Why You Should Hire an Individual with a Disability

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, In 2016, 17.9 percent of persons with a disability were employed.  In contrast, the employment-population ratio for those without a disability was 65.3 percent.

What really frustrates me the most is that these individuals sometimes don’t even have a chance to prove to employers that they can be a benefit to the company.  Whether it’s a lack of communication skills, or a disconnect due to social deficits, good candidates are often (too often) overlooked.  This isn’t because of someone’s disability.  It’s because of those employers or hiring managers who don’t understand the disability.  They also don’t take the time to learn exactly what positive attributes these individuals can bring to their companies.

Also according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, persons with a disability are less likely to have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher than those with no disability. Among both groups, those who had attained higher levels of education were more likely to be employed than those with less education.

Individuals with a disability often have an extremely high IQ.  Or they have a special interest in a related subject to the place they hope to work some day.  And even though they may not have a degree, they are still very capable (if not sometimes more capable) of being highly skilled employee for a specific job position.

Now obviously some jobs require certain education.  And that’s very understandable.  But, every brick and mortar business needs help with cleaning.  Every business needs help with organization.  Every business needs something done that others don’t want to do.  Why?  Because these specific positions are often mundane and repetitive, and require little to no social contact with others.  These are often the BEST opportunities for disabled individuals!

Here’s something to ponder over.  My husband used to go into a McDonald’s (on a fairly regular basis) near his work.  He said there was a man with special needs who greeted him every time he walked in the door.  He was always usually cleaning the tables, cleaning the floors, or emptying trash. And the best part, he always had a smile on his face.  My husband looked forward to going into that specific McDonald’s every week, just to see this man’s passion and attitude.  My husband said that he enjoyed the enthusiasm that man had for his job, and his nice disposition made my husband’s day.  I can guarantee that when my husband went back to work, he didn’t feel that way about his colleagues.  

My point?  A degree doesn’t make you a great employee.  Passion, enthusiasm, and disposition does.  A deep love for your job does.  The way others feel when they’re around you does.  

I challenge business owners to just give someone with a disability a chance.  Go that extra mile to seek out someone who has the passion for just one task at your company.  Special needs individuals give 110%.  They don’t complain.  They’re happy all the time.  They never miss work.  They don’t ask for time off.  They spread joy and inspiration.  And they’ll do anything for anybody.  Who wouldn’t want an employee like that?

Elizabeth Debol
Executive Virtual Assistant