Studies show people labeled with disabilities have, at best, a 35 percent employment rate in the United States. That's embarrassingly low for a nation that's dedicated to providing opportunities for work, and celebrates that fact every Labor Day.
Much progress has been made in modifying workplaces to allow the disabled to be fully productive. But a recent Cornell University study found that one of the biggest challenges for employers is changing the attitudes of workers, including supervisors, toward the disabled. In fact, that point was found to be a 16 times greater concern than "ensuring equal pay and benefits" - and twice as great as creating management systems to accommodate these individuals.
Research has proven that on average employees with disabilities consistently demonstrate higher productivity and lower turnover rates than other workers. Many strong employer partnerships with organizations working to provide jobs for people with disabilities continue to successfully demonstrate that point.
But the attitude adjustment required for people to work successfully side by side with co-workers with disabilities takes a willingness to see beyond disabilities - often not an easy step. Most of all, it requires an active recognition of the fact that we all belong together.