Graduation season is here and young adults worldwide transition from educational pursuits to search for jobs and careers with meaning and purpose. This is true for all graduates, including our Transitions to Work graduates. Doesn’t everyone remember the excitement of being hired and starting your first job? For young adults with disabilities, the path can be even more challenging. The unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities is, on average, twice as high as that of the general population.

Transitions to Work is thrilled that some of our recent graduates were hired by our corporate partners Prime Motor Group, Pooch Palace and Goddard House this month. We are also encouraged by news articles featuring inclusive hiring stories like German business software company SAP’s effort to actively recruit and hire people with autism to make up one percent of its global workforce by 2020. http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/added-value-autistic-employees.

Many states also have incentive benefits for hiring programs. In Massachusetts, the Hiring Incentive Training Grant Program (HITG) is open to all employers who pay into the Workforce Training Fund. This program assists in paying training costs for newly hired employees who are unemployed for at least 6 months or more. This population includes many individuals with disabilities. Under this program, employers may apply for up to $30,000 in a 12 month period. Qualifying employers are awarded a grant of $2,000 per employee who meets the HITG program requirements and who has been approved for HITG-funded training. Each grant must be approved separately and payment of grant awards is contingent upon verification that training took place and that the new hire was employed for 120 days from the date of hire. Grant awards and amounts are subject to funding availability. For more information, please visit http://www.mass.gov/lwd/employment-services/business-training-support/wtfp/.

There are many reasons why hiring  individuals with disabilities benefits employers as well as candidates. Transitions to Work has updated its web page to include a toolkit of specific resources and articles to inform and guide employers on inclusive hiring issues. Please visit www.cjp.org/transitionstowork. General benefits of inclusive hiring include:

  • Higher ProductivityEmployees with disabilities typically exhibit higher loyalty, lower turnover, and contribute to the collegiality of the workplace.
  • Increased Market ShareIndividuals with disabilities and their families reflect an expanding customer base supportive of companies with inclusive hiring.
  • Public Relations Inclusive hiring positively impacts a company’s image which influences purchasing decisions.
  • Expanded Talent PoolIndividuals with disabilities are an underused pool of talented, skilled, and qualified applicants.
  • Diversity and MoraleAll employees report a higher degree of workplace satisfaction when working in integrated teams.

Transitions to Work wishes graduates of all abilities great success on their individual career paths and hopes one day all employers will open their doors to candidates of all abilities.

Thanks for supporting inclusive hiring and Transitions to Work!

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