Author: Deanna Genske Date: 09/25/2019

The Untapped Workforce of Individuals with Disabilities

Many people do not understand or stop to think much about the term disability. Disability is a natural part of the human experience, something that will affect the vast majority of us directly or indirectly at some point in our lives. When people with disabilities are not given opportunities for meaningful employment, the considerable talents and resources they have go untapped. If more people with disabilities are working, they will have more resources to contribute. Not only will they be making their own money, they will help their community flourish.

People with disabilities represent a talented, untapped labor market. As you seek to fill open positions, consider hiring qualified people with disabilities. When you hire a person with a disability, you’ll bring benefits to your company’s bottom line and benefits to your customers and community.

Most employers of people with disabilities report high work quality. A study conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity revealed that three out of four employers surveyed ranked their employees with disabilities as good or very good on work quality, motivation, engagement, integration with coworkers, dependability, and attendance.

Here are some other benefits of fostering an inclusive workforce: 

  1. It improves job morale and corporate culture. By hiring people with disabilities, you are adding highly motivated people to the workforce and promoting an inclusive culture.
  2. Productivity can increase. Employees with disabilities bring unique skills, experiences, and understanding that can enhance your products and services. A job means a great deal for any individual, but especially a person with a disability, as they face more barriers associated with job searching. This can translate into equal or higher job performance rates.
  3. Employee turnover may be reduced. Employees with disabilities are more likely to keep a longer tenure with a company, meaning your training and recruitment costs can be minimized.

A robust workforce includes people of all abilities. By integrating people with disabilities into your pool of employees, you’ll gain a competitive advantage, increase workplace diversity and productivity, improve your bottom line, have higher retention rates, and expand your market to new consumers. So what are you waiting for? Recruiting, hiring, retaining, and promoting people with disabilities is possible — and it benefits businesses of all sizes, across all industries.

In my area, Ascend Services, Inc. is an agency whose mission is to assist individuals with diverse needs with their employment goals.  There are similar agencies that provide these same services across the state. To learn more about agencies in your area, you can contact your local Aging and Disability Resource Center. 

Topics: Business Growth, General Business, Nonprofit


Written by Deanna Genske

Deanna Genske is the Executive Director for Ascend Services, Inc. and loves helping people with diverse abilities connect with the community to meet their social, educational and employment goals. She has spent the majority of her career working for Ascend, formerly known as Holiday House, gaining experiences in areas such as public speaking, fund development and community outreach. While serving as the Executive Director for Ascend is her primary function by day, Deanna also enjoys spending time with her family along with biking, rollerblading and kayaking.


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