People with disabilities are almost three times more likely to live in poverty than people without disabilities. The disabled with jobs has remained steady at 35% for roughly twenty years. Employers complain about employees who don’t care about their jobs, and yet there is a vast resource of workers who are ready, willing, anxious, determined . . . and able . . . just looking for an opportunity.

Non-disabled workers have an employment rate of 78%. Nancy Starnes, vice president and chief of staff at the National Organization on Disability, speaking from her background of helping people with disabilities find employment, says, “I heard a lot of very, very disheartened people who were trying to look for work.”

Even disabled people who have strong resumes and degrees have a hard time finding employment. In a climate of mergers and downsizing, almost anyone may find themselves out of work. For the disabled this means an uphill battle.

There are very few business training videos that address the aspects of hiring the disabled, except for the legal aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act. But there are two training videos that both encourage the worker and inform employers. One is Disabilities in the Workplace: Working Out and the other is Making a Life: Opportunity, Not Disability.

“”For a person who has a disability, finding and maintaining a job and gaining acceptance at a company can be a difficult process. This program promotes the development of supportive employment within the community by following four very different individuals with disabilities as they meet their respective employment challenges. The program is designed to encourage people with disabilities to persevere in the workplace while helping non-disabled people to better understand the requirements of those who have special needs.”

Disabilities in the Workplace: Working Out

Quite often there are no accommodations that need to be made for disabled workers . . . just acceptance, which is sometimes the hardest to find. Many employers fear that there will be a high cost to accommodate disabled employees, but the average cost of accommodating the disabled is $500.00 or less (61%) and for many the cost is under a hundred dollars (29%).

“Jill is a special education teacher who works with children. She knows that disabilities do not automatically preclude people from reaching their potential-especially since she herself has a physical disability. People with disabilities are often regarded only in terms of what they can’t do, not what they can. This program looks at a variety of individuals with different disabilities who not only participate in their work and community, but thrive because they were given an opportunity. In this video, social workers, special education teachers, employers, and those challenged by ailment or accident discuss society’s preconceptions and how, when given the chance, people with disabilities rise to the challenges of life.”

Making a Life: Opportunity, Not Disability

There is an eager workforce waiting to be hired. That workforce features employees who’ve probably been looking for employment for ages. Once the disabled find employers they do extremely well because they want to not only keep their jobs, but they want to prove they can do the job . . . and do the job well. You can hire the disabled for an instant dedicated workforce. Now, isn’t that the dream of every human resources department?

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