Goodwill Industries® is proud to support National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This year’s NDEAM theme is, “Profit by Investing in Workers with Disabilities.” For decades, Goodwill® agencies have trained and hired people with disabilities to work in Goodwill stores, donation centers, and career centers, in addition to emerging fields outside of Goodwill, including healthcare, green industries, and financial services. Furthermore, Goodwill provided employment training and job services to more than 240,000 individuals with disabilities last year.
People with disabilities are dependable and valuable workers who have higher rates of employee retention. Employers can leverage tax benefits from hiring people with disabilities and attract a broader customer base for their goods and services. At the same time, employers can demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility by hiring people with disabilities, including youth, older workers, and military veterans.
While more employers should recognize the value of hiring people with disabilities, Congress can also do more to increase their employment opportunities by:
- Reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act, which includes the Rehabilitation Act;
- Providing increased incentives for employers;
- Preserving funding for the delivery of quality services to people with disabilities; and
- Modernizing the AbilityOne program, the largest provider of employment opportunities for those who are either blind or have significant disabilities, employing approximately 47,000 people through more than 600 nonprofit agencies, including Goodwill.
Goodwill believes that no one should be denied the opportunity to work and receive the intangible benefits of work – independence, participation in society, dignity, self-esteem, and sense of accomplishment, among others. While October is officially National Disability Employment Awareness month, the value and contributions provided by workers with disabilities should be recognized each and every day.