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People With Disabilities an Asset to the Workplace

  • Published: 2010-10-04 : Goodwill Industries International.
  • Synopsis: Urging employers to consider the unique talents perspectives and contributions that people with disabilities bring to the workplace.

Main Document

Talent Has No Boundaries: People With Disabilities Are an Asset to the Workplace - October Marks National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Goodwill Industries International is urging employers to consider the unique talents, perspectives and contributions that people with disabilities bring to the workplace. Communities throughout the United States and Canada need workers ready to help rebuild our economy. People with disabilities are a talented source of labor ready and able to work. For more than 100 years, Goodwill® has been giving people with disabilities the tools they need to find jobs, build their careers and be independent.

"Employees should be judged by the quality of work they perform, not by whether or not they have a disability," said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. "Diversity in the workplace includes people with disabilities."

It makes good business sense to hire people with disabilities. People with disabilities have above average records of job performance and dependability which improves productivity and lowers the cost of hiring and training. A growing segment of the population, nearly 1 in 6 Americans, has a disability. Employers can leverage tax incentives and benefit from their distinct perspective to attract a more diverse group of customers.

Goodwill® has helped people with disabilities gain the skills they need to find employment and build fulfilling careers. Here are just three people who are successful in their careers through Goodwill's help:

When Julie Shepard was 15 years old, she was involved in a car accident that left her with a head injury and using a wheel chair. She spent the next ten years either hospitalized or in rehabilitation from her injuries. She had trouble with her speech and needed help with communication because of her accident. Julie came to Goodwill's community employment program where she received help with job preparation, applications and interviewing as well as career support once she found employment. She has worked as a sales floor team member in the jewelry department of a Target store for more than two years and loves working with people.

Craig Dusel has worked at a Goodwill donation center for five years. Born with Down Syndrome, Craig has an incredible work ethic and has rarely missed a day at work. In addition to his job at Goodwill, Craig is a three-sport athlete and a Global Messenger with the Special Olympics. He has also served on the Board of Directors for Down Syndrome of Louisville. Craig's job at Goodwill has allowed him to live in his own apartment, be self-sufficient and focus on his future goals.

Sha'mecca Meeks was diagnosed with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension, a disorder that forced her to have two eye surgeries. The surgeries left her legally blind at the age of 24. The loss of eyesight left her scared to leave her home and unsure of how she would be able to function. Sha'mecca always wanted to work and have a career. She first took advantage of Goodwill services to receive eye care and rehabilitation. She also learned computer skills through Goodwill's career and training center. Sha'mecca now works as a fulfillment clerk on a Goodwill contract serving a government agency.

"Julie, Craig and Sha'mecca are three of the many people with disabilities that receive Goodwill employment and community-based services everyday," said Gibbons. "Their talents and hard work remind us that people with disabilities are integral members of our workforce."

To learn more about Goodwill's career training and employment programs, visit or call 1-800-741-0186.

About Goodwill Industries International -Goodwill Industries International is a network of 165 community-based agencies in the United States and Canada with 14 affiliates in 13 other countries. Goodwill is one of North America's top five most valuable and recognized nonprofit brands as well as a leading social services enterprise (Source: Cone Nonprofit Power Brand 100, 2009). Goodwill agencies are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 2,400 retail stores and online at Local Goodwill agencies also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food service preparation, and document imaging and shredding. In 2009, nearly 2 million people in the United States and Canada benefited from Goodwill's career services. Goodwill channels 83 percent of its revenues directly into its programs and services. To find a Goodwill location near you, use the online locator at, or call (800) 741-0186. Twitter: @GoodwillIntl. Facebook: GoodwillIntl.

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