Empower Abilities blog is about bringing awareness to disability-related issues.
Americans with disabilities can face many unnecessary barriers to employment. These barriers can prevent people with disabilities from finding and maintaining a job, receiving promotions, and ultimately being economically self-sufficient and independent.
Barriers to Employment:
Some of the stereotypes used to label people with disabilities persist in the mind of the public today. Incomplete information, mistaken perceptions, isolation, and segregation have perpetrated many of these stereotypes.
Employers tend to focus on the medical model of individuals with disabilities. This has negatively affected the way individuals with disabilities are treated when seeking employment. Labels should not define an individual’s ability. Every disability is different, and no one person has the same abilities. For example, if a person has a physical disability like cerebral palsy, there is no need for the interviewer to speak slow to the applicant. Individuals with disabilities are just living their lives just like everyone else.
Taking a Risk
Unfortunately, for many business owners, there is a level of skepticism and doubt that comes with the decision to hire a person or individuals with disabilities. This should be an opportunity for employers to learn and grow the workforce of companies. Employees with disabilities are beneficial in various ways:
· higher rates of retention, lower absenteeism, and good punctuality
· improved employer loyalty and commitment
· improving access to disabled customers
· improving staff relations and personnel practices
· improving the public image of the company as a fair and inclusive employer
· bringing additional skills to the business
Individuals with disabilities want to work and be productive members of society. For many people with disabilities, we fear the loss of our medical care, which is vital to keeping us active in our communities. Most individuals with disabilities receive Medicaid through Social Supplemental Income (SSI), which is income-based, and the number of hours worked each month. The guidelines restrict individuals from earning a livable wage.
As a result, COVID-19, employers are forced to adopt telework practices: working from home by using electronic devices and telecommunications. This is something that people with disabilities have known for some time: with the right accommodations, employees can be successful. Prior to the virus, our employment-to-population ratio for working-age individuals with disabilities was already high, yet it was only at 31 percent, against 75 percent for working-age individuals without disabilities.
Our society is starting to understand and change their way of how businesses operate. Hopefully, companies will see the advantages of working remotely, and empower possibilities for individuals with disabilities. Together we all can Educate, Advocate, and Empower individuals with disabilities.