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Health & FitLabor Day: Employers benefit from workers with mental disabilities

16:40  02 september  2019
16:40  02 september  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

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Few employers are willing to hire workers with disabilities . Fear is the biggest barrier, said former ‘ Disabled hiring still in its infancy’, Business Day South Africa, 14 October 2003. United Kingdom. By employing workers with disabilities , the hardware chain B&Q finds that it has gained a number of

1. The Benefits of Hiring Disabled Workers . Here are five simple reasons why it’s in your interests to Disability is one of the key dimensions of workplace diversity, so by increasing the representation of disabled Employers are often worried about the cost of accommodating people with disabilities .

Labor Day offers us the chance to reflect on progress made in the workplace. Over the past several years, I’ve had the privilege of seeing that progress increasingly enrich the lives of those intellectual disabilities. Just recently, two Philadelphia men gained the satisfaction and self-worth that comes with that first-job paycheck thanks to two local employers.

Labor Day: Employers benefit from workers with mental disabilities© Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc.

Just shy of his 50th birthday, James Fonash washes windows and sweeps carpets at Courtyard Marriott City Avenue. Meanwhile, Timothy Champion, 30, works three days a week at a Wawa convenience store in East Falls, a Philadelphia neigh.

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The Disability Discrimination Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against people with disabilities in employment Discriminatory practices continue to deny persons with disabilities , as well as workers who become disabled Often employers assume that persons with disabilities are unable to work .

In addition, employers are required to reasonably accommodate employees with known physical or mental disabilities as long as doing so does not One of the reasons given for her termination was that she had "frightened her co- workers with her violent outbursts." Three days after that, the plaintiff

Timothy’s mother, Charisse, summed it up well, saying, “The job at Wawa has given Tim a sense of dignity. He loves to do a good job, and won’t give up until it’s done right.”

Filling a specific need for employers

As unemployment hovers around historic lows and employers struggle to fill entry-level positions, James and Timothy offer prime examples of what’s possible when employers expand their vision to include those with intellectual disabilities in the workplace.

The need for workers coincides with more individuals with intellectual disabilities seeking entry in the workplace. Consider that in the late 1980s, the frequency of children diagnosed with autism was 1 in 1,000. Today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s 1 in 59.

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Many of those diagnosed in the 80s and 90s are now in search of that pivotal first job. And thankfully, we’re seeing a growing willingness among employers to give these individuals a chance to prove their value on the job.

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The Philadelphia area isn’t alone in finding that these adults can make for loyal employees. Research by the Special Olympics found that, nationwide, 81% of adults with intellectual disabilities who have jobs in a sheltered setting (where they receive training to develop their skills) have been with their current employer for three years or more.

The unemployment rate for those with intellectual disabilities remains far higher than the broader workforce.  Beyond that, workers with a disability are more likely to be employed part time, 31% to 17%, when compared to non-disabled peers.

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Mental and emotional processes such as thinking, concentrating, and interacting with others are also covered under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). When reviewing job applicants, employers are prohibited from discriminating against people with mental illnesses.

Employers are missing out on opportunities to get great employees." Employees with autism can be challenging given their unique set of issues Walgreen has since hosted hundreds of companies at its Anderson facility to show the power of hiring workers with disabilities , including DTE in January 2015.

In the face of these trends, what more can we do to foster employment and acceptance?

To start with, we need to continue to invest in programs that help students with autism and intellectual disabilities explore employment during high school, as well as other services that help adults build marketable skills. These include “soft skills,” such as how to dress for the job and ways to communicate effectively with supervisors, co-workers and customers.

Labor Day: Employers benefit from workers with mental disabilities© Lynne Sladky/AP At a job fair. My organization, the Barber National Institute, offers a supported employment program that helps adults locate and interview for jobs and provides them with coaches who can teach the responsibilities of the new position. This service is free of charge for employers, who can be assured that the adults they hire will be trained to do the job right. A growing number of other nonprofits offer similar programs in other cities.

Beyond that, awareness is key. Every time an individual with disabilities succeeds at a job, they are not just earning a paycheck. They are helping to demonstrate to co-workers and customers that they can make a meaningful contribution — and that there’s ample room in today’s workforce for individuals with a diverse range of experience, skills and aptitudes.

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Employing people with disability can also ensure that your team best reflects the community in which it operates. Like all employees, people with disability bring Workers ’ compensation costs for people with disability are as low as four per cent of the workers ’ compensation costs for other employees*.

Employers that offer these types of work -life perks seek to raise employee satisfaction, corporate loyalty, and worker retention by providing valuable benefits to describe the various indirect benefits which industry had devised to attract and retain labor when direct wage increases were prohibited.

Positivity is an immeasurable asset

These workers also often deliver an unexpected benefit: improved morale. Time and again, we’ve been told that one of the individuals placed through the Barber National Institute brought an infectious enthusiasm and ongoing inspiration to their co-workers and customers. That’s the case at Courtyard Marriott City Avenue where five individuals from the Barber National Institute now work.

“We’re helping them and they’re helping us,” says Laura Williams, that Courtyard Marriott's head of HR. “It’s a challenge to find team members who are excited and extremely proud to come to work every day. It’s really an inspiration to see the pride they take in their work.”

Proof positive of this principle is James, the 49-year-old who has now been hired for his first job. James works at the Courtyard Marriott cleaning windows and vacuuming the carpets on several floors of the hotel each week.

“All I know is he can’t wait to get up in the morning, put his uniform on and go to work,” says his father, James Fonash, Sr. “It is a new horizon for us. We never thought we would see this day.”

Wawa, Courtyard Marriott and several other employers nationwide should be commended for setting a positive example by hiring those with intellectual disabilities.

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Both workers with and without disabilities benefit equally from a diverse work setting. By working alongside employees with disabilities , individuals who are not disabled will become more aware about how to make the workplace and other settings more inclusive and accessible to everyone.

An employer may provide benefits under a Board-approved Plan for Disability Benefits or one negotiated by agreement and accepted by the Chair of employer authorized by the New York State Workers ' Compensation Board to self-insure for disability benefits . Questions in connection with the

We encourage other employers to do the same. You’ll be opening new horizons that will not only benefit the individuals you hire, but also your business, your employees, your customers and your community.

Gale Williams is supervisor of employment services at the Barber National Institute.

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to letters@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Labor Day: Employers benefit from workers with mental disabilities

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