Workplace Initiative Weekly News Roundup: November 11, 2019

By Workplace Initiative
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Here are some highlights of this week’s news about disability inclusion in the workforce—and how you can use the information to make your company the best it can be.

What’s reported: Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg released his plan to help people with disabilities, Time reports. His Dignity, Access, and Belonging: A New Era of Inclusion for People With Disabilities policy agenda aims to double the participation for people with disabilities in the workforce by 2030—the 40th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

Buttigieg’s plan urges Congress to end the “shameful” practice of paying people with disabilities below minimum wage because of legal loopholes. The mayor from South Bend, Indiana, also hopes to increase federal hiring and subcontracting of people with disabilities and create a national apprenticeship program.

What it means for you: Disability inclusion is a key topic in the presidential race because it affects so many Americans. It’s important for workplaces to put in place policies and programs that support employees with disabilities. 

What’s reported: Minnesota’s current labor shortage has been an opportunity for businesses to hire more people with disabilities. Steve Grove, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, wrote a Star Tribune article about companies that have benefited from investing in disability inclusion. For example, the employee turnover rate at manufacturing firm Pitney Bowes fell from 72 percent to 7 percent because of hiring people with disabilities. 

The Star Tribune article offers tips to businesses that want to employ people with disabilities. Suggestions include making sure “essential functions” in job descriptions don’t exclude people, offering flexible hours, and focusing on abilities. 

What it means for you: Hiring people with disabilities is not only good for your company’s bottom line, it’s also a solid business strategy that strengthens your workforce and can boost productivity. 

What’s reported: The new Employing Abilities @Work research report from the SHRM Foundation and the Workplace Initiative discovered a lack of training, education, and awareness about the value that people with disabilities add to the workplace.

More than half of HR professionals and managers surveyed have never participated in disability inclusion training. Over 50 percent of HR professionals said their organizations don’t train managers on disability awareness and sensitivity. And only 13 percent of organizations have disability inclusion initiatives. Download the Employing Abilities @Work report to learn more.

What it means for you: Find out how the Workplace Initiative can help your company create a disability inclusion initiative. Not only will it empower people with disabilities, it can lead to a more accepting and supportive workplace for all employees.

What’s reported: Forbes reports the high rate of underemployment among people with disabilities. Chronic underemployment undermines the confidence of job seekers with disabilities. It can also lead to depression and anxiety as well as financial hardship and health difficulties. A fear of being discriminated against can prevent people with invisible disabilities like mental health issues from asking for assistance or support. 

There are some positive steps toward change. The U.S. Department of Labor awarded $183.8 million in grants to academic institutions for apprenticeship programs. And the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program provides career development services for people with disabilities.

What it means for you: Your company can have an impact on decreasing underemployment among people with disabilities. Make sure you’re doing all you can to create an inclusive culture. The Workplace Initiative can support you in building a pipeline of talented candidates with disabilities.