August 28, 2019
In today’s tight job market, it’s not as easy to hire and
retain quality people as it once was. It’s definitely a “seller’s market,” as
they say in real estate. While this should mean more opportunities for
job seekers with intellectual and developmental disabilities, in many cases,
employers still won’t look their way.
There are a few common reasons. Here’s why each one
doesn’t hold water.
“They won’t show up on time.” A job creator may look
at a person with a disability and think they will not be reliable, or will have
too many medical appointments. But in our experience, we’ve found that most are
serious about their jobs and about bettering themselves. Working together with
their job coaches, like the ones at Bethesda, they find ways to make sure tardiness
or absence is not an issue. It can be as simple as finding the right alarm
clock or getting reminders from Alexa.
“They’ll need to much help.” It’s true that people
with a disability may need some assistance to get going, either more hands-on
training or some physical help. For example, a restaurant worker might need a
special knife for food prep or an alternate stool or chair to sit on if needed.
But once trained, they will work – hard. Plus, funds for accommodations may be
available through state Divisions of Vocational Rehabilitation and Medicaid
waivers, so cost to the employer may not be an issue at all.
“They won’t be around long.” We’ve found that more
than 90 percent of people we support in Colorado are still placed after three
years. They are happy doing what they’re doing, so they stay. We support
individuals who have been employed with the same company for more than 15
years. Some have grown in their positions and remain
happy and fulfilled. In addition, we have also split a full-time position and
the employer gained two loyal part time employees.
“It doesn’t matter to our customers.” Oh, it does
matter. Organizations that employ individuals with intellectual or
developmental disabilities are looked upon more favorably than ones that don’t.
According to one study, more than 80% of the public would rather do business
with a disability friendly employer. Plus, being open to people with
disabilities in a public way attracts another potential customer group – people
“It doesn’t help our bottom line.” According to a recent study, companies who actively employ people with disabilities are more profitable than those who don’t. 28% more profitable, in fact. They include companies like Bank of America, which recently hired 300 people with intellectual disabilities to create a customer support team, and companies like Microsoft, which has implemented a hiring and training program aimed at supporting people with autism. So take a chance on someone with an intellectual or developmental disability. It’s not a risk, and there will be plenty of reward!