Kessler Foundation, Heldrich Center issue brief on hiring employees with disabilities

WEST ORANGE, N.J. — The Kessler Foundation and the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development last week released a research brief on disability employment titled “Strategies to Support Employer-Driven Initiatives to Recruit and Retain Employees with Disabilities” that explores the growing trend among employers in accommodating workers with disabilities.

This new brief, one in a series on disability and employment, examines the successful partnership initiatives that have enabled employers to hire people with disabilities. “These initiatives are resulting in integrated work forces where people with and without disabilities work side by side,” stated report author Elaine Katz of the Kessler Foundation.

The brief profiles the following successful disability employment initiatives:

  • Walgreens Distribution Centers, which exceeded its target of hiring 30% of its Anderson, N.C., center’s work force through a partnership with disability service providers;
  • The National Organization on Disability's Bridges to Business program, which helped Lowe's establish a successful and sustainable hiring initiative for its distribution centers;
  • The Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitation Services' Industry-Specific Training and Placement Program, which provided grants to five community rehabilitation providers to partner with major employers, including Lowe’s, HomeGoods, Mohegan Sun Casino, CVS and Walgreens;
  • Wal-Mart's partnership with Project SEARCH, a school-to-work transition program, which provides real-life work experiences to help young adults with disabilities explore careers and sample jobs that suit their skills and interests. Wal-Mart was the first to license Project SEARCH for distribution centers. Project SEARCH's host employers also include banking, hospitals and government agencies; and
  • Reddwerks, a software company based in Austin, Texas, whose disability-friendly distribution management systems software has enabled employers to expand their pool of job candidates with disabilities.

For a PDF of the full report, click here.

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