August16,2011

Enhance Your Workforce & Save Money by Hiring People with Disabilities

By Guest Blogger Cecelia Taylor, U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Communications and Public Liaison

Are you looking for smart, talented employees? Are you interested in new ways to find potential hires? Do you want to save your business money through hiring incentives?

If so, you should consider recruiting and hiring people with disabilities!

Employing Individuals with Disabilities

There are many Americans with disabilities who are not currently employed, but have the skills and experience necessary to succeed. For information on the benefits of hiring from this often overlooked talent pool, read the Business Case for Hiring People with Disabilities. You can also find success stories on Disability.gov, as well as case studies of companies who have benefitted from hiring people with disabilities.

Reasonable Accommodations

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities, unless it would cause undue hardship. A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way a job is performed that enables a person with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.

Studies have shown that the costs associated with making these accommodations are often less than expected, and the benefits of employing people with disabilities far outweigh the expense. According to the Job Accommodation Network, 56 percent of accommodations cost absolutely nothing. For more information about reasonable accommodations, visit the Employer Resources section on Disability.gov.

State Programs

Many state governments provide resources or programs for people with disabilities and their employers. Massachusetts’ Employing People with Disabilities portal is an example of a specialized state program. Visit your state’s labor agency to learn more about available services in your area. 

Tax Incentives

Federal and state tax incentives for businesses are part of the many benefits of hiring people with disabilities. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a federal tax incentive for businesses that hire employees from 12 target groups, including Veterans and certain people with disabilities.

To learn more about tax incentives related to hiring people with disabilities, read SBA’s Hiring People with Disabilities guide or visit Disability.gov’s Tax Incentives section.

Additional Resources for Employers:  

  • ODEP’s Add Us In initiative works to identify and develop strategies to increase employment opportunities within the small business community for individuals with disabilities.
  • The U.S. Department of Educations’ vocational rehabilitation (VR) program operates 80 state VR agencies that provide rehabilitation counseling and comprehensive and individualized employment services for eligible individuals with disabilities.
  • The Job Accommodation Network (JAN), is the leading source of free, expert and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues.
  • The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) helps employers find qualified college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are looking for summer and full-time job opportunities.
  • The Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) “What Can YOU Do?” initiative is a nationwide effort to educate employers about how the talents and abilities of people with disabilities can positively impact businesses, both financially and organizationally.
  • The Think Beyond the Label campaign offers information on why employing people with disabilities is beneficial for businesses.

Cecelia Taylor is a public affairs specialist for the National Press Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. She is responsible for assisting in the development and implementation of communications strategies to ensure the SBA’s mission, programs, services and initiatives are articulated to the small business community and to the public. Ms. Taylor also serves the interest of small businesses by promoting the agency’s Entrepreneurial Development programs and services.

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