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Good for Business

The Minimal Cost and High Return of Accommodations in the Workplace

By Margot Latici, Career Development Coordinator CLE Denver

CLE Denver - G with PaycheckAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average tenure of a young employee with a company is approximately 2 years. This current trend in workplace philosophy of the “grass is always greener” creates a common challenge for employers to obtain and retain reliable, long-term help. Employers are often left scrambling to hire new workers; meanwhile there is a large population of capable and willing employees that have not been fully tapped into.

Individuals with disabilities are still at large underemployed. Employers sometimes are concerned that hiring an individual with a disability will require too much oversight or drastic accommodation requests. However, the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities extend far beyond meeting inclusive hiring quotas. According to the 2012 U.S. Department of Labor Job Accommodations Network annual report “Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact” conclusions find that “workplace accommodations not only are low cost, but also positively impact the workplace in many ways.”

This same report found that more than half of the accommodations requested cost nothing to implement. Examples of accommodations requested by individuals hired with a diagnosed disability include scheduling flexibility, dress code modifications or allowing somebody to sit or stand when the other positioning is required*. Within the past four years since that labor report, there have been increased efforts to educate employers on the benefits of this talented and diverse labor pool.

CLE Denver - Katelyn with her paycheck

As the Career Development Coordinator in Denver, one of my primary responsibilities is to educate the community and create exposure for our students. Overall, the students in the Career Development Program are very aware of their strengths and capabilities, as well as how they learn and what accommodations they might need. Relaying this information to an employer can be intimidating, so CLE can really help to bridge the communication between the employee and employer. Once there are some basic accommodations in place and a framework for good communication, an employee with a disability can really succeed.

From the students that I have worked with, their accommodations are of little or no cost to the employer in additional time or resources. But most importantly, they often end up being some of the most reliable, dedicated and long-term employees. In addition to perseverance and reliability, I often get feedback from employers that the company culture has changed for the better by employing one of our students. Other employees demonstrate more patience and cohesiveness when they have a co-worker on the team that approaches things a little differently.

It seems like a clear choice. People with disabilities are hardworking, reliable, loyal and contribute to a diverse workforce, which in turn leads to a positive work environment. The bottom line is hiring people with disabilities is good for business.

* source:

Newsletter Articles – October 2016

Follow along as Kati Strong takes us through a day as a CLE Job Coach.

National Disablility Employment Awareness Month

This month, I would like to open a discussion to our beloved CLE family about National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Observed in October, NDEAM is a nationwide campaign that celebrates the skills and diverse talents individuals with exceptionalities bring to the workplace. This is a time to rejoice in all that has been accomplished and to acknowledge how far we have come, but it is also a time to reflect on how far we still have to go. When I read the words Disability Employment Awareness Month, the two words that immediately stand out to me are Awareness and Ability. Awareness breeds understanding, and allows us the capability to see things through a new lens. This is precisely why this month is so important. It places the spotlight on the ability of our population.

Zach at CLE Rockville - mock interview

by Darchelle M. Garner and Ajeenah Watts, Career Development Tutors, CLE Rockville

Wilson at CLE Davie

Not all disabilities are visible, in fact most are not. So the question of disclosing one’s disability becomes an issue when you have a non-visible disability. This is especially true when looking to become employed. What, if anything, do I tell my employer? Our thoughts on this subject are guided by two basic principles.

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This has been a special needs program update from College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.