In October, Americans observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month by paying tribute to the accomplishments of the men and women with disabilities whose work helps keep the nation's economy strong and by reaffirming their commitment to ensure equal opportunity for all citizens.
This effort to educate the public about the issues related to disability and employment began in 1945, when Congress enacted Public Law 176, declaring the first week of October each year as National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week. In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. Some 25 years later, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
This year’s theme is “Expect, Employ, Empower”.
According to the US Dept of Labor (http://www.dol.gov/odep/) as of September 2014, the percent of people currently in the labor force without disabilities is 68.5 %. For those with disabilities the number is much less, 20.1%. The current unemployment rate for those without disabilities is 5.5% and for those with disabilities it is 12.3%.
We can’t leave it up to the other guy or other agency to change these statistics. If nothing changes, nothing changes. There are many myths out there about hiring someone with a disability.
1) Employers will be forced to hire unqualified employees. FALSE.
2) Accommodations will cost too much. FALSE.
3) Employers cannot fire someone with a disability. FALSE.
Seek out the facts. Go to the United States Dept. of Labor’s website to see myths and facts of hiring people with disabilities. http://www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/fact/ada.htm
Talk to your boss or Human Resources Department. Offer information about the benefits of hiring someone with a disability.
www.irs.gov has information on the tax benefits for businesses who hire people with disabilities.
Besides the tax benefits:
· Hiring people with disabilities provides a larger talent pool, diversifies your staff and creativity, and improves your business image.
· Retention rates among people with disabilities are higher than average thus reducing training costs.
· People with disabilities are loyal customers to businesses who support them. People who make money, spend money! Their families and friends are then influenced by good business policies which affects your bottom line in a very good way!
These are just a few of the reasons why hiring people with disabilities just makes good sense. So don’t just sit back and watch, become a part of the change!