The National Disability Employment Month Programming continues with another focus on hiring people with disabilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), during the beginning pandemic, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities increased from 7.3% to 12.6%, as compared to a jump from 4.4% to 7.9% for those without a disability. Over two years later, people with disabilities are still finding challenges to employment. Employers must expand to hire more people with disabilities and as we find out below it may even benefit them.
Hiring people with disabilities is not just the right thing to do, it could have benefits to corporations. According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study, companies with the most inclusive workplaces for employees with disabilities experienced nearly 30% higher revenues and greater economic profits. The Department of Labor found that employers who embraced disability saw a 90% increase in employee retention. According to an Accenture study, that was in partnership with the American Association of People with Disabilities and Disability: IN businesses that actively seek to employ people with disabilities outperform businesses that do not. Their revenues were 28% higher, net income was two times more, and profit margins were higher by 30%.
A common misconception of hiring people with disabilities is that most if not all people with disabilities need workplace accommodations. Only 14.5 employees with disabilities request workplace accommodations. Most accommodations cost absolutely nothing, and they may include providing forms and written materials in accessible formats during the hiring process, flexible work schedule or remote work opportunities, specialized equipment or software among common accommodations. There are two tax credits for employers who need to make structural changes to their offices to accommodate their employees. The Disabled Access Credit provides a non-refundable credit of up to $5,000 for small businesses that incur expenditures for the purpose of providing access to persons with disabilities. The Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction encourages businesses of any size to remove architectural and transportation barriers to the mobility of persons with disabilities. Businesses may claim a deduction of up to $15,000 a year for qualified expenses for items that normally must be capitalized.
A great way to improve the disability employment rate is to partner with organizations. The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) is a free, nationwide service that educates employers about effective strategies for recruiting, hiring, retaining and advancing people with disabilities. The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP) is a free resource that connects private businesses and federal agencies nationwide with qualified job candidates for temporary or permanent positions in various fields. Easterseals supports the development and advancement of people who are living with different types of disabilities, including expanding access to employment opportunities. Disability: IN is the leading nonprofit resource for business disability inclusion worldwide. Our network of over 400 corporations expands opportunities for people with disabilities across enterprises. Our central office and 25 Affiliates serve as the collective voice to effect change for people with disabilities in business.