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DeRose Responds to WSJ Article on Legislation for the Employment of People with Disabilities

Letter to the Editor, The Wall Street Journal 4.8.12

Re: "The Wrong Way to Help the Disabled" by James Bovard - The Wall Street Journal 4.8.12 

It’s clear that Americans want to help people with disabilities find employment but are often unsure of how to begin and fear the unknown. The section 503 federal mandate, while controversial in its approach, can potentially show employers the value that employees with disabilities add to the workplace while also easing their concerns.

In “The Wrong Way to Help the Disabled” (4.8.12), James Bovard highlighted the common employer fears when considering hiring people with disabilities—lower productivity and heightened costs from providing reasonable accommodations. These concerns are proven to be untrue. In the 2010 Survey of Employment of Americans with Disabilities, by Kessler Foundation and the National Organization on Disability, employers reported that employees with disabilities have increased job dedication and flexibility as well as fewer turnovers and absenteeism—all elements that increase productivity. They also noted that the cost of accommodations do not affect the bottom line.

Employment for people with disabilities is lower than it was prior to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. The government should set an example with what is possible with employees with disabilities. With that said, no one—regardless of disability—can do every job. We all have different abilities and talents. This law must not create animosity towards the disability community but rather place qualified candidates with disabilities in positions where they can excel.

To help overcome obstacles to employment, Kessler Foundation provides grants to programs that expand job opportunities for people with disabilities, including veterans. Nonprofit organizations, government agencies and the business community need to raise their awareness of the advantages of a diverse workforce that includes people with disabilities. The effect of the mandate remains to be seen.

Rodger DeRose
President and CEO
Kessler Foundation

Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 04/28/2015 - 11:29