Every year during the month of October, it is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This is designed to raise awareness about disability employment issues and celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities. About 56 million people in America are disabled. 84 percent of them are unemployed. This makes them the largest group of minorities in the nation as well as the largest untapped pool of talented people. The numbers are mind boggling, considering the mounting body of research to illustrate the positive relationship between diversity, inclusion and business performance.
An organization named Deloitte found out that diversity and inclusion practices have made teams more effective. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce collected data from companies, and these companies reported that consolidating disability into their diversity and inclusion practices results in a positive effect on their bottom line. The Disabilities and Inclusion study stated that “by understanding…employees with disabilities, companies are able to unlock enormous potential.” Sixty-two percent of employees with disabilities have disabilities that are invisible. This means that no one can tell that they have a disability upon meeting them. People with disabilities are motivated, dedicated, and productive, as well as eager to work and contribute. Also, they are qualified and capable. Ninety percent of 811 employees with disabilities have rated average or better in job performance.
Companies have reported that employees with disabilities have superior retention rates which decreases the high cost of turnover. Hiring people with disabilities has a positive impact on a company’s workforce, customer base and the community. The disability community represents a trillion-dollar market segment. Hiring people with disabilities means that the employers will be able to test proposed marketing tactics among people with disabilities. It can improve job morale and corporate culture. People enduring greater conflict can have a positive influence on those enduring lesser conflict. This can help encourage employees to be more empathetic towards people undergoing hardships, including the employer’s customers. A company’s productivity can increase as well. By bringing people with disabilities into their company, they can bring unique skills, experiences and understandings that can enhance their products and services.
Employees with disabilities are usually happy to work on creative solutions with the employer regarding accommodations or restructuring of job hours. According to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal contractors can hire seven percent of people with disabilities. Some employers of people with disabilities can qualify for tax credits and other companies may obtain tax incentives by making their businesses more accessible.
About Zoe Hernandez: Zoe lives in Meriden, Connecticut. A Quantum® brand ambassador, Zoe attends Abilities Expos and speaks with people about her disability. She is currently enrolled in college and hopes to work in a community one day with people who are just like her. Click here to learn more about Zoe.