When it comes to hiring in the workplace, diversity is a rather easy area to measure. It’s not difficult to make goals and measure metrics to assure the Human Resources recruiters are hitting various targets.
On the other hand, measuring inclusion is far more difficult. In a sense, the only way to truly measure inclusion is by starting to have conversations with various teams at your company. From management down, ask questions and not only listen to answers, but create strategies to integrate new ideas for inclusionary practices into your company’s culture.
Asking these questions could include personal 1:1 meetings with teams and managers, managers sending out micro surveys to their teams, or by a companywide annual employee survey asking employees to share their opinions anonymously. Yes, you’ll have to ask the hard questions… so be ready to read what could be harsh responses. However, employee feedback is the only way to truly gauge if your company is doing its role to be part of the DEI solution, rather than adding to the problem.
Welcome to PART 3 of our Business Side of Disability blog series. If you’ve missed PART 1 and PART 2, please give them a read, but it’s not necessary to understand this article. In those blogs, we discussed recruitment strategies and the benefits employees with disabilities bring to an organization. Now, we will be discussing how you can make your workplace more accessible by exploring technology and workplace accommodations.
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.
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
Unemployment has dropped to record levels, which has made it
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
The More You Know
Employees with disabilities are reliable, dedicated, and consistently are recorded as having impressive job performance, attendance records, and retention rates.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
In 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
The subject of employment for people with disabilities took the national stage on September 21, 2016 when the democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, reached out to voters with disabilities in a campaign speech in Orlando, Florida.
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