by Debera Taylor, CEO of NW Works, and Ellie Tahmaseb, Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator
There is a common phrase in our field: people with disabilities are the last to be hired and the first to be fired. When the pandemic first struck in March of 2020, we saw that situation play out yet again as roughly 9.6 million Americans lost their jobs. Research has found Americans with disabilities were more than twice as likely to struggle financially during the pandemic.
As we enter October, we begin National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an initiative by the Department of Labor to promote the hiring and empowerment of disabled adults. This year’s theme is “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion”, one we have never needed more. As our partners at the Trex Company have shown, people with disabilities can be just as instrumental in the workforce as able-bodied and neurotypical people. Trex Vice President Zachary Lauer had this to say about working with our clients:
“We feel very fortunate to have these hardworking individuals from NW Works as part of our team…The labor market is incredibly tight and competitive right now, so the employees who come to us from NW Works have become an essential part of our day-to-day operations.”
People with disabilities can and do live fulfilling lives and contribute to our economy. Many do not require the level of support organizations like ours provide in the workplace. Even if they do, support is available at no cost to the employer through programs like ours. Inclusion costs nothing but means everything to the individuals given a seat at the table. This October, join us in making inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace a priority.
Get involved with NDEAM this month and stay engaged all year long! Check out the Department of Labor’s NDEAM suggestions on ways to make your workplace more inclusive for adults with disabilities.