Module 1: Hiring People with Disabilities - Good Business Sense
Topic: Challenges to Employment
It's important to understand some of the challenges people with disabilities face when seeking employment. First, let's look at the facts.
- In 2011, the unemployment rate was 9.7% for people without a disability. However, unemployment for people with disabilities was 13.6%. This figure represents people already in the workforce who are unemployed. This doesn't take into account the number of people who actually want to work but can't find employment. With that factored in, national averages for unemployment of people with disabilities have ranged from 40-70%.
- In terms of earning power, people with disabilities who work typically earn 30% less than people without disabilities
- For graduates of four-year colleges, the employment rate, for both men and women without disabilities, is 89.9%. For college graduates with disabilities, the employment rate is 50.6%.
Statistically, you can see that there is a variance in the number of people with and without disabilities in the workplace.
Topic: Potential Barriers to Seeking Employment
Now let's look at some of the potential barriers a person with a disability might face when seeking employment.
- A tight job market is even tougher for people with disabilities.
- Employer attitudes and misconceptions about hiring people with disabilities
- Social stigma, especially for certain hidden disabilities, like psychiatric disorders
- Lack of workplace accommodations
- An individual's attitude and awareness about his or her disability
- Functional limitations resulting from a disability
- Lack of education, job skills, or experience
- Lack of or inadequate workforce services
- Lack of financial resources
- Lack of a support system
- Lack of transportation, especially in rural areas
Topic: Myths and Facts about Hiring Employees with Disabilities
People with disabilities often encounter common fears and misconceptions held by employers and human resource professionals. Review each of the commonly held myths about employees with disabilities to reveal the true facts and statistics about this group of employees.
- Myth #1: Performance and Attendance: People with disabilities can't do the job well or have poor attendance.
- Fact for Myth #1: Research and employers have reported that attendance and punctuality of employees with disabilities exceeded the norm. Also, motivation, work quality, and job tenure was as good or better when compared to employees without disabilities.
- Myth #2: Reasonable Accommodations: Accommodating a person with disability will be expensive!
- Fact for Myth #2: Seventy-five percent of people with disabilities, or three in four, don't need any type of accommodation on the job, and for those that do, eighty percent of those accommodations cost under $500.
- Myth #3: Litigation: People with disabilities often seek legal action against employers and can never be fired.
- Fact for Myth #3: Most workers with disabilities seek compromises and negotiate for accommodations; they litigate less than employees without disabilities.
- Myth #4: Insurance Rates: Business insurance rates increase as a result of hiring people with disabilities.
- Fact for Myth #4: Business insurance rates are based solely on the relative hazards of an operation and the organization's accident experience, not on whether workers have disabilities.
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