For many, working from home has become the new norm during the pandemic.
As companies continue to invest in this approach, people living with disabilities say it’s time for businesses to consider them an equal part of the workforce.
October is National Disabilities Awareness Employment Month, and advocacy groups agree it’s a good opportunity to close the hiring gap.
According to the Brookings Institution, only four in ten working-age adults with disabilities in the U-S are employed.
Brooke Lovelace, executive director for the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, is concerned the coronavirus is widening that gap.
At the same time, she noted workers have long called for companies to provide more accommodations for working from home.
As a result of the health crisis, technology is proving that remote jobs can be done in a variety of fields, and Lovelace said businesses should make sure they are truly being inclusive in their hiring.
In addition to hiring practices, Lovelace added this month is a good reminder for companies to ensure their buildings have the necessary accommodations for all people living with disabilities.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the latest jobless rate for workers with disabilities is higher than 14%, compared to an overall unemployment rate of around 8%. And in an annual report that tracks state-by-state rankings, Iowa is 13th in the nation for hiring people with disabilities.