Advertisement

Putting the 'Ability' Back in 'Disability'

Putting the 'Ability' Back in 'Disability'
From Recruiter - October 21, 2016

I received a combat injury in Iraq in 2003 that left me with a permanent spinal cord injury. For years afterward, I applied for jobs based on my own perceptions of my limitations. Because I suffer chronic pain, and sometimes walk with the assistance of a cane, I thought that meant I had to narrow down my dreams. In our society, we are often led to believe that being disabled means being less in some way. I thought I was less in some way.

I couldnt have been more wrong. Im getting a masters degree in spring of 2017. I work hard and survive well in one of the most expensive cities in America. My perception of my own personal limitation was not reality, and hiring managers and recruiters must not let preconceptions about disabled candidates cloud their judgement during the hiring process.

Disability, Not Inability

Workplaces are required by law not to discriminate based on disabilityincluding during the recruitment phaseand providing opportunities for disabled workers should be part of any company hiring initiative.

The first step is to understand that having a disability should not eliminate a person from being considered as a good job candidate, says Sean Roy, codirector of PACERs National Parent Center on Transition and Employment, an organization that connects disabled youth with education and employment opportunities. Many people with disabilities have valuable life experiences and possess the work skills employers are seeking. Unfortunately, there tends to be a lot of misinformation and fear that employers have about hiring people with disabilities. If employers have questions or concerns about hiring qualified candidates with disabilities, I would encourage them to contact local resources like their states Vocational Rehabilitation agency or consult with national projects like the U.S. Department of Labors Campaign for Disability Employment, which has a great website full of valuable information promoting disability employment.

Its important for recruiters not to confuse the label disability with the word inability. Having a disability doesnt mean a candidate has less to offer in the workplace than non-disabled workers do. Providing true equal opportunities to all applicants and employees can actually have a positive effect for businesses.

Survey findings have found that the general public tends to favor supporting businesses that have employees who represent their communities, Roy says. This means that people want to support business that show a commitment to employing people with disabilities.



Advertisement

Continue reading at Recruiter »