one in four American adults with a disability report having access to high-speed internet. Try some print or radio postings. If you do post online, be sure to include large graphics and audio descriptions. Another sure-fire way to find a candidate, would be to reach out to community-based organizations like Easterseals or state agencies like the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, as they provide direct employment assistance to job seekers with disabilities. These groups can share your job posting directly with those they represent.

Volunteering or Recruiting?

There are few people who can claim the first job they started in is still the same job they are working today. We try out new jobs, see how they fit, and then move on when it doesn’t work out. That’s why Easterseals provides a Career Exploration Program for people with disabilities. It allows an individual to try out a job and gain first-hand experience about what working in this position is like. This only happens when a business allows Easterseals and their program participants on the job site to try it out. While the individual is there, a hiring manager can evaluate the potential employee to see if they can complete the job tasks as assigned. If it’s a “good fit” for both the business and the individual sampling the job, the business can choose to hire the participant. All of a sudden, a volunteer opportunity has turned into a recruitment opportunity. So a partnership with programs such as these could be a fantastic way to “try before you buy” when it comes to hiring employees with disabilities.

Market to Your Audience

Our final piece of advice surrounds your company’s marketing materials and overall brand presence. It has become standard practice for marketers to include diverse representation in their photo and video content. This most often manifests in showcasing individuals of various races, religions, and genders. What is often missing is representation of people with disabilities. If you feature photos and videos of your staff including people with disabilities, it sends a signal to job seekers that you may be an inclusive work environment. Perhaps show someone using sign language to communicate or show someone handing out a business card with raised braille lettering. These are subtle, yet effective indicators you are ready to speak with a job candidate with a disability.

There’s a labor shortage out there and there are high costs associated with recruitment and retention. To minimize these costs and start hiring from an untapped workforce, we encourage you to try out some of our aforementioned recruitment strategies. In PART 3 of this blog series, we will be focusing on how to make the workplace more accessible for people with disabilities.  

In the meantime, you can check out fascinating statistics and learn more at eastersealsnj.org/NDEAM 

The Business Side of Disability – PART I

Employment and Disability

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and in the spirit of the occasion, we decided to do something a little different with our blog…

Many times, we have written about employment and disability from the perspective of the job seeker. For this article we will be taking a different approach. Easterseals job coaches often go above and beyond providing individual job supports to our program participants. They visit businesses to speak with owners/managers to discuss how hiring an employee with a disability can help meet their staffing needs. Often hiring managers are unaware of the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, let alone that so many people are actively seeking work. That’s why we’re going to discuss why looking to the untapped workforce of people with disabilities to fill your next open position, makes good business sense.

Workers With Disabilities by the Numbers

Purely decorative graph

Unemployment has dropped to record levels, which has made it difficult for employers to find the right people for the open positions they desperately hope to fill. A perfect opportunity to look toward the 7.7% of New Jersey working-age (21-64) persons who identify as has having a disability. That’s approximately 700,000 people. 10.7% of those individuals were unemployed and actively seeking work. That’s 70,000+ individuals in New Jersey only who are looking to work for New Jersey businesses. Still, there is hesitancy for hiring managers to employee people with disabilities, evidenced by the 35.8% point employment gap between people with disabilities and those without.

There may be many reasons for this disparity, but the number one issue our job coaches have encountered is the stigma that still surrounds workers with disabilities. This stigma often stems from some commonly held misconceptions on the topic. So let’s address take a look at these issues here and now and learn more about why you should start hiring people with disabilities.

The More You Know

  1. Employees with disabilities are reliable, dedicated, and consistently are recorded as having impressive job performance, attendance records, and retention rates.
  2. It’s actually cost-effective to hire people with disabilities because benefits and insurance are sometimes covered by government programs, reducing your company’s overhead. You can also receive a tax credits for working with people with disabilities, helping to off-set any accommodation costs for providing accommodations for an employee.
  3. Employees with disabilities often qualify for training and support programs like those Easterseals provides. This means often the individual you are hiring is either already trained in their job task, or the training you would normally pay for, instead is provided by Easterseals rather than coming out of your budget.
  4. There is plenty of accessible technology available today which allows integration into the workplace possible. Everything from screen readers to accessible phone applications allow for many employees with disabilities to accomplish job tasks you may not have initially thought was possible for them.

These points may have dispelled some of the reservations you may have about hiring a person with a disability, but if you still have questions, let us know! Our workforce development team is always open to meeting with business leaders to discuss how we can work together to help solve your staffing issues.

Also, keep an eye out for our upcoming National Disability Employment Awareness Month highlights, coming this October.

Success Story: Mature Worker Goes From Unemployed to a Six-Figure Salary

Mature Workers

It’s a line we hear all too often from hucksters, schemers, and con-men:

“You can go from rags to riches by buying my book and learning my money making secrets!”

They make promises of earning a six-figure salary in 6 months if you give them your money and listen to their advice. We of course know these are scams. But what if I told you I had a story about someone who enrolled in an Easterseals New Jersey program, spent $0 to do so, and ended up leaving the program with a $100,000 salary for a 40/hr. a week job – in under six months? Would you believe me? You should.

Read moreSuccess Story: Mature Worker Goes From Unemployed to a Six-Figure Salary

Untapped Workforce? It’s Time to Start Hiring People with Disabilities

Untapped Workforce of People with Disabilities

People with Disabilities: The Untapped Workforce

In America today, we have a strong economy and unemployment is at an all-time-low. Companies are hiring, and have even expressed difficulty filling all their open positions. Now is the perfect time to start offering these employment opportunities to people with disabilities and special needs.

There is an unfounded misconception (emphasis on MISconception) that people with disabilities cannot work effectively.

Read moreUntapped Workforce? It’s Time to Start Hiring People with Disabilities

How Job Coaches Are Helping People Start Careers And Keep Them

A Professional Perspective Through the Eyes of Job Coach

The role of a job coach is more than just finding jobs for individuals with disabilities. A job coach (formally known as an Employment Specialist) provides a specialized type of mentorship intended to improve self-advocacy, employability skills, and work culture behavior. In short, we help people get jobs AND keep them. It’s one thing to land a job, it’s another entirely to maintain a high-level of work productivity that will lead to long-term employment and advancement. That’s why

Read moreHow Job Coaches Are Helping People Start Careers And Keep Them

Employment First In New Jersey – What’s It Mean and How Can It Help You?

Employment First - New Jersey Gets to Work

First Employment – Disability Second

Employment First - New JerseyIn April of 2012, Governor Chris Christie declared New Jersey an Employment First state. With this simple declaration, New Jersey became a part of a national movement that is “centered on the premise that all citizens, including individuals with significant disabilities, are capable of full participation in integrated employment and community life.” (Via Departement of Labor) This urges local publicly-financed systems to adjust their programs and policies to promote integrated, competitive employment opportunities for people with disabilities and special needs.

Phew. That was a lot of three-syllable-words.

In plain-speak though, what does it all mean? It means

Read moreEmployment First In New Jersey – What’s It Mean and How Can It Help You?

Employment and Disability: New Jersey at Work

Words having to do with employment

by Erin Jerome

Employment First for People with Disabilities

It has been four years since Governor Chris Christie announced New Jersey’s involvement with Employment First, a national movement aiming to make integrated employment a priority for people of all abilities. As new policies and programs are rolled out to make jobs more accessible, we are challenged to approach new opportunities with a marked change in philosophy: that people with disabilities

Read moreEmployment and Disability: New Jersey at Work

Transition to Graduation – What’s Next?

Three Paths Well Traveled

Transition woodland pathsSummer is almost here and as many students with disabilities are either graduating or seeing their peers graduate from high school they may be asking themselves, “What’s next?” That’s why we’ve asked Margaret Gilbride, JD, CT to be our guest blogger

Read moreTransition to Graduation – What’s Next?

The Greatest Thing about Having a Child with Special Needs

Eric Packages Items at the Work Center

A Proud Father Speaks About Special Needs

Last month, we spoke about different steps you could be taking to best manage your loved one’s disability. This month, we’d like to focus on the bond that forms between a parent and a child with special needs. That’s why we sat down with Harold Finkel, retired engineer, Easter Seals volunteer, and parent of a child with special needs to ask him about

Read moreThe Greatest Thing about Having a Child with Special Needs