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If you’re running a business – small, medium-sized or large – you should check out Think Beyond the Label’s Hire Gauge. I would argue it’s a must. Hire Gauge is the first-ever online tool to calculate the return on the investment (ROI) your organization can generate from hiring qualified workers with disabilities. For a typical large business, this can mean nearly $32,000 in tax credits, deductions and hiring cost savings – not to mention the additional benefits of diversity in the workplace, from employee morale and loyalty to the opportunity to tap new markets. All you need is two minutes (literally) to answer a short series of questions. Right before your eyes, Hire Gauge does the math on the results you can expect from your inclusive hiring initiatives. Right down to the dollar. More and more business are using Hire Gauge Think Beyond the Label says they built this interactive ... keep reading »
In WIred magazine’s The Smart List: 12 Shocking Ideas That Could Change the World, entrepreneur Thorkil Sonne says more companies should recruit autistics. Thorne, whose youngest son was diagnosed with the mysterious developmental disorder, says that in some jobs, an autistic person’s preternatural capacity for concentration and near-total recall can be more valuable than having good people skills. In Sonne’s native Denmark, as elsewhere, autistics are typically considered unemployable. But Sonne worked in IT, a field more suited to people with autism and related conditions like Asperger’s syndrome. “As a general view, they have excellent memory and strong attention to detail. They are persistent and good at following structures and routines,” he says. In other words, they’re born software engineers. According to the article, in 2004, Sonne quit his job at a telecom firm and founded Specialisterne (Danish for “Specialists”), an IT consultancy that hires mostly people with autism-spectrum disorders. Its nearly ... keep reading »
Asking an employee to disclose health information before joining a health-insurance plan could be against the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to The Wall Street Journal. More employers are requiring employees to fill out health-risk assessments, or HRAs, if they want to be eligible for the company’s health plan. These surveys include questions about workers’ habits, personal health and family medical histories. Employers, who typically subsidize 70 percent to 80 percent of healthcare premiums, want to ensure that workers are taking all the necessary steps to manage their health and use the HRA results to plan employer-sponsored wellness programs, such as smoking cessation and weight-loss courses. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency that protects ADA policy in the workplace — and can initiate lawsuits on the behalf of employees — says that although the EEOC hasn’t taken a formal position, they believe “that [such a] proposed policy would violate provisions of the ... keep reading »
The U.S. Department of Labor has relaunched its website with a new name, The new site provides information about programs and services for the more than 50 million Americans with disabilities and their family and friends. now mashes-up content from 22 federal agencies and will be managed by the Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). The site now has a more user-friendly navigation; for example, from the home page visitors can reach what they need, including: finding a job, applying for disability benefits; learning about disability laws; learning about assistive technology; finding health care and seeking federal government grants, among other needs. Additionally, the former site was also revamped with social media tools, including a Twitter feed, RSS, a blog, and social bookmarking. Visitors can sign up for personalized news and updates, participate in online discussions and suggest resources for the site. keep reading »
  Break out the balloons! Sunday marks the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the law that guarantees equal opportunity for the nearly 54 million Americans with disabilities. Signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, the ADA touches many areas of life, including employment. Hold on, did that balloon just deflate? I’ve just read the most recent employment numbers for the 13 million working-age Americans with disabilities. In June, only 23 percent of disabled people had jobs, vs. 72 percent of those without disabilities. This makes me wonder, is the nearly 20-year-old ADA really helping? The disabled unemployment rate – currently at 14.3 percent — has steadily declined since the passage of the ADA. Disability-friendly companies like IBM, Wal-Mart and Ernst & Young openly hire qualified people with disabilities, and from high-profile disability organizations like the U.S. Business Leadership Network. More employers are aware of disability, reasonable accommodation and ... keep reading »
This is a question I am often asked: Does the shaky economy make it harder for people with disabilities to find a job? Undoubtedly, yes. The job marketplace is more competitive, and frankly, it’s easier for an employer to hire someone who doesn’t need an accommodation. Though the American with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination of the disabled, it still happens indirectly — and more so when the hiring pool is larger. Just look at U.S. employment rates from the past year. Only 46 percent of working-age people with disabilities held jobs, vs. 84 percent of non-disabled people. The national unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 12.9 percent in April 2009, compared to 8.6 percent for non-disabled Americans. And here’s a little-known fact: It takes someone with a disability 10 times longer to land a job than the average person. “Employers want to hire people with disabilities but they’re often not trained ... keep reading »
DiversityInc revealed its annual Top 10 Companies for People With Disabilities list, with IBM again topping the charts. IBM Corp., who was also 2008′s winner, “has been at the forefront of hiring, retaining and promoting employees with disabilities and is expanding its efforts globally. It also has been the most outspoken opponent of genetic testing for employees and has been clear and vocal in its values-driven mission,” DiversityInc said. In second place is Ernst & Young; DiversityInc calls E&Y’s AccessAbilities employee-resource group “world-class.” The group’s members — two-thirds have disabilities — meet monthly through a conference call and have Abilities Champions who make sure disabilities-awareness messages and educational material are part of communications, meetings and events. Not to be outdone, Cisco Systems placed third for providing “excellent benefits for people with disabilities and for employees who are caring for people with disabilities, including an onsite health center, an onsite pharmacy, healthcare incentives, job ... keep reading »