Diverse Workforces

Why should I recruit, hire, and promote a diverse workforce?
According to the US Office of Personnel Management, diversity in the workplace encourages:

  • Cost reduction
  • Resource acquisition
  • Creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Organizational flexibility

A diverse workforce mirrors the US and global labor markets, while reflecting your customer base. 

How do employees with disabilities contribute to my business’ success?
Studies show that companies that employ individuals with disabilities gain:

  • Skilled employees.  Employees with disabilities learn to persevere and develop problem solving and people skills as part of managing a disability.
  • Solid performance.  Statistically, employees with disabilities have better retention rates.
  • Cost saving.  Workers with disabilities are rated consistently as average or above average in performance, quality and quantity of work, flexibility and attendance.

What will it cost me to accommodate employees who are blind or have low vision?
Employers who have never hired a blind or low vision employee tend to overestimate the cost and complexity of accommodation.  State agencies, like Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) can help negotiate the costs of equipment and training.

Also, employers who hire people with disabilities may be eligible for federal tax incentives.  Employers should consult their accountants, tax advisors or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to determine eligibility.

What can the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) do for me?
DSB provides:

  • Assistance in developing a blind and low vision workplace and marketplace for your products and services.
  • Connection to a variety of community partners—such as the Washington State Diversity Network—to support your blind and low vision inclusion plans.
  • Awareness training so that employees feel comfortable with blindness and low vision in the workplace and have the ability to provide respectful customer service to this market group.
  • References for qualified employee candidates screened to meet your employment needs.
  • Retention services for valued employees who may be losing their vision and with the proper accommodations can stay a productive member of your team.

For more information on what DSB can do for you and your business, contact us, 800-552-7103 or bizsolutions@dsb.wa.gov

References:
http://www.opm.gov/Diversity/diversity-2.htm (accessed November 2009)
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. 2007. Disability Employment 101. Washington, DC: Author. Available at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/products/employmentguide/index.html (accessed November 2009).