Guests at the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon on Aug. 4 learned about hiring employees with disabilities as guest speaker Monty Chamberlain of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) made a presentation to promote new hiring opportunities for employers.
Chamberlain is an employment recruitment coordinator for DADS, which networks with different employers across the state to show them the value of hiring disabled employees.
Many of these potential employees are challenged with intellectual or developmental disabilities, but this does not take away their desire to maintain employment.
“People with disabilities adjust in life,” said Chamberlain. “They continue forward and they use that disability many times to be turned into a positive as to how they adjust and become really committed members of society, and in the work environment, people see that.”
Chamberlain discussed the values people with disabilities bring to a workplace and also getting companies a bit of publicity by advertising job positions for people with disabilities.
“They may have been working their entire life just to get one opportunity to work,” he said.
Some of these values include being out-of-the-box thinkers and truly wanting employment in positions that have high turnovers.
“They’re going to have a true and genuine desire to work,” said Chamberlain.
Employees with disabilities can face a variety of challenges in the workplace, such as a lack of understanding from others. However, overcoming these barriers can be truly beneficial for the work environment.
“It actually enhances the camaraderie at work,” said Chamberlain.
Chamberlain also addressed a number of myths about hiring employees with disabilities. An employer does not see an increase in workers’ compensation insurance rates, nor are special accommodations expensive.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not require businesses to hire unqualified employees simply because they have a disability.
Another important myth regarded the idea that employees with disabilities cannot be fired, which Chamberlain says is not true.
“You treat the person with a disability the very same way you would with every other employee,” he said.
Chamberlain concluded that ultimately an employee with disabilities can bring an employer many gains, such as building a long lasting customer base and innovative solutions.
“They are, by nature of life, experienced problem solvers because of the challenges they’ve been dealt in life,” said Chamberlain.
Any business interested in the DADS program can ask to have a link on their website, http://www.dads.state.tx.us/.
“It is going to be publicity for your company,” said Chamberlain.
Chamberlain showed a video that had a number of employers and other individuals talking about the positive experiences they’ve had with disabled employees, further expressing the benefits they can give to a company.
“It’s just giving someone that first chance,” said Chamberlain.
For more information on DADS, contact Chamberlain at 512-971-8839 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.