October Blog: Dispelling myths about employing people with disabilities

There are a ton of community misconceptions about employing people with disabilities. 

 

“Accommodations for me to hire people with disabilities onto my team will be too costly, we can’t afford it.”

“If I hire someone with a disability, I can’t fire them because of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)!”

 

In reality, 73% of employers reported that their workers with disabilities did not require any accommodations. And of those who do, 50% of the accommodations cost less than $500. Employees without disabilities ask for accommodations also, like putting up a curtain because the sun shines in their eyes, ordering a standing desk to help with their back pains, or even a flexible schedule.  

An employer can fire a person with a disability for the same reasons an employer can fire a person without a disability such as they are not doing their job, they are late all the time, and other reasons. As long as the person with a disability is not being fired because they have a disability.

But these are a few misconceptions, of course there are so many more.

People with disabilities DO work in your community. These are people who have disabilities that are visible by others, and people who have invisible disabilities.

 

Brandon begins his internship by trying out various tasks at the Diner.

Brandon just graduated high school, and is finding the right employment path

The first day on the job is intimidating for everyone. Everything is new and lots of information is given to you. It was the first day of Brandon's internship at the Barre Country Diner, and was learning all about how the food is prepared, how the cooks let the waitors know when the food is ready, the storage room, where he will clock in, and also where the bathrooms are. 

With an internship, Brandon will spend 90 days at the Country Diner. In this time he will gain work experience, see how well he likes the position, and perhaps have an opportunity to be hired if he is a good fit and he is interested. Otherwise he can try new internships to find his right fit. 

During his 90 days he will try different jobs out at the diner. From keeping the dining area clean by washing menus, busing tables, to making sure the customers are having a great experience. 

Robin, a manager at the diner, says it is important for everyone to do the small tasks that keep the diner running smoothly, and once Brandon gets the hang of those tasks, he will get to learn the larger tasks. 

Sara, his employment specialist, says she thought his first day went really well, she didn't even have to spend his whole first shift with him, and he picked up on tasks very quickly. 

Brandon has his internship through enrollment with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and choosing Aptiv as a service provider.

 

 

Meet Mitch, an employee of the Janesville Country Club

Mitch was in a rhythme, dressed in black pants and black shirt with an apron. He finished loading up a rack of dirty dishes that was going to go through the dishwasher. To his right were metal shelves, labeled with what dish went where, a small accomadation to help Mitch do his job properly. 

Mitch works at the Janesville Country Club as a dishwasher three days a week. He enjoys his job, and is proud of having a job. 

"I like my coworkers," Mitch said. "I even consider them to be friends."

Mitch got his job by networking with Aptiv staff at a job fair, where he met Chef Kevin, his now boss. Chef Kevin knew he wanted to hire Mitch as soon as he spoke with him. This was because of Mitch's positivity and willingness to work. 

Through enrollment with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and choosing Aptiv as a service provider, Mitch has worked at the Janesville Country Club for little over a year now. 

 

Mitch pointing at the dishware labels

Labeled shelves to help Mitch easily do his job. 

October was National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)

"Reflecting a commitment to a robust and competitive American labor force, the 2018 National Disability Employment Awareness Month theme is 'America’s Workforce: Empowering All.'"

-U.S. Department of Labor

 

National Disability Employment Awareness Month may almost be over, but as a community we should continue to fight the misconceptions of our fellow employees with disabilities. 

Sources

1.       U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy, Myths and Facts about People with Disabilities