One of the greatest myths many employers have about hiring persons with disabilities is that it might come with a high cost to accommodate them or with processes that could affect workflow or other employees.  The reality is quite different.  In fact, hiring persons with disabilities comes with added benefits as businesses who have diversified their workforces have reported increases in retention and in productivity.

If you are looking for talent, workers with disabilities can be the solution you need.  Here are the ABCs of how the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) can help make the workplace accessible while at the same time benefiting the entire workforce.

A is for Assessment – A BRS workforce counselor will advise and consult with you on how to create an accessible workplace as well as help determine if an employee with a disability would benefit from modifications or an accommodation. Less than 40 percent of employees with disabilities require accommodations at work and, if they do, about 30 percent of accommodations cost nothing at all to the employer. About 70 percent often cost less than $500 (per the Job Accommodations Network). If a modification is required, BRS can help to identify the tools, technologies or resources needed to ensure productivity and retention. BRS has experience with companies of all sizes and in multiple industries, which will ensure the solutions are beneficial to you and to the worker.  BRS will also advise you on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and help to dispel any myths employers may have about the law.

B is for Business-Focused BRS programs and services are designed with supporting your business’ bottom line in mind. This includes providing personalized assistance, onboarding support and training to the candidate when they start their position to help to ensure maximum productivity and retention.  BRS pre-screens applicants based on your workforce needs and offers numerous incentive programs.  For example, the Wage Reimbursement Program can reimburse up to 130 percent of the wages for qualified positions.  There are trial work programs and businesses can also qualify for federal and state tax credits for hiring a person with disabilities.

C is for Collaboration – Working closely and in collaboration with businesses, Workforce Counselors at BRS take a Dual Customer Approach, which considers both the needs of the employee and the business.  They also consider Universal Design in any accommodations.  This approach is one where any workplace modification for the worker with a disability is also beneficial to the rest of the workforce.  For example, eliminating obstacles in the path of travel for a person who uses a wheelchair or installing safety signs with larger print for a person with low vision would benefit everyone. 

Getting Started

At BRS, we work with businesses of all sizes and from a wide variety of industries across the state and provide an untapped talent pool of candidates with diverse abilities.  BRS also provides additional and ongoing services that can help with training, development and retention. One of our regional Workforce Counselors can help answer your questions about our services and incentive programs and get you on the path to finding and retaining great talent. Click here to learn how you can become a business partner.