Washington, D.C. – RespectAbilityUSA and POSITIVE EXPOSURE, two non-profits working to change how people see disabilities, have joined forces to create #RespectTheAbility, a campaign to focus on how hiring people with disabilities can make organizations stronger and more successful. The campaign highlights the benefits to employers that look beyond the disability and imagine the possibility when hiring talented employees with disabilities.
The campaign kicked off on with a conference call/webinar with Lori Golden, Abilities Strategy Leader from Ernst & Young LLP (EY), on “Disabilities to Diverse Abilities: Changing the Workplace Paradigm: EY as a Case Study.”
“Our goal is to educate and inform employers of the benefits of hiring employees with disabilities,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbilityUSA. “EY hires the best talent out there, no matter what package that talent comes in. Their only focus is on their business, and what prospective employees can bring to the table to better the organization. It is time for other employers to look beyond the disability, and understand the true value of these employees.”
EY has focused on the benefits of a diverse staff since its beginning. Founding partner Arthur Young was deaf with low vision, and by example, he instilled in the organization the notion that talented, differently-abled employees can bring a multitude of benefits to the workplace.
“Businesses should recognize that there are over 56 million Americans with disabilities. They are not only voters, they are consumers,” commented Mizrahi.
RespectAbility also commissioned a new bi-partisan poll of senate battleground states released on October 1, 2014 showed that 88 percent feel that as a customer it is important “that the companies you do business with do not discriminate against qualified people with disabilities.” Over 60 percent feel that this is “very important.” And, despite the low levels of employment of people with disabilities, a nearly unanimous electorate (98%) is open and supportive to hiring more people with disabilities responding that if they were an employer, manager or small business owner, they would be “willing to hire a qualified person with a disability.”
Today, 70 percent of people with disabilities (PwDs) are not employed, even though polls show that most of them would prefer to work. “Our nation was founded on the principle that anyone who works hard should be able to get ahead in life,” added Miazrahi. “This poll demonstrates that Americans on both sides of the aisle will vote for candidates who share their belief that people with disabilities deserve to be able to work to achieve the American dream, just like anyone else.“
A second spotlight on success, showcases Project SEARCH, a program that allows young adults with developmental disabilities to cultivate a set of skills that they can use in the workforce by providing them with a series of internships in order to achieve competitive employment. The third success story centers around young adults on the autism spectrum working on an organic farm in California.
Click the link below to view photos and more information tied to these success stories.
Young people with disabilities help senior citizens: Provide excellent workforce for the future
Workers with disabilities help hospitals help patients
Youth with disabilities help make government work better
Autistic man on path to become an organic farmer
If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere: Inclusion at EY