Disability Employment Survey Results Released

Disability Employment Survey Results Released

Editor: The US Department of Labor (DOL) has just released the results of an extensive survey on the employment of people with disabilities. The short story is that they’re great employees and accommodation costs are generally not an issue. Here’s the press release from the DOL.

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February 2009

Findings of most extensive employer survey ever on people with disabilities released by U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy

Agency also makes available ‘business case’ on value of employees with disabilities

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) today released findings of the most extensive survey in history of employers’ actions and attitudes toward employing people with disabilities. The report is available at www.dol.gov/odep.

CESSI, a division of Axiom Resource Management Inc., conducted the survey of 3,797 companies, which statistically represent more than 2.4 million companies nationwide. This survey found that a majority of large businesses are hiring people with disabilities and discovering that costs for accommodations differ very little from those for the general employee population. Additionally, the survey showed that once an employer hires one person with a disability, it is much more likely that employer will hire other people with disabilities.

ODEP Assistant Secretary Neil Romano hailed the report. “This research shows us the pathway for workers with disabilities to enter and succeed in the workplace,” he said. “Employers consistently discover that hiring and retaining people with disabilities helps their bottom line, and our efforts at the Department of Labor to educate businesses on this fact are paying off for workers.”

The survey does provide some disappointing news in that it reveals some resistance among businesses to viewing people with disabilities as able to advance up the corporate ladder.

“While in many cases the front door has begun to open for people with disabilities seeking employment, unfortunately, all too often a glass ceiling still keeps these valuable employees in lower level positions,” Romano commented.

In partnership with The Conference Board Inc., ODEP will present major findings of this report via webcast on Feb. 18 from 11 a.m. to noon EST during the program “Are New Recruits Ready to Work?” This webcast will be open to the public and is part of the larger series “Maximizing Human Capital: Employees with Disabilities.” To register, contact The Conference Board at 212-339-0345.

In related news, ODEP has articulated a “business case,” or comprehensive feedback from employers on the value of employees with disabilities, which is available on the agency’s Employer Assistance and Recruiting Network (EARN) Web site at www.earnworks.com/businesscase. The business case, as supported by research, is intended to facilitate a business-to-business dialogue in six areas: return on investment, human capital, innovation, marketing, diversity and social responsibility. The Web page includes links to resources at the federal, state and local government levels, including resources specifically for veterans.

ODEP is leading a 21st century federal response to the historic underemployment of people with disabilities. In collaboration with other government agencies, public and private employers, and additional stakeholders, ODEP facilitates the development and implementation of innovative policies and practices necessary to achieve a fully inclusive workplace.

For more than 90 years, The Conference Board has created and disseminated knowledge about management and the marketplace to help businesses strengthen their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3)organization operating as a global independent membership organization working in the public interest.