On the evening of Wednesday, July 16th, around 25 individuals gathered at the Down Syndrome Research Foundation (DSRF) to hear about why hiring people with diverse abilities makes good dollars and good sense. There were two presentations at the event, one from Kalena and Foye from our posAbilities Employment Service team, and the other by Ajay, a representative of Rotary at Work, an employer to employer education initiative about the value of taking a fresh look at disability.
The posAbilities team shared stories about their experiences working with families and individuals who have diverse abilities, and the positive, life changing benefits of meaningful, competitive employment. Ajay then provided information about the business case for inclusive hiring and how this market segment can help address current and upcoming labour shortages.
One of the items of discussion was a Vancouver Sun article published earlier this year, which revealed that the unemployment rate for persons with developmental disabilities in BC is 84%. Interestingly, a study conducted with business owners has shown that 93% of employees with diverse abilities are harder working than their peers. Sharing information like this supports the value of inclusive hiring practices and can lead to more employment opportunities.
Throughout the evening, it became apparent that the benefits of hiring people with diverse abilities extends beyond those immediately involved. Workplace peers and the community as a whole experience the benefits of inclusion. Take a look at this video to discover what several New Westminster business owners have to say about the impacts on staff teams, customers and neighbours.
The meet up of business owners, service providers and families who are passionate about inclusive hiring was a success, and plans are already underway for a second event in October.