Providing opportunities for individuals based on their abilities, not on their disabilities, can not only enrich a business’s culture but also the community the business serves.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month, celebrated each October, advocates for employers of all sizes to actively participate in inclusive employment of individuals with any type of disability. You may have questions.
As an employer, what benefits are there to make my business inclusive? What questions can I ask and what can I not? Will the individual with a developmental disability that I hire be able to complete the tasks of the position? Where do I even start to make my business inclusive?
What individuals with a developmental disability bring to the table:
- High performance/productivity rate – Job performance for individuals with DD is rated average to above average. Local training programs like Easterseals, ACCESS and others equip individuals with DD with skills necessary for different positions in different industries and help with connecting employers with available, trained individuals.
- Sick leave and FMLA expenses tend to be lower – Individuals with DD use less sick time, reducing employer costs.
- Increase positive culture to workforce – Employees with DD bring added energy to a company with their competitiveness to perform at a high rate, which can in turn motivate employees without DD to increase their own performance. As employees with DD are sometimes are trained in groups, they are familiar with working as a team and can help instill being a team player among co-workers
- Lower employee turnover – Employees with a developmental disability are more likely to stay at a place of employment longer than those without a disability, which can reduce a business’s out-of-pocket expenses for recruitment and training of new employees.
Who’s doing it right:
Large corporations like Centene, Walmart, Walgreens and Sephora have seen amazing results from hiring individuals with developmental disabilities. In 2019, Walgreens was awarded for the third year in a row the 2019 Disability Equality Index, a national benchmarking tool utilized by Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities to review corporate policies and practices related to disability inclusion and workplace equality.
Local businesses like Taziki’s practice inclusive employment while also sourcing much of the produce from ACCESS Academy and Young Adult Campus that trains clients about horticulture and other real-life skills. Other restaurants, including Flavors and U.S. Pizza, employ individuals with DD.
Where do I sign up?
There are a few steps to take to help pave the way for your business to join the inclusive employer community. Organizations like Arkansas Employment First can connect you with toolkits, resources and partners to assist you on your journey. Visit https://dhs.arkansas.gov/dds/employment1stweb/#emp1-employers to learn more. You can also connect with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services’ Business Engagement team to find the right talent, right now. Visit https://arcareereducation.org/services/arkansas-rehabilitation-services/field-services and click on the Business Engagement tab or call 501-296-1665.
Visit our page on Competitive Integrated Employment for more information.