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The Small Business Committee knows how companies benefit from hiring people with disabilities

John Cronin, co-founder of John's Crazy Socks, testifying at the hearing

Small businesses employ nearly half of the private workforce in the United States, and some of these workers have different skills. The Small Business Committee of the House held a hearing on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 to determine the role small businesses played in hiring these people.

Benefits of hiring someone with a disability

The committee wanted to shed light on the lessons that business owners have learned, as well as the role that people with different abilities play in the small business economy.

The hearing bore the title "Ready, willing and able to work: how small businesses help people with intellectual disabilities". It was chaired by Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio.

The hearing included the testimony of Angela Timashenka Geiger, President and CEO of Autism Speaks, Washington, DC; Dave Friedman, founder and CEO of AutonomyWorks, Downers Grove, Illinois; John Cronin, co-founder and Head of Happiness, John's Crazy Socks of Melville, New York; and Lori Ireland, president of Extraordinary Ventures and vice president of the Autism Society of America, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Chabot highlighted the challenges the group faces and what small businesses can do to help. During the hearing, he said, "A segment of American society that is often overlooked when discussing economic opportunities through job growth is the community of special needs. Given the innovation, flexibility and diversity of small businesses, they can provide an inclusive environment for employees with developmental disabilities and fill critical positions in operations and expansion. of their company. "

The testimony of John Cronin, co-founder of John's Crazy Socks (a million dollar company) who suffers from Down syndrome, says that people like him are "ready, willing and able to work" . syndrome, "He does not hold it back," he added. "I founded this company with my father, Mark.C was my idea and I found the name.We have a mission to spread happiness.We work to show what is possible. I love my business. "

The statistics of employment

According to the March 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics employment report, the employment-to-population ratio is much lower for those with different abilities. The office employment rate is 31.7% for this group and 73.6% for the rest of the population.

Although these figures reveal a great disparity between the two demographics, increased awareness helped to recognize the abilities of these social classes as disabled. For their part, small businesses have done their utmost to hire these people, even with their limited resources. But more needs to be done to lower their unemployment rate.

David Friedman, founder and CEO of AutonomyWorks in Downers Grove, Illinois, said, "Small businesses generate a large percentage of new jobs across the United States. Small businesses must be at the heart of any solution to the employment problems faced by adults with disabilities. "

Resources and Incentives for Small Businesses

Small Businesses may use the following federal government resources in collaboration with the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) to increase the participation of people with different abilities .

  1. Employer Support Network and Resources on the Inclusion of People with Disabilities (EARN)
  2. Housing Adjustment Network (JAN)
  3. Leadership for the Employment and Economic Promotion of People with Disabilities (LEAD Center)
  4. National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD / Youth)
  5. Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT)

There are also tax incentives that small businesses can leverage by recruiting into target groups. These benefits include tax credit for work opportunities, access credit for people with disabilities and the deduction for architectural and transportation expenses.

Image: smallcompany.house.gov