One Workforce: Inclusive Employment in North Carolina, a disability employment lookbook launched by the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCCDD), aims to bring attention on how employment in a competitive and integrated workplace provides a pathway to independence and financial benefits for people with disabilities.
Highlighting 30 people from across the State, One Workforce gives an intimate account through stories and photographs showcasing each person’s talents, determination, initiative and work ethic in their chosen field of employment. Through authentic stories, the lookbook documents how employment enhances the lives of people with disabilities and benefits society.
“Our hope is that this lookbook will help eradicate stereotypes of people with disabilities,” said Kay McMillan, One Workforce’s creative director. “Furthermore, we hope that it will bring about a more inclusive workforce where employment provides a life of independence, an opportunity to acquire wealth and control over one’s life.”
This change is needed, as individuals with disabilities often face many barriers to have a chance to prove their capabilities in a workplace.
According to the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), there is currently a 48-point national employment gap between working people with disabilities and those without disabilities. In North Carolina, that gap is 45 points and 40% of businesses can’t find the talent to meet their workforce needs.
Chris Egan, executive director of NCCDD, said, “Businesses today are emphasizing diversity and inclusion as a matter of policy and their best hiring practices, which includes hiring people with disabilities. Many have seen increases in productivity, declines in absenteeism, less turnover and enhanced company culture. By showing the value and benefits of an inclusive workplace, we can create awareness of this untapped pool of talent not only in North Carolina, but across the country.”
The lookbook is a part of NCCDD’s Everybody Works NC (EWNC) campaign. The campaign kicked off in 2017 and aims to increase awareness of the untapped pool of talent found in the disability community and to create more job opportunities for people with disabilities.
The campaign is a collaboration of the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCCDD), the North Carolina Business Leadership Network (NCBLN) and North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation (NCVR) to promote and support inclusive workforce strategies.
Additionally, One Workforce features online resources for people with disabilities who are looking for employment, training opportunities and job placement services.
To read the stories and learn more about One Workforce, visit https://lookbook.nccdd.org/
The original article appeared in the Mountain Xpress on June 29, 2018.