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Challenges Facing Job Seekers Who Have Disabilities

By Stanley Stith

As a Supported Employment Specialist, I have the opportunity to assist people with disabilities who are seeking employment and to network with companies who are advertising open positions they want to fill. Unfortunately, sometimes individuals with disabilities are overlooked for positions, despite being qualified.  In some instances, it might be because many employers have transitioned from in-person interviews to on-line interviews since COVID-19, which can make it difficult for someone with a developmental disability to demonstrate their skills, abilities, and work ethic. The opportunity to interview in person can make all the difference. In other cases, there may be a lack of awareness about the value individuals with disabilities bring to a workplace.

Here are some of the qualities that make people with disabilities excellent employees:

  • Punctual and hard working
  • Highly organized and structured
  • Able to work individually or as part of a team
  • Can be leaders and positive role models for coworkers
  • Dedicated and loyal

Does that list look familiar? If so, it’s because people with disabilities bring the same assets and qualities to a job as any other perspective employee. Plus, there can be tax benefits for businesses who employ individuals with disabilities. That’s a win-win situation! In this job market with recruitment and retention so challenging, it would be a shame for an employer to miss out on a great addition to their team simply because of misconceptions or because they don’t offer an interview option that allows someone to showcase their strengths.

Let’s give a big thank you to companies who support and encourage hiring people with disabilities and continue educating more employers and businesses about the great work they can do when given the opportunity. If we do that, we are trending in the right direction.

Stanley Stith photo

Stanley Stitch is a Supported Employment Specialist for JCS’ Support Services for Individuals with Disabilities.

Jewish Community Services (JCS) provides programs and services for people of all ages and backgrounds, helping them achieve their goals, enhance their wellbeing, and maximize their independence.  To learn more, visit jcsbalt.org or 410-466-9200.

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