Hire an Adult with a Developmental Disability
By hiring an adult with a developmental disability, you'll do more than just give someone a job. You'll provide the developmentally-disabled adult with the opportunity to become part of a community, to contribute to society, and to feel a sense of pride. You'll also help strengthen a family, as financial obligations for parents get eased and they can come to see their developmentally-disabled child as a functioning adult.
Yet while there are many adults with developmental disabilities who would like to be employed and are capable of joining the workforce, the group has a high rate of unemployment. Frankly, some employers worry that their work will not be performed up to standard.
Studies show, however, that employers generally end up happy with their decision to hire a person with a developmental disability.
Developmentally-disabled employees often receive praise for attendance and loyalty. While at the start of a job it may take a bit longer to train workers with a developmental disability, they typically do not "job hop" as often as other employees, so the extra bit of front-end effort pays off greatly in the long run. Also, specialized job coaches are available to acclimate new hires — often at no cost to the employer.
By inviting an adult with a developmental disability to join your work community, you can be the spark that changes a life, and a family, forever.
I Did This!
If you have hiring responsibilities at your workplace, be on the lookout for job opportunities that would be appropriate for a developmentally-disabled employee. Good options include (but are not limited to) photocopy operators, data entry clerks, maintenance staff, mail clerks, factory workers, messengers, cooks, hospital attendants, and laundry workers.
If you don't directly recruit employees, make the case to your boss: Hiring a developmentally-disabled adult can boost morale, enhance your corporate image, and demonstrate commitment to the community. Further appeal to your boss' business sense by presenting the financial incentives...
A business hiring a worker with a developmental disability may qualify for various financial incentives. For instance, The Work Opportunities Tax Credit encourages employers to hire targeted groups of job seekers, including those with developmental disabilities. It offers a tax credit that can reduce the employers' federal income tax liability by as much as $2,400 per qualified new employee. The Employer Resource and Assistance Network (EARN) provides additional information on tax incentives.
Where to find a qualified candidate with a developmental disability:
Groups that can be of assistance include the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy's Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) and local chapters of The Arc. When contacting these organizations, discuss the possibility of having a job coach available to help the person with a developmental disability adjust to the workplace and to be a resource the employer can contact if questions or concerns arise.
Contact the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) to learn about companies similar to yours that have had successful experiences hiring people with developmental disabilities. Not only will the information be useful in convincing your boss about the feasibility of hiring someone with a developmental disability, he or she may welcome the networking opportunities that can result from becoming part of that peer group.
The Administration on Developmental Disabilities offers a state-by-state guide to councils that can offer assistance.
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