Employees with Disabilities Make Good Business Sense

August 3, 2010

July 26, 2010 marked the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Act seeks to strike a balance between protections for individuals with disabilities and the obligations and requirements of employers.
As America begins to emerge from the recession, many businesses will find themselves struggling to find skilled workers. According to the report, Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, the U.S. will need 22 million new college degrees and 4.7 million new workers with postsecondary certificates. The report paints a grim picture: The United States will fall short of that goal by at least 3 million postsecondary degrees.
Meeting this challenge will require employers to target every sector of the labor market--including individuals with disabilities. There are more than 50 million qualified, highly motivated Americans with disabilities. These Americans represent an untapped resource. Furthermore, there are business reasons to hire individuals with disabilities. They are dependable and productive, and they have strong problem-solving skills, since they are constantly seeking out ways to perform tasks which others take for granted.
Many myths exist around the cost of reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities. Two-thirds of the accommodations cost less than $500 and nearly a quarter of them bear no costs at all. For larger accommodation expenses, there are tax incentives available to offset these one-time expenditures. Additionally, employers expect an increase in productivity not only from employees with disabilities, but from all your employees, as these changes often make their jobs easier, too.
Hiring workers with disabilities is not just good--it’s good business. For more information about services to assist employers, please visit one of the ten regional disability business technical assistance centers or the Job Accommodation Network.