Employment remains disproportionately unreachable to people with disabilities. This week, when the athletes are demonstrating their capabilities to the country, is a fitting time for employers to commit to opening new opportunities for people with disabilities — not merely as a good deed, but as good business, too.
A recent Census Bureau report found that workers with disabilities are less likely to be employed and more likely to earn less if they are. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is more than double that for people without them.
That is not only wrong, it is bad business: a colossal and tragic waste of talent. Businesses that overlook people with disabilities are systematically narrowing their talent pools, excluding capable, productive workers who could give them a competitive edge.
Tom is one. He is a veteran of the Special Olympics, having medaled in swimming in the regional games in Connecticut. At 18, he is an accomplished chef whose innovative kitchen creations delight his family. He is, as well, a skilled technologist who knows his way around a personal computer better than his father does, an executive at a financial company, and who aspires to help connect people to personal technology.
Tom is also nearly blind.