Stephanie Dwilson

Differently Abled Recruitment Is a Win-Win — Here’s Where to Start

Differently abled recruitment is an untapped resource for many business owners. Knowing where to find a diverse workforce, though, can be challenging. Employment networks play a big role in filling the gap between disability and employment that many candidates face.

Here’s a look at why the differently abled workforce is so valuable — and how your business can find the all-star employees that it might otherwise miss.

A Diverse Workforce Just Makes Good Business Sense

Simply put, there’s a strong business case for having a diverse workforce that includes differently abled employees. A quarter of adults live with a disability, including mobility (such as walking), cognition (such as memory or concentration), hearing, vision, independent living or self-care (such as dressing alone.)

Companies that excel in hiring differently abled employees tend to have 28% higher revenue and 30% higher profit margins, according to a four-year study. On top of that, the differently abled employment pool has nearly twice as much unemployed, untapped talent. In February 2020, the unemployment rate for adult men with a disability (ages 16 to 64) was 9.8%, compared with 4% for men without a disability. The unemployment rate for adult women with a disability was 7.4% compared to 3.3% for those without.

Additionally, if a former employee leaves because of a medical condition, re-hiring that person later might save $1,886 in hiring and training costs. In some cases, employers who hire differently abled workers might also be eligible for a Work Opportunity Tax Credit.

How Employment Networks Can Help

Employment networks can be a rich resource for businesses looking to hire differently abled employees. These networks work with Ticket to Work, a program through the Social Security Administration, to help people with disabilities find jobs. They complete much of the paperwork and research for businesses. My Employment Options is one such employment network. The organization screens clients to match a business’s job descriptions so that employers find the best candidates possible. The organization also hosts national job fairs online. You can see a full list of employment networks in your region here. Just change the location to your city and you’ll see a list of nearby networks.

Other Ways to Reach Out to People With Disabilities

Employment networks aren’t the only resource that businesses can use to find differently abled employees. The Campaign for Disability Employment lists numerous resources for employers, including state vocational rehabilitation agencies, the Veterans Employment Center and the Workforce Development Board. The Centers for Independent Living and Associations, for example, comprise nonprofit agencies where 51% of the staff and Board of Directors are people with disabilities — your local branch could be a great pathway to finding applicants. A national nonprofit called Disability:IN also has local affiliates around the country with a mission of advocating inclusion. For an easy first step, contact a local organization; let them know that you are interested in hiring differently abled employees and increasing the diversity of your workforce.

Not only does focusing on differently abled recruitment make sound business sense, but it can also help your company find productive, talented new employees to add to their workforce. If you’ve been overlooking this talent pool, casting your eye toward differently abled applicants can be one way to establish company values that make a difference and develop a successful, productive workforce.

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