by Kathy Kirchoff
Many people with disabilities want to work, but are concerned about the likelihood of being hired. They may feel they are labeled or hindered due to their disability, accessibility issues, or lack training and education. But times are changing.
Many Minnesota companies are hiring people with disabilities. They are looking beyond labels and myths and seeing that persons with disabilities have the capacity to be dedicated and loyal employees. These companies also realize that the public looks favorably on companies with fair employment policies. Hiring people with disabilities is good for business.
Companies must make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities to do their jobs. Generally, these aren’t expensive, and firms receive compensation and tax credits to do so. Persons with disabilities have rights against discrimination during the hiring process and employment. If they can do the job with or without reasonable accommodations, they have an equal chance at getting and keeping the job.
It makes good sense for businesses to hire people with disabilities to compensate for retiring baby boomers. The United States Department of Education reports that 2.3 million emerging college students have disabilities. These students are an untapped talent resource, and may be an employment wave of the future. Like any employee, people with disabilities can achieve self-fulfillment and independence while enhancing the workplace with their own unique backgrounds and perspectives.