As the U.S. continues to pull itself out of the recession, the unemployment rate among adults with disabilities remains at 14.1 percent — nearly twice as high as the unemployment rate of people without disabilities, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. During October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago encourages employers in both the private and public sectors to strengthen their workforces by hiring qualified people with disabilities.
Employing Americans with disabilities is not about charity. Most employers report no cost or very low costs when making workplace accommodations for people with disabilities. According to the Job Accommodation Network, 58 percent of employers said accommodations needed by employees and job applicants with disabilities cost absolutely nothing. Additionally, those employers who make accommodations for employees with disabilities report multiple benefits including employee retention, increased worker productivity, ultimately cost savings due to reduced turnover.
For more than 110 years, Goodwill has helped people navigate the challenges they face when seeking employment, including disabilities, lack of education or work experience, and other factors that make it difficult for someone to gain employment and build a career. Goodwill staff members work with people to develop their employment skills, including résumé writing, job interview practice, job search help, and more. People with disabilities can receive a number of services through Goodwill including access to assistive technology, soft skills training, health care, occupational therapy, transportation, and other accommodations that may be needed to perform their jobs. In addition, Goodwill trains people to work in a variety of high-growth industries outside of Goodwill such as computer programming, construction, financial services, health care, and many others.Held each October, the U.S. Department of Labor commemorates National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) to raise awareness about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. Goodwill stands with the U.S. Department of Labor and encourages companies and organizations to build more inclusive business cultures that value diversity and encourage leaders to recruit, hire, retain and advance qualified individuals with disabilities, which in the end will benefit everyone.