One in four American adults are living with a disability, and for these adults, the unemployment rate is double that of people without a disability.
Building inclusive apprenticeship programs for people with disabilities is a proven strategy that can lead to strong wages, a pathway to future career opportunities, and sustainable permanent employment in high-quality jobs.
In May 2013, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued an Executive Order that set a goal for 5% of the state government’s workforce to be comprised of people with disabilities.
Additionally, in February 2021, Governor Inslee issued an Executive Order to support the state’s network of business resource groups, including the Disability Inclusion Network that “promotes universal access and creates an environment where people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of the workplace,” and promote the state as an employer of choice that is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in its workforce.
Companies Benefit When they Develop Apprenticeship Programs for Disabled Workers
Apprenticeships can be a helpful tool to recruit and prepare people with disabilities for success in rewarding and high-paying careers. Participants receive an introduction to the job requirements, experiential learning opportunities and connection to potential employers. For people with disabilities, apprenticeships offer an ‘on-ramp’ to employment, helping them meet the entry requirements and identify any accommodations they may need. Apprenticeship Programs help facilitate a smooth transition and sustained success. Providing access to transportation, childcare, job shadowing, mentorship, benefits counseling and other services can reduce barriers to accessing training and employment.
Why Hiring Disabled People Makes Good Business Sense
According to this article on Forbes.com, there are competitive advantages to hiring disabled and neuro- diverse employees.
An inclusive workplace values all employees for their strengths. It offers employees with disabilities an equal opportunity to succeed, learn, be compensated fairly, and advance. Some areas that are affected and create a competitive advantage are:
- Profits and cost-effectiveness
- Turnover and retention
- Reliability and punctuality
- Employee loyalty
- Company image
- Customer loyalty and satisfaction
In the above-linked Forbes.com article, Kevin Rizer says “Persons with disabilities are used to solving problems and often must work with extra effort and diligence to simply be considered and recognized at the same level as their peers. For the roughly 1 in 4 Americans with some disability, adapting and creating innovative solutions is necessary to survive and thrive in a world not designed for them.” Kevin Rizer is a hearing impaired author of Always Wear Pants: And 99 Other Tips for Surviving and Thriving While You Work From Home.
Strategic Consulting is Your Partner in Managing Workplace ADA Issues
For twenty years, we have been helping companies in the Pacific Northwest with worker injuries, disabilities, and other vocational challenges. We are here to support you in this unprecedented era of remote working and WFH.
We have partnered and provided solutions to some of the largest companies in the world (such as Boeing, Microsoft, and Amazon). But, at our core, we are still “people taking care of people,” one project at a time. Our success is built upon and providing you the best solution to your workplace challenge. Contact us today by filling out a form (below), submitting a referral, or visiting our ‘Contact Us‘ page to find your nearest office.