VOICES: Untapped workforce could be the answer many employers seek

National Disability Employment Awareness Month highlights importance of hiring people with disabilities

Credit: E.L. Hubbard

Credit: E.L. Hubbard

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and it’s the perfect time to draw attention to an untapped yet incredibly important community of eager workers: those with developmental disabilities.

Nowadays we hear catchy terms to explain why getting and keeping good employees can be so difficult. We talk about the “Great Resignation” and “Quiet Quitting,” and we scramble to come up with solutions while our workforce dwindles. But many employers, it seems, are unaware of the massive potential when it comes to hiring people with disabilities. Businesses who hire people with disabilities gain loyal, skilled workers who truly appreciate the opportunity to showcase their abilities.

In Butler County, there are currently about 100 people with developmental disabilities seeking jobs and they are ready to work for you! In our surrounding areas, that story is the same. Clark County currently has about 120 job seekers and another 120 are in training for jobs. Neighboring Montgomery County has nearly 100 job seekers as well and 300 people with developmental disabilities employed with over 75 employers.

Employers who hire people with developmental disabilities are often thrilled by the quality work ethic and loyalty they find in their new hire. Here in Butler County, the average tenure for employees with developmental disabilities is 4.5 years compared to the state’s average of 2.8 years for all Ohio workers in service occupations.

Additionally, businesses that hire people with developmental disabilities have more satisfied customers and improved morale and productivity throughout the company. In fact, one study shows that 87% of all U.S. adults prefer to spend money at businesses who hire people with disabilities. There are also tax incentives available for employers who hire a person with a disability.

By hiring people with developmental disabilities, you’ll also gain workers who have an entire community of support. The Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities has an Employment Navigation department dedicated to helping people find and keep jobs. Similar departments can be found in most counties throughout Ohio including Green, Montgomery, and Clark Counties.

Keeping in mind that customers with disabilities and their families, friends, and associates represent a trillion-dollar market segment, it’s easy to see why this is a community you want to have rallied behind your business.

In Butler County, we have many great employers, among them, Kroger, Miami University, Thyssenkrupp Bilstein, and Premier Health, just to name a few. I encourage you to follow their lead and consider tapping this incredible resource. If you want to learn more, visit our website at www.butlerdd.org/professionals or email info@butlerdd.org.

Lisa Guliano is superintendent of the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities provides services and supports to over 3,700 Butler County residents so they can successfully live, work, and learn in the community. Supports and services are available life-long through partner agencies or directly provided by the Board. The Board’s primary source of funding is from property tax levies collected annually and the Board was last on the ballot in 2004.

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