People with disabilities as a minority population are perhaps the most diverse minority on planet Earth. We come from every other population of people despite any other form of social identification. The skills and abilities we possess are just as diverse, covering nearly every field of endeavor you can imagine. Despite these impressive attributes, people with disabilities still experience the highest rate of unemployment in America, facing challenges on a daily basis our nondisabled counterparts in society do not.
Basic accommodation is a challenge people with disabilities face in the workplace. The needs we have are almost always very basic and inexpensive ones, yet some employers continue to believe the accommodations a person with disabilities needs are expensive. Basic things such as an accessible desk or chair, a clear path to the place where a person will work, or other minor workplace environment changes that are inexpensive accommodations can find an employer with a dedicated employee with a disability.
Taking the needs of an employee with disabilities into consideration is important for an employer to do. Employers who recognize that it may take a little additional time and support for an employee with disabilities to explain the challenges they face, learn how those challenges might affect them in their work efforts, and to create new skills to accommodate those challenges will find their employee with disabilities performing well, or perhaps out-performing, other employees who do not experience a form of disability.
In fact, a survey done in Australia in relation to employers who hired employees with disabilities found the cost of accommodating the workplace for them was neutral; a mere four-percent of workers with disabilities of working age needed adjustments to their work environment. A number of companies were able to reduce costs by hiring workers with disabilities! The survey discovered that the average cost of recruiting an employee with a disability is thirteen-percent under the cost of recruiting an employee who is nondisabled. It would appear there are some American employers who have a lot to learn.
Introducing people with disabilities into the workplace and allowing them to both meet and work with experience employees can not only help them feel welcome; it presents them with the potential to learn from experienced employees. Employers need to find ways to permit workers with disabilities to transition comfortably into working environments. Part-time or casual positions at a company or organization can assist workers with disabilities to find the accommodations they need and adapt to their working environments. These types of positions also help employers to learn about workers with disabilities and the challenges we face as individuals.
Temporary and short-term job positions give employers the chance to learn about the extent to which disabilities affect a worker’s productivity on a daily basis. The positions present ways for workers with disabilities to build experience in the workplace while demonstrating their skills and abilities to employers at the same time. Outsourcing has the potential to give employers the experiences and skills of workers with disabilities whose challenges might present direct barriers to regular employment.
Hiring workers with disabilities can help employers to overcome the challenges related to finding skilled workers; again – people with disabilities are the most diverse minority population on the planet. Through hiring workers with disabilities, employers have the ability to access a population of employees who many times remain unrecognized. There are a large number of highly-talented workers with disabilities in all sectors who have very strong skills and abilities. Workers with disabilities are often undiscovered due to an imbalanced focus on the barriers we face instead of our work capabilities. Some employers still do not recognize workers with disabilities for our skills and abilities, instead viewing our challenges - a huge mistake.
People who experience a wide range of disabilities do work on a regular daily basis, developing life skills and successfully dealing with challenges while achieving independence. Employers have the ability to assist workers with disabilities by helping us to use the individual skills we have in relation to daily living to become efficient workers. Through consideration of us for employment, employers gain the ability to balance their views of us. Employers have the ability to aid our transition into the workplace while recognizing our skills and abilities. Employers have the ability to introduce workers with disabilities and our talents into the workforce.