People with Disabilities Advocacy Resource Group (PDARG) is one of the many ERGs offered by Day & Zimmermann. An advocate for disabilities inclusion in the workplace, PDARG is a catalyst to enhance the inclusion, participation, and optimization of people with disabilities.
As PDARG Executive Sponsor, I am delighted to share that Bobby Long, Senior Financial Analyst for SOC Government Services, has recently accepted a co-chair role with PDARG. We are still seeking another employee who wants to build their leadership capability by serving as a PDARG co-chair.
PDARG's main focus in 2021 is tapping into recruiting and hiring an extremely underutilized talent pool – individuals with disabilities. There is a lot of opportunity and value in this. Here's what individuals with disabilities bring to the table:
- Unique perspectives
- Innovative thinking
- Valuable problem-solving skills
- Creative ways to perform tasks
- Strong work ethic/dedication
Here are some additional benefits that come with recruiting and hiring this underutilized talent pool:
- An expanded talent pool
- Added value to the organization
- A more inclusive workplace culture
- A strengthened and diversified workplace
- Demonstrated commitment to social responsibility
- Lower turnover and an overall higher job retention rate (as employees feel greater loyalty to the company and a positive connection to its business practices)
- Federal and state financial incentives (see more here)
Many companies have had tremendous success with recruiting individuals with disabilities. One success story is SAP. Their Autism at Work program, launched in 2013, provides support to candidates with autism during the hiring process. The program leverages the unique abilities and perspectives of people with autism to foster innovation. Autism at Work taps into an underutilized talent source and reduces barriers of entry so qualified individuals can fully develop their potential. The program also offers a variety of resources to facilitate the success of employees with autism once on the job.
As Executive Sponsor of PDARG, helping those with disabilities is a cause near and dear to my heart. Many of you may know that I am President and founding member of Pride Paws, a non-profit pet store in Medford, New Jersey that provides job training and transitional employment experience for individuals with various disabilities.
As we make efforts to rebuild PDARG, we have to start somewhere – and for us, it's shifting our hiring practices to focus on diverse hiring. Tapping into recruiting more individuals with disabilities is one of our next steps towards becoming a more inclusive employer. We can start by visiting listed job boards to look for qualified candidates, and utilizing some of these local resources:
- The Pennsylvania Business Leadership Network (PA BLN) is an employer-driven program designed for business leaders to promote hiring practices that enable qualified people with disabilities to enter and succeed in the workplace.
- The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation provides a wide range of free services just for employers. Dedicated to serving Pennsylvanians with disabilities who want to work, they can help companies meet their recruitment and hiring needs.
- Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) provides services to help with job training, employment accommodations, resume development, and job seeking skills coaching.
Here are some national resources for recruiting individuals with disabilities:
- Hire Heroes USA serves as the bridge to rewarding careers for our returning veterans, specializing in the career placement of those wounded or with any level of disability.
- American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Entry Point! identifies and recruits students with apparent and non-apparent disabilities studying in science, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and some fields of business for internship and co-op opportunities.
PDARG is excited to take steps forward towards making an impact.