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Hiring People With Disabilities Is Not Altruism, It Is Good Business

We find ourselves in the midst of a growing labor shortage. Employers have gone from saying that they cannot find enough good workers to bemoaning that they just cannot find any workers. At the same time, we have witnessed mass resignations on a scale not seen before. More than 8 million people quit their jobs in August and September.

At the same time, we have a great untapped resource of workers: people with disabilities.

The unemployment rate among people with disabilities is double the national average, but that does not tell the whole story because so many people with a disability are not in the workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than one in five people with a disability are employed. This situation is awful because so many people who want to work are denied employment. The right to work should be a basic right, yet more than 10 percent of the U.S. population is denied that right.

But I do not want you to focus on the tragedy of people denied the right to work, I want you to see part of the solution to our labor crisis.

Hiring people with a disability is not altruism, it is good business. And those businesses that hire people with disabilities find themselves at a competitive advantage and that advantage will only grow as the labor shortage worsens.

Why is it good business to hire people with disabilities? Let me give you three basic reasons:

1. It enables employers to fill jobs that would otherwise remain vacant.

2. It improves productivity.

3. It improves retention, an increasingly important concern at the time of the Big Quit.

4. It helps recruit new employees.

Let me give you some examples. Together with my son John, I lead a business called John’s Crazy Socks, a social enterprise with

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