The month of October is a time to recognize and celebrate how workers with a disability add to the strong and inclusive labor force here in America. NDEAM has been celebrated for more than 70 years and continues to be a driving force to the value of inclusion and disability awareness. This year’s theme is “America’s Workforce: Empowering All” which hints at how inclusion empowers the workforce and individuals as well.
So what does empower mean? According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the prefix, em, is to “put in or into, bring to a certain state” and power is the “ability to act or do.” So to empower is to help someone realize their ability and potential. And the way any group can be effective in empowering members is through inclusion. Inclusion is more than simply adding someone to a group, but also adding a layer of talents and skills that person has to benefit the group.
Being inclusive makes sense from a philosophical standpoint, but also benefits the “bottom line” with any organization. The following has been documented:
- Lower absenteeism rates have been found among people with disabilities
- Greater access to a broader talent pool with a diverse range of skills and perspectives
- Reduction in the existing employee’s fear of developing or acquiring a disability that will make them not able to work
- Improved customer service due to increased understanding of how to communicate with people that have disabilities in the community
- Improved brand reputation. 92 percent of U.S. citizens view companies with disability recruitment strategies as favorable
As we celebrate NDEAM this October, the Workforce Solutions Navigators will set up resource tables at several Workforce solutions career office locations to provide additional information and resources to staff and job candidates. The information will include best practices concerning employment assistance to those with a disability as well as understanding accommodations and hiring practices for employers.
As we celebrate NDEAM during this month of October, the following link provides ideas on how YOU can get started with your organization: NDEAM campaign ideas.
David Spears is a member of the Workforce Solutions Navigator team for the Texas Gulf Coast Region. Combining training and education to real world examples, David brings personal and professional experience with disabilities to the table in order to help job seekers with disabilities realize their potential. David has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration with over 20 years of experience in the business world.