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    Hiring People with Disabilities Eases the Labor Shortage

    Employing more people with disabilities increases the talent pool.  It is hard to read a business publication these days without mention of “the labor shortage”.  US employers are continuing to comment on how hard it is to find good talent.

    The U.S. has a Talent Shortage

    But as the jobs reports come out monthly, more and more discussion is being raised about whether the country has reached “full employment”.  Which sounds like a good thing, except for monetary policy and companies who have open positions to fill.  The laws of supply and demand state that as supply shrinks, and demand stays steady or grows, prices will go up.  So rather than raising wages as a response to a tighter labor pool, why not increase the size of the pool and equalize supply and demand?

    Recruiting People with Disabilities Increases the Talent Pool

    Cornell University keeps several big data sources tracking people with disabilities, and estimates there are between 11.4M and 13.3M unemployed people with disabilities of working age.  That is a big labor pool not currently counted as “unemployed” by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (which currently shows 7.9M unemployed)!  Of course, not all of them are an exact match to the skill sets you seek, but odds are that you will find quite a few candidates worth considering in this hidden labor pool.

    Why aren’t They Already in the Labor Market?

    It isn’t because they are unable to work.  In most cases people with disabilities have given up hope that anyone would want to hire them.  Unfortunately, people with disabilities still experience discrimination and that disheartening experience leads to hesitation to continue to seek employment.

    Can Your Company Really Afford to Remain Skeptical of this Group? 

    Each week, more stories are published mentioning another company that is embarking on recruiting people with disabilities, and stories of their success.  It is easy to ignore this vast group of potential employees if your company has more qualified candidates than openings.  Does that describe you?  If not, maybe you should weigh the economics of raising wages to compete with your competitors hiring for similar positions, and then start recruiting people with disabilities to find a better use of your resources.

    NOTE: As originally posted on Deb Russel Inc

    Deb Russel
    Deb Russell earned a BS in Psychology in 1989 and MS in Rehabilitation Counseling in 1992 from the University of Illinois. Her experience started in teaching special education and providing employment services to people with disabilities. She has worked on three federal systems change grants (directing two of them) to improve employment for people with disabilities. During the first 15 years of her career, she improved access for people with disabilities in the Medicaid, Social Security, Vocational Rehabilitation and Workforce Investment systems. During the past 11 years, she has focused her career on helping business leverage the value proposition of employing people with disabilities. Deb has served on multiple work groups and advisory boards through her career, most notably she served on SSA’s Region V Commissioner’s Work Incentives Advisory Group for 9 years, receiving the Skip Kruse Memorial Award and served six years on the Board of Directors for the US Business Leadership Network, two as Chair. During her career in non-profit and government, she presented nationally on topics related to Work Incentives in Public Benefit Systems and Job Development for People with Disabilities. Since then, she has presented internationally on Successful Corporate Models for Employing People with Disabilities. She testified to the US House of Representatives in 2011 in regards to Walgreens success in disability employment inclusion.
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