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Everybody Works NC Campaign

Closing the Employment Gap for People with Disabilities - EveryBody Works NC - Potential Employers & Employees, visit everybodyworksnc.comThe Everybody Works NC campaign was launched to increase awareness of the untapped pool of talent found in the North Carolina disability community and to create more jobs and job oriented educational opportunities. In addition, the campaign is educating self-advocates and their families about the value of employment and how to access employment, training and education programs to improve an individual’s employability.

In a collaborative effort to close the 45-point employment gap between working aged people with disabilities and their counterparts, the EveryBody Works NC campaign was kicked off by business leaders and disability advocates at the NC Business Leadership Network (NCBLN) Conference today.  As of June, just 27.9 percent of working-age people with disabilities were employed which lags far behind the 72.8 percent of those working without disabilities – creating that 45-point employment gap.

The campaign is challenging North Carolina businesses to consider the untapped talents of people with disabilities when hiring, while urging discouraged job seekers with disabilities to rejoin the workforce.  As part of the campaign, North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation (NCVR) is expanding its outreach efforts to better serve the disability community throughout the state. NCVR has programs and resources to help employers source and retain diverse talent and create a workplace that is accessible and welcoming for employees with disabilities.

“We are calling on teachers, educators, the medical profession and the families to encourage children and young adults with disabilities to know that employment is a possibility for them – and that they bring immense talents and skills to the workplace,” said Alexandra McArthur, chair of the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCCDD). “Employers who successfully recruit, hire, and retain people with disabilities see higher rates of employee loyalty and innovation – across their entire workforce.”

“We also want to reach out and encourage people with disabilities who are discouraged, facing long-term unemployment or have never worked to improve their employability through training and support services offered by vocational rehabilitation,” said Tara Myers, NCVR division director. “We offer pre-employment screening and placement services, on-the-job training, assistive technologies and ongoing support to help people with disabilities of all kinds succeed in the workplace.”

“The NC Business Leadership Network (NCBLN) helps companies drive success through disability inclusion in the workforce, supply chain and marketplace by sharing best practices that demonstrate effective methods of sourcing, hiring and retaining the talents of people with disabilities,” Beth Butler, executive director of NCBLN and a Disability and Inclusion Consultant, said.

Fact Sheet:  EveryBody Works NC
Thousands of “Job-ready” Candidates:  North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation (NCVR) had over 4,300 “job-ready” candidates seeking employment in August of 2017 and successfully placed over 6,400 candidates in jobs in 2016.
Employment Gap (ages 16 - 64): 27.7% of people with disabilities of working age had a job in 2016, lagging behind 72.8% of workers without disabilities who had jobs. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, July 2017) 

Educated and Credentialed:  Of the 6,400 candidates placed by NCVR in 2016, 57% had a high school diploma or equivalent, 25% had some post-secondary education, and 14% earned a license, certification or degree including 330 associates, 285 bachelors, 80 masters and 10 advanced degrees.
Part-time Employment:  In 2016, 34% of workers with a disability were employed part time, compared to 18% of those without a disability 

People with Disabilities:  Are rated equally or more productive than coworkers; achieve equal or better job performance ratings; help reduce turnover rates based on industry research; and they often inspire their co-workers to work harder and as a team.  

Self-Employment: Employed persons with disabilities are 15% more likely to be self-employed than those without disabilities demonstrating the innovative talents available in this diverse segment.  

Government Employees:  The percent of people employed in government was about the same for both those with and without disabilities in 2016 – 14.0% and 13.6 % respectively. 

Employment and Benefits Work Together:  The new NC ABLE Program allows individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities to save and invest up to $14,000 a year without jeopardizing means-tested benefits including Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The fear of losing benefits has been a major deterrent to many people with disabilities seeking employment.
Accommodations:  Well over half of all accommodations for employees with disabilities are made at no cost to the employer and most require a one-time investment that often costs less than $500.
Everybody Works NC campaign is increasing awareness of the untapped pool of talent found in the disability community and is a collaborative effort of the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCCDD), the North Carolina Business Leadership Network (NCBLN) and North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation (NCVR).


Conquering the Challenges of the Workplace for People with Disabilities

With the vast array of assistive technology devices today, people with disabilities are able to share, even to scale, their job skills and expertise. Their jobs and independent living skills are not limited to the workings of their bodies or the limits of their physical places with the advancements in technological areas such as augmentative communication technology, vehicle modifications and sensory aids.
Because of new assistive technology tools and resources, the workforce has opened wider to include people with all abilities in a vast array of careers with better ways do their jobs. These assistive tools have revolutionized the marketplace and awakened industries to the skills and talents of people with disabilities.

One such talented employee is Susan Beck, who works in the accounts receivable division of Piedmont Service Group, a company that specializes in energy efficient HVAC solutions for clients throughout the Piedmont region of Virginia and the Carolinas.

Susan has retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a genetic disease that destroys the retina of the eye. Although born with RP, Susan's symptoms did not appear until age 19 and it was several years before she had a clear-cut diagnosis. There is no known cure.

But as Susan rattles off success after success in her personal and professional life, you quickly realize nothing has stopped her from living a full life. She loves her “gadgets” as she calls the assistive technology devices she uses both at work and at home.

On the job she uses computer software called Zoom to change the size, color and font of any text as well as offer speech enhancements for text. Her computer settings provide high print and background contrast, allowing her to more easily see documents and spreadsheets. Hard copy print pieces also present a challenge for Susan so she utilizes a closed caption monitor which projects the print onto her computer screen with large type and high contrast.

Her cell phone, boasting a high contrast screen, also holds voice apps for reading her emails or sharing items sent to her. On the go, Susan pulls out her video magnifier allowing her to see documents handed out in meetings. She uses a Victor Reader Stream recorder which allows her to carry notes, audio books and her favorite music. Her watch has a variety of alarms and also “talks” to Susan, reminding her of appointments, time to leave work, etc.

Susan worked with the Services for the Blind for her assistive technology equipment. In addition to the items she uses for work, she also has a closed caption monitor, a talking bathroom scale and kitchen timer at home as well as raised marker (braille-like stickers) on her dishwasher, washer and dryer and her stove to find her perfect settings. She has a talking “color wand” that she can place on her articles of clothing to create color-coordinated outfits for work, church and her Red Hat Chapter outings. She utilizes a braille label maker to mark her medicine bottles.

Susan is not shy about using all her assistive devices to do her best job of succeeding at work and at life. She earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in accounting from the University of Phoenix, previously worked for Siemens Corporation for 12 years, and has been at Piedmont Service Group for four years.

Assistive technology's price tag should not be a hindrance to those ready to advance in their education and workplaces. A variety of national organizations such as the League for the Blind and Easter Seals have funds for those who meet their specific qualifications. In addition, national companies including Bank of America and Chrysler Corporation offer assistance.
In North Carolina, various foundations and organizations also offer assistive technology funding such as the O'Berry Center Foundation in Goldsboro, the State Employees Association of North Carolina in Raleigh, and the Roberts-Miller Fund in Gastonia. A list of these and more resources can be found at: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/vocational-rehabilitation-services/north-carolina-assistive-technology-program/assistive

Sustaining a company's relevance in the changing world, one relying heavily on advances in technology, needs the people using the technology on the front line. More employers are beginning to see a huge untapped market in people with disabilities who have great talents to share in the work world, just like Susan does.

Everybody Works NC campaign is increasing awareness of the untapped pool of talent found in the disability community and is a collaborative effort of the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCCDD), the North Carolina Business Leadership Network (NCBLN) and North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation (NCVR).

Posted on the Outer Banks Common Good on Tuesday, February 13, 2018


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This project was supported, in part by grant number 2001NCSCDD-02, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

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