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October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Walking the Employment Talk

What do you think about, when you think of hiring a potential employee who has a disability? What if the next person who walked in the door to interview for a position in your company walked in using a white cane? Explained that they used a “screen magnifier” on their computer, or pulled out a handheld magnifier to read some of the documents you presented to them?

What would you think?

Might you wonder if they were capable of doing the advertised position? Would you worry about the liability in your workplace of someone with a vision impairment? Is there a quiet voice whispering in your ear, “It’s the right thing to do, hiring a person with a disability?

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and you might be surprised to learn that “walking the talk,” on hiring an employee who is blind, visually impaired, or who may have some other disability is one of the smartest things you can do for the bottom line of your business!

Sure, for many of us, the idea of offering a job or opportunity to someone with a disability, may conjure up all kinds of emotions—some of them very conflicting, and most of them based on misperceptions. Consider for a moment some of these facts:

    • Most workplace accommodations cost little or nothing. The average cost of a workplace accommodation is a one-time cost of less than $500  ($1.37 per day for the first year).
    • Research documents lower turn-over rates for employees with disabilities, higher safety records, and less time out of work due to accidents. 
    • Workers with disabilities are absent less often than co-workers according to studies at Dupont  and IT&T research.
    • Workplace innovation increases, research shows, with diversity among employees.
    • 92% of American consumers surveyed in 2005 viewed companies more favorably if their hiring included workers with a disability.

If you are just getting back into the workplace with a disability, there may be some misperceptions about your abilities, but all the data indicates you will e an asset to the business that hires you.

Employers, walking the talk, opening the door and welcoming a diverse workforce, one that includes individuals with disabilities, according to the research, is one of the smartest things you can do to boost your bottom line!

To check out the stats, try the Statistics page on the “Ability First” website or “The Benefits of Disability in the Workplace,” on the Forbes website.

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