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National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Making now the time to build a world where people intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have belonging, equity and justice.

The inaccessibility of current education and work experiences means people with disabilities are 3.4 times less likely to not be participating in the workforce. Creating a just and equal world means eliminating barriers by:

  • Creating accessible education and work experiences
  • Eliminating long waiting lists for employment support
  • Creating accessible and transparent job descriptions, job applications, and interviews
  • Addressing and combating negative stereotypes, ableism, and low expectations
  • Paying people livable wages and eliminating subminimum wages
  • Building inclusive workplaces, partnerships, and opportunities in all communities

Minnesota is taking steps to join several other states in repealing federal legislation originally passed in 1938 that allows people with disabilities to be paid less than minimum wage. The new 19-member task force created by the Minnesota Department of Human Service will be responsible for creating a plan to eliminate subminimum wage in Minnesota.

Black man working on a laptopWhy hiring people with disabilities essential for businesses and communities

“All individuals with disabilities, no matter their disability type and support needs, deserve the opportunity to explore, find, and keep jobs and careers that provide personal fulfillment and help build wealth,” says CEO of The Arc Minnesota, Andrea Zuber.

It’s also beneficial to the workforce. Companies who practice inclusive employment have:

  • 2x net income
  • 28% higher revenue
  • 30% higher profit margins

Employees who trust that equity is at the forefront of a company’s decision making are 5.4 times more likely to want to stay with that company.

The Movement: Hiring, employment, and inclusive communities

“It is time to acknowledge and respect people who have disabilities for their many contributions to our workforce, economy and society as a whole. Furthermore, we must honor their wholeness and inherent value. At The Arc Minnesota, we are working to build a movement that raises awareness about the strength, resilience, and capacity of people who have disabilities. Disability is part of the rich diversity of human experience, in which many people find their power, not in spite of it,” says Zuber.

The movement will highlight the wisdom, strength, resiliency, capacity and power of people with IDD. Our goal is to change the public perception of the capabilities of people with IDD by highlighting their strength, resiliency and wisdom. Because that is what we know to be the truth—people with disabilities are strong, powerful, and capable.