Employing People with Disabilities

It’s a new year and with that comes a sense of starting fresh, especially when it comes to my job of helping to employ people with disabilities or barriers to finding employment. Towards the end of last year a lot of my participants began to get discouraged because December tends to be a low month for hiring due to the holiday season. Now, with the New Year, however, they have a more positive attitude and we are all looking forward to what 2013 will bring.

When it comes to employing individuals with disabilities there are some things that I feel employers and participants should be aware of in order to better market themselves in the competitive workforce. Employers are sometimes hesitant to hire people with disabilities because they worry the costs will outweigh the benefits, but they find that the opposite is more often true. There is normally a much lower turnover rate and a more loyal workforce among people with disabilities. In addition, employers can receive what is called the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.

If the individual is represented by the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) there is also On The Job Training dollars available in which DRS pays for the first few weeks of that individuals training. Many employers that have hired people with disabilities have commented that the biggest benefit is the enthusiasm they bring to the job. I personally think this is a great statement. Seeing the effort that the people I work with put into finding a job makes them that more determined to succeed once they overcome their barriers. What more dedication could an employer want?

The hard part isn’t having the drive to find a job; it’s often having the confidence to put yourself out there, especially when you are a person with a disability that has the knowledge of what you can provide to employers. Don’t be afraid to stand out this year.

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