Press Release: During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, CDLE Highlights How Employers and Workers Can Create Inclusive Workplaces

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For Immediate Release | October 8, 2021

In celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has chosen the week of October 11th to highlight how employers and workers can create workplaces inclusive to people with disabilities.

“When employers and workers create workplaces inclusive to people with disabilities, everyone benefits,” said Kristin Corash, Director of CDLE’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. “Research has shown that the benefits of hiring people with disabilities is good for business, the economy, and employee morale. And it’s important to remember that creating inclusive workplaces involves more than improving recruiting and hiring processes; it also requires reassessing access to promotional opportunities. During NDEAM, and throughout the year, we want employers to understand that they are uniquely positioned to lead the way in creating inclusive workplaces.”

Corash’s insights are supported by research: Accenture, a professional services company, found that employers who intentionally foster workplace environments inclusive to people with disabilities enjoy, on average, 28 percent higher revenue, double the net income, and 30 percent higher economic profit margins than those in their peer group. And the costs of hiring people with disabilities can be offset by tax credits and deductions, such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, the Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction, the Targeted Jobs Tax Credit, and the Disabiled Access Tax Credit. Employers concerned about the cost of accommodations should also know that 60 percent of accommodations are free, and the rest average $500.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month comes at a time where people with disabilities are experiencing especially high rates of unemployment in the wake of the pandemic. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020 people with disabilities had an unemployment rate of 17.9 percent, the highest rate in seven years. To put that number into perspective, it’s useful to compare it to the Great Depression, when the unemployment rate reached 25 percent. In comparison, people without disabilities experienced an unemployment rate of 8.31 percent in 2020.

DVR Services

Employers and workers are encouraged to contact CDLE’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to learn more about how they can create inclusive workplaces. Their expert staff are deeply familiar with the employment issues facing people with disabilities and can connect workers to educational and employment opportunities based on their skills and interests. They can also educate employers on how to create inclusive workplaces and provide information on the many tax credits and deductions available.

During “Inclusion in the Workplace” week, CDLE will be highlighting upcoming trainings, events, and resources to help employers remain competitive and support workers with disabilities. To keep up with CDLE, workers, employers, and others can follow the agency on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. To find your local Workforce Center, visit CDLE’s website.

Upcoming events include:

October 12th 12:00 - 1:00 Disability Etiquette Best Practices, Inclusion in the Workplace

October 12th, 12:00 - 1:00  Celebrating Inclusion: An employer panel spotlighting business partner successes, experiences and best practices.

October 19th 12:00 - 1:00 Intentional Accessibility Lunch & Learn: Building Accessibility into Aspects of Your Work for the Everyday User

You can find more CDLE and partner events here on our website.

The themes for the upcoming weeks are:

October 18-22: Intentional Accessibility

The importance of accessibility in the workplace cannot be overstated. During the week, CDLE will offer employers resources on how to make sure that their employees with disabilities have the tools they need to do their jobs. 

October 25-29: Careers and Employment Opportunities

People with disabilities experience much higher rates of unemployment than those without disabilities. During the week, CDLE will be highlighting resources.