Building a Community of Belonging: Employ People with Disabilities

When people with disabilities are part of the competitive work force there are huge benefits for the: Person Employer and co-workers Climate of the work environment Public image of the business Economy of the community at large

and more.

We have been working with some people through Community Brokering for awhile now. They have learned how to sustain a regular volunteer routine, communicate effectively and use public transportation. They are now ready for competitive employment and we are reaching out to businesses to help connect the people with opportunities.

Fortunately, this has been a real learning opportunity for The Community Brokers. We are learning that many prospective employers would like to hire people with disabilities, but they still hold misconceptions that we need to dispel. While this may seem like a challenge for us to overcome, when employers are honest about their concerns in hiring people with disabilities, we have an opportunity to introduce them to a person who would be a great fit for a position they have available. We are able to coach the employer to see how this person would be a great addition to their work force. Employers see that there often is no monetary expense to make accommodations – they just may need to take a bit longer to train the person and how to support the person on the job.

So we are working, albeit slowly, to reach out to prospective employers based on the strengths of the people we work with to build a community of belonging. People with disabilities becoming part of a business community and the business now belonging to a growing community of organizations employing people with disabilities.

If you would like more information about how to support people with disabilities in your organization or business please contact Allison Hammond, Executive Director of The Arcadia Institute at ahammond@thearcadiainstitute.org or 269-217-2205.

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