ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) recently co-sponsored a business survey to identify and measure issues and perceptions about employing people with disabilities. The results indicate that the vast majority of businesses are open to hiring individuals with disabilities; however, few businesses actively seek out this population.
More than 600 Minnesota employers responded to the survey earlier this year. Significant findings from the survey include the following:
- The majority of employers thought that the costs of accommodations they have provided were equal to or less than they had anticipated, and that the benefits of providing accommodations outweighed the costs.
- The majority of employers are ready to hire persons with disabilities, but would like to know more about services that facilitate such hiring, including those that provide employment supports.
- Employers regard WorkForce Centers as an asset, but employers want more information about services and how to utilize them.
- Most employers said "no" when asked if their employees with known disabilities have required accommodations. However when presented with a list of possible accommodations, 98 percent of employers have made at least one process accommodation and 93 percent have made at least one physical accommodation.
- Employees with physical or sensory disabilities rated equal to or higher than their co-workers in similar positions on virtually all performance attributes.
- Employers’ concerns focus around safety, insurance costs and unfamiliarity with the American’s with Disabilities Act.
"Minnesota’s participation rate of individuals with disabilities in the workforce ranks among the top four states – a testament to the integrity and intelligence of the businesses in our state," said DEED Commissioner Matt Kramer. "However, an employment gap remains between capable persons who want to work, and the businesses that could benefit by employing them. Closing this gap represents an opportunity to assist the growth and prosperity of businesses and significantly enhance the quality of life of Minnesotans with disabilities."
The complete findings of the survey can be viewed online at www.mnddc.org. For information, guidance and resources about recruiting, incorporating, interacting and communicating with people with disabilities in your workplace, go to www.deed.state.mn.us/rehab/adadiversity.htm or contact your nearest WorkForce Center at 1 (888) 438-5627 (TTY 1-800-657-3973).