WACH: Changing the culture of disability employment

 James standing in front of a jean wall holding a sign that reads, “I am creative and I will not become an unemployment statistic.”

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Seven out of 10 South Carolinians with disabilities are unemployed, and the state’s unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities is one of the highest in the country — leaving a largely untapped, capable pool of talent for businesses across a diverse range of industries. Enter “Hire Me SC,” an outreach campaign to increase the independence of individuals with disabilities and shift the current landscape in South Carolina to one in which employment for every individual, disability or not, is the norm rather than the exception. Learn more athttp://www.hiremesc.org.

“There is a remarkable workforce right here, ready to be hired,” says Kimberly Tissot, executive director of Able South Carolina. “In many cases, even the simplest accommodation on the side of the employer will open up a door that they never knew existed.”

The statewide, multi-year Hire Me SC workforce development campaign aims to bridge the existing employment gap through the following means, and more:

• Educating the general community on current barriers to employment

• Connecting individuals with disabilities, employers, service providers, and educators with the resources and services most valuable to them

• Providing a platform for the general public to advocate for policy change

• Holding numerous awareness events (workshops and summits) throughout the year

Employers will have an opportunity to learn firsthand about the benefits of creating a diverse and inclusive workforce at the Hire Me SC Employer Summit, SC’s Workforce: Empowering All.

When: Oct. 9, 2018, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Where: Stone River in Columbia, S.C.

The event, which coincides with National Disability Employment Awareness Month, is open to all employers in the state and will connect them to the resources they need for including people with disabilities in their workplace.

Grace Bennett