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Monday Minute | 023

In today’s labor market, it can be difficult to find the right person to fit an open position. It’s because, thankfully, we are working in a market where there are lots of jobs and lots of options. Because PQC does vocational rehab, we seek out those open jobs that could be held by someone with disabilities. We’ve learned that—when given a chance—there is a job for every person, and we just need to provide the information, training and encouragement to go after it.

People and businesses can succeed when they have the information that they need to make a difference in their lives. As economic freedom is often tethered to employment, providing employers and prospective employees with information on available tools helps make that transition, but it also takes a lot of communication and support. Some of that comes in the form of coaching and job training from companies like PQC, but often it comes from the hiring organizations themselves. I recently had a story of a company being very supportive of hiring people with disabilities; however, when one of our clients was about to pass their 90-day review, they were let go. When we went back to find out what happened, the company was thrilled with the person’s attitude, attendance and willingness to learn; however, where they failed was in the volume that was required. At no time did their management let either our client or their employment specialist know about this pending metric that was “make or break” to future employment. It makes me wonder how committed they really are to disability hiring. Even if that person was only to make 90 percent of production, they had to be better than having no one fill that need. What are we willing to do to make it possible to fill those jobs that go unfilled?

Only 35 percent of U.S. civilians with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 64 had a job in 2015, compared to 76 percent for people without disabilities. At the end of the day, our nation was founded on the principle that anyone who works hard should be able to get ahead in life. People with disabilities deserve the opportunity to earn an income and achieve independence, just like anyone else. So, the next time you hear about a company being a champion for disability hiring, please say thanks! And then make sure they really mean it. Look around and be a cheerleader for that person who is working and making a difference. They are no longer part of the 65 percent that are still waiting for the right opportunity.

-Stacey Smith, PQC President & CEO