Why You Should Consider Hiring People with Disabilities

two workers at a manufacturing business

According to federal health data, there are 61 million adults in the United States living with a disability. That’s 26% of Americans. Manufacturing companies can benefit from inclusive hiring; it can improve your finances, fuel innovation and even help you attract more talent. Learn more about the importance of fostering an inclusive culture and expanding your talent pool to include disabled individuals.

Hiring Individuals with Disabilities

When you hire people with disabilities, you also have the opportunity to increase diversity and inclusion at your manufacturing firm through gender and cultural diversity. For example, the CDC reports that disabilities are more common in the following groups:

  • Those ages 65 years and older (2 in 5 have a disability)
  • Women (1 in 4 have a disability)
  • Non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives (2 in 5 have a disability)

Functional disabilities people have include:

  • Mobility issues: trouble walking or climbing stairs
  • Cognition: difficulty remembering, concentrating or decision-making
  • Hearing: deafness or trouble hearing
  • Vision: Blindness or difficulty seeing

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Employment rates of people with disabilities

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2019, only 19.3% of people with disabilities were employed, compared to 66.3% of people without disabilities. The unemployment rate for those with disabilities actively seeking work is more than 2 times as high as those without disabilities, at 7.3% compared to 3.5%.

Manufacturing businesses have a variety of roles that can accommodate workers with disabilities. In 2017, the manufacturing industry employed 10.2% of employed people with disabilities, making it the fourth-largest industry employing those with disabilities, the BLS reports. Hiring people with disabilities for your workforce has many potential benefits.

Fostering an inclusive culture

To attract more diverse candidates like those with disabilities to your workforce and to accommodate current employees, it’s important to foster a culture of inclusivity. Your manufacturing firm may approach this in a variety of ways.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, one way is to create a diversity or disability advisory council and support disability-specific resource groups. Some companies partner with local disability-focused organizations for recommendations and tools.

It’s important to communicate with employees and the public about efforts the company is making to expand disability inclusion. Senior leadership should be at the forefront of disability diversity efforts, both in strategy and in communication efforts. Disability/diversity training for employees is another way to strengthen an inclusive culture.

As new processes and operations are introduced in your business, it’s important to make sure they’re inclusive of all abilities. In addition to physical accommodations like wheelchair ramps, websites and digital tools should feature inclusive design to accommodate all abilities.

Another way to raise inclusivity awareness among your workforce is to create a shared resource bank employees can access and learn from. Hosting educational lunch-and-learns and providing other types of programming can help. You can also prioritize inclusivity by expanding your talent pool to include individuals with criminal histories

Reasons to consider hiring staff with disabilities

Hiring staff with disabilities brings different viewpoints to your workforce. People with disabilities have had to adapt in many unique ways, which can lead to innovation, learning and understanding among your employees.

The Workplace Initiative, a program committed to increasing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, published a report analyzing disability employment and inclusion. According to the Workplace Initiative’s report, businesses with company-led disability employment and inclusion programs found that those with disabilities have had a better safety record and equal or better productivity. Adding people with disabilities to your team has business-boosting benefits.

1. Dedication and retention may be higher.

Another benefit the Workplace Initiative found was manager perception of people with disabilities tends to be similar or better compared to employees who don’t have disabilities. In terms of dedication, 35% of managers found those with disabilities to be more dedicated than those who did not have disabilities. In terms of retention, 33% of managers found retention to be better for those with disabilities compared to those who did not have disabilities.

2. Turnover can be reduced.

The Workplace Initiative found turnover can be reduced by 20-30% for employees with disabilities compared to other labor pools. That decreases turnover costs related to training, productivity losses and payroll.

3. Your business reputation can benefit.

According to the Workplace Initiative, 87% of consumers said they agreed or strongly agreed that they’d prefer to support companies that employ individuals with disabilities. Inclusive disability hiring may also help you attract more business from those with disabilities, who have an annual discretionary spending power of $220 billion.

4. Your business may be eligible for tax incentives.

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit may also be available to businesses who hire people with disabilities. One targeted group for the tax credit is for people with disabilities who are hired through a vocational rehabilitation referral.

There’s also a Disabled Access Credit that provides a tax credit for small businesses that incur costs for providing access to people with disabilities. The Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction provides a deduction of up to $15,000 a year for qualified expenses for removing transportation and architectural barriers to the mobility of those with disabilities.

Your business may also be eligible for state tax credits for hiring people with disabilities.

Make Your Hiring Process More Inclusive

Are you ready to cultivate a culture of diversity and inclusion at your workplace? Partnering with a staffing company can help. TERRA Staffing Group can assist you in attracting and hiring diverse candidates, including individuals with disabilities. 

Contact TERRA Staffing Group today to discuss your hiring needs and goals.

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