ABC Columbia Covers the Hire Me SC Employer Summit

Screencap from the Able SC Columbia piece showing a room full of employers at the Summit watching keynote Nick Schacht speak in front of a PowerPoint.

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — October marks Disability Employment Awareness Month in South Carolina. In honor of that, an annual summit was held on Wednesday for employers about how to build a more inclusive workplace.

The ‘Hire Me SC’ Employer Summit 2019 gave employers the tools and knowledge they need to include people with disabilities in their companies. During the summit, they heard from human resource speakers and people with disabilities about how they can make a difference in the workplace.

“There’s a huge untapped workforce of people with disabilities in South Carolina, who can work and they want to work. But maybe sometimes they aren’t getting hired,” said Sarah Nichols, Director of Public Relations with Able South Carolina. “We’re trying to kind of bridge that gap and bring together those employers so that they have the skills that they need to hire and retain people.”

“One of the things that we’re currently doing is looking at all of your various job descriptions, and looking at what barriers can we remove to be a more inclusive employer,” said Chantel Greenfield with Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

All different aspects of disabilities were discussed.

“That could be physical, that could be psychiatric, that could be intellectual, we cover everything,” said Nichols.

Many people in the state with a disability are currently unemployed.

“One in five South Carolinians has a disability. And of those, 70% are unemployed,” said Nichols.

One barrier people with disabilities may face is the interview process.

“Sometimes interviewing can be a big issue, folks with intellectual disabilities might not always feel comfortable in the traditional interview setting,” said Nichols.

“Reach out and remove those barriers and help them feel more comfortable in the workplace,” said Greenfield.

Companies are encouraged to be more flexible and accommodating to help build a more inclusive environment.

“Everybody has something wonderful to offer. We all have gifts. They come in different packages. And I think sometimes people are intimidated by the things they don’t understand,” said Greenfield.

Other topics that were discussed include how to better recruit people with disabilities, and how to develop a strategy for becoming a more inclusive company.

Able SC