Disability Employment Awareness Month
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month which is designed to reflect on the important role disability plays in workforce diversity. This year’s theme is #InclusionWorks. It’s goal is to educate about the value of a workforce that is diverse and includes people with disabilities. Hiring people with disabilities is good practice for businesses because people with disabilities possess key skills and talents that bring value to the business.
There is no one “cookie cutter” profile of someone with a disability. Some disabilities are more obvious and can be “seen,” whereas others are silent and not obvious to the naked eye. Having a disability often comes with having a “super power.” Where a person may have a deficit in one area, they can often more than make up for it in another.
Common disabilities and their “super powers”
ADD/ADHD – multitasking
Dyslexia – problem solving
Aspergers/Autism – attention to detail
Inclusion In the Workplace: takes some patience
One thing many people with disabilities have in common, especially when it comes to acquiring a work related skill, is a need for patience. Patience for them to process information, practice the skill, make adjustments or accommodations (as needed).
The benefit for businesses to hire someone with a disability, and train them properly, is that they will likely have someone who will remain with them for a long time. Less turnover means more profit. Also, having a diverse workplace is good for morale. People feel good when they see co-workers experiencing success.
If you are interested in hiring people with disabilities there are many resources available. Here are a few.
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Maine Medical Center’s Vocational Services (also check out their Summer Teen Employment Program and videos on their Destination Occupation page.
Maine Vocational and Rehabilitation Associates