October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This year’s theme is Advancing Access and Equity. 2023 is particularly exciting because it also commemorates 50 years since the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. What we’ve learned since then is that an inclusive workforce is a better and stronger workforce; and this is a triumph for employers, people with disabilities, and the community.
Tracing back to 1945, NDEAM honors the many contributions of individuals living with disabilities have made to the employment landscape, the nation’s economy, and the whole of society. Led by the US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, NDEAM serves to educate the public regarding:
ADDITIONAL RESOURCE: Low-cost assistive technology for people with disabilities
ALSO is a premier service provider for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We are dedicated to assisting the people we support in reaching their full potential in employment, education, and community integration. Our person-centered approach honors the unique career goals and aspirations of each individual. ALSO direct support professionals (DSPs) and employment specialists work collaboratively to match employers with qualified applicants that fit business requirements and company culture.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCE: ALSO Employment Services Throughout Oregon
The people that we support at ALSO are often incredibly reliable. When jobs are a good fit, many want to work with the same employer and at the same job for as long as possible. During the pandemic, employers truly felt the importance of having staff with these qualities.
Employers can trust that ALSO DSPs, job coaches, and employment specialists do everything possible to ensure a good employee-employer match that benefits all parties.
The WOTC is a federal government program that provides tax credits for hiring individuals of certain groups that have historically experienced significant barriers to competitive employment. This includes individuals with various types of disabilities that are receiving vocational rehabilitation services.
As business owners (as well as consumers), the value of customer satisfaction is well-known. But did you know that workplace diversity is a major factor in improving customer satisfaction?
Employees coming from diverse backgrounds, including those with disabilities, are naturally more attuned to customer needs and values, thus creating an important competitive edge.
It’s easy to see how employing persons with disabilities make a positive impact on their financial independence and well-being. It’s important to note that inclusive hiring practices benefit all employees. Chaz Volavka, ALSO Employment Director, says it well:
“We often hear that hiring employees with disabilities has improved the company culture. They are recognized as valuable contributors. Through enthusiasm and pride, they cultivate strong co-worker relationships, communicate purpose and passion, and are reliable. They have a sense of purpose and are thriving in their community.”
We love the idea of employers embracing our Mission. Here’s how public, non-profit, and private sector employers can continue the forward momentum of competitive employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities:
So, why is it important to celebrate NDEAM? Essentially, it’s a WIN-WIN for everyone involved, including both the employer and employees with disabilities.
“When an employer hires someone with disabilities it is a symbiotic relationship that benefits both parties.”
-Lindsay Meadows, ALSO Administrative and Events Manager
Partner with ALSO today to carry on the NDEAM theme of Advancing Access and Equity.
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