More and more employers are hiring people with disabilities, says this article in the Chicago Tribune. “The tight labour market is pushing companies to open their eyes to this untapped pool of workers, who employers say are loyal, enthusiastic, and able to do the job as well as anyone — sometimes even better.”
Dan Strick, president and CEO of the social services agency New Star outside Chicago has seen an uptick in employers hiring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities over the past 18 months. He attributes this in part to the tight job market.
“Employers who we have tried to reach out to in the past who didn’t seem to have much interest, now that they are hurting, they are having a more open mind,” Mr. Strick said. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate in the U.S. for people with disabilities remains double the rate for people without, and two-thirds of working-age disabled adults are not in the labour force at all, meaning they’re neither working nor looking.
Some of the progress is coming from large companies that are turning to people with disabilities to fill a range of jobs. Walgreens is well-known for hiring people with intellectual disabilities to work in its distribution centres. “It started out as something that was kind of socially responsible, but really turned into a high-productivity initiative, because these folks stay longer, don’t miss work, and retention of these employees is higher than folks without disabilities,” said Carlos Cubia, Walgreens Chief Diversity Officer. “It’s really helped the bottom line in a number of ways.”
The feature article gives many more examples of employers successfully employing people with disabilities. Read the full article in the Chicago Tribune here.