WIS 10 - Employer Summit Coverage

Screen grab of the WIS10 video showing anchors in a square on the left and another anchor on the right speaking outside the Palmetto Club. Text on the bottom say “Hire Me SC Employer Summit. Disability Employment Awareness Month.”

By Emily Scarlett | October 1, 2019 at 8:48 AM EDT - Updated October 1 at 8:59 AM

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -The annual Hire Me SC Employer Summit is Wednesday at the Palmetto Club in downtown Columbia, and it’s no coincident that this event is held in October each year.

This month is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and this annual event is a chance for employers and human resource professionals across the state to join together in one room to mobilize South Carolina’s untapped workforce.

The summit will consist of mini-sessions and roundtable discussions to offer some insight on the benefits of hiring people with disabilities. This will include tips on how to effectively recruit people with disabilities and maintain a supportive work environment for them.

Able SC helps to put on this annual employer summit each year. It’s a nonprofit that provides various services to help people with disabilities lead independent lives.

Sarah Nichols is the director of public relations and special events with Able SC.

She says, “One in five South Carolinians has a disability and of those, 70% are unemployed. So, when you’re looking at our economy and the labor shortages that we’re facing right now, there’s a huge workforce here that’s ready and able to work if they were given the opportunity.”

Organizers say people with disabilities often still face barriers to finding gainful employment. This is sometimes because of myths surrounding the perceived burden of hiring people with disabilities.

“One other concern that people often have is that some of the accommodations that people with disabilities might need might be a bit expensive. That’s kind of the perception, but actually, research has shown that the overwhelming majority of accommodations are completely free or low cost. So, it’s more so just a matter of understanding and communicating with that person,” Nichols said.

The goal of Hire Me SC is to promote inclusion and make it so that employment for everyone in South Carolina is the norm rather than the exception. The annual event is powered by both Able SC and the SC Disability Employment Coalition.

Wednesday’s summit is at the Palmetto Club on Sumter Street in Columbia, from 10:30 AM – 3:00 PM.

If your company is interested in taking part, register at hiremesc.org.

Able SC