“Expect, Employ and Empower” is this year’s theme for National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The month of October is when our country recognizes the importance of equal employment for people with disabilities.
Individuals with disabilities are just as driven to become employed as much as anyone else. Unfortunately, some employers believe that people with disabilities can’t be a valuable member of the team. Even with the right skills and training, people aren’t being hired because employers are unaware of the accommodations that can be made to assist a person in doing his or her job.
For instance, adjustable desks can be ordered to raise or lower to the correct height for people in wheelchairs. Ergonomic computer keyboards and other hardware can make doing tasks a lot easier. There are a number of programs like Dragon NaturallySpeaking that will type while a person speaks. Regardless of the disability, there is an accommodation that can be made to ensure that everyone can do their jobs efficiently and effectively.
Last night, I went to dinner with several scholarship recipients from the Gavalas Kolanko Foundation. This Foundation provides collegiate scholarships to students with physical disabilities in the Charleston area. From pharmacists to educators to computer scientists – and everything in between – these students are achieving their goals and are ready to join the workforce!
The expectations are high, but the disability community is ready to be employed and empower the world!