Information for Employers

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Q: Can a person with disabilities work?

A: Absolutely! Many people with disabilities are eager to work and contribute to the community. Those who cannot work may also want to volunteer in settings where that is allowed. Like with anything, each person will bring their own unique skillset and strengths into a job. Some individuals are restricted to a maximum number of hours or may need accommodations in order to perform the tasks needed.

Q: What are "accommodations"?

A: Job accommodations are adjustments to a job or a work environment that makes it possible for an individual with a disability to perform their duties. Examples include: Specialized equipment, adjusted work schedules or responsibilities, or modifications to the work environment.

Q: Can you share some examples of work accommodations?

A: Sure! A worker who is blind may need a text to speech option on their computer that reads to them. Someone whose disability causes them fatigue may need a shorter shift or the option to work for a reduced number of days in a week. A worker with an intellectual disability may need tasks that are broken down into smaller steps, or they may succeed with being assigned a set of responsibilities that is well-matched to their skills and interests. Some individuals also have a job coach who works with them to guide them through work expectations and help teach the skills needed for the position.

Q: How do I know if the job I am offering is a good "fit" for someone with a disability?

A: First, it is important to know what you can legally ask an applicant. You may ask if that applicant will need any reasonable accommodations to perform specific duties. If the answer is yes, you may ask what those accommodations would be. You may not ask about the nature or severity of a disability prior to a job offer. If you make a conditional job offer, you may ask disability-related questions or require medical examinations as long as all individuals selected for this job are asked the same questions and the same examinations are required of them.

A: You may also want to contact one of our local agencies listed on our Employment and Volunteering page and discuss the position you have open. Many times they can offer advice and information that will give you more insight. Also consider that in many jobs, adjustments CAN often be made to suit the skills and abilities of the worker. For example, a job in a kitchen may not have to include all aspects of cooking. Perhaps a prep cook in a restaurant could be in charge of stocking condiments and filling the salad bar, or a grocery store employee completes a few tasks instead of several different ones. Are you able to be flexible and build the position around the strengths of the worker? If so, then your job will most likely be a great fit. If you can't offer that flexibility, there still may be highly skilled and qualified applicants who would welcome the opportunity to work for you. They just need a chance.

Q: I'm nervous about this, I haven't been around many people with disabilities before.

A: So many times, "fear of the unknown" is what keeps us from opportunities to grow and learn and become better versions of ourselves. This is true of businesses also. Hiring a diverse workforce only serves to strengthen and enrich all that you do!

This video about disability etiquette may help ease any concerns you may have about how to approach people with disabilities. You may also want to take a few moments to look in our Job Idea Bank or check out the ever-growing list of local businesses that have employed a work force that includes differently-abled people.

Q: Is there anything else I should know?

A: In addition to gaining some great employees, you may be able to take advantage of the following tax incentives for employers:

  • Thank you to Careers Support Solutions (Westchester/Putnam/Dutchess counties) for putting together this informative page explaining tax incentives for businesses who hire individuals with disabilities:

Building an Inclusive Workplace:

DISABILITYIN: Disability:IN is the leading nonprofit resource for business disability inclusion worldwide.

EARN: The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) is a free resource that helps employers tap the benefits of disability diversity by educating public- and private-sector organizations on ways to build inclusive workplace cultures.

Hiring Chain Hiring resources for employers.

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Struggling to find workers for your business? Here they are!