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INDIANAPOLIS — Language barriers and disabilities are just two hurdles that some job seekers face.
These people want to work and can work, but sometimes employers are hesitant to hire them.
Because of that, advocacy groups are hard at work trying to educate employers and fill the growing number of open jobs in Indiana.
“Human beings, in general, are very good-natured, and want to do the right thing,” explains Tiffany Hanson, “Most people that I talk to about diversity and inclusion work typically don’t know any differently until a complaint comes in, or someone tells them about it.”
The LUNA Language Services Outreach and Engagement Manager says, oftentimes, applicants aren’t sure how to speak up for themselves, whether it’s about disability accommodation or a language barrier.
“If employers could understand that the talent is there, it’s a very resilient population,” says Hanson, “And if they can harness that and just give them the tools to be able to overcome that language barrier, they can also use the perspective of these folks from different backgrounds who do things differently to be able to become more innovative in their workplaces, and to even be able to further the work that they’re doing.”
That was just one topic covered during a recent event bringing together the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, advocacy groups, and professionals.
“Companies get into a habit, and they only recruit from one spot and say ‘this is the way we’ve always done it, and this is the way we’re going to do it,’” explains Brien Shoemaker, the EEOC’s Outreach and Education Coordinator, “If you have those biases already, it’s about identifying those things, and then trying to figure out ways where you can get past that so we can have a more diverse workforce.”
Shoemaker says his goal is to work himself out of a job by creating equal opportunities in workplaces across the Hoosier state.
“If you create an environment like that, if you break down the barriers to employment, you create an environment where it’s a respectful workplace, it’s a civil place, people want to work there, [and] people do not want to leave, a lot of the problems that you have in finding good talent disappear because you already have it.”
If you’re an employer and you think you could do a better job when it comes to diversifying your workforce, Shoemaker suggests you reach out to the EEOC and other advocacy groups in the community that will be more than happy to provide education.
If you’re a job seeker, organizations like LUNA Language Services, Morales Group Staffing, Tangram were created to help remove barriers and can help you during your job search process.
For more information on the EEOC’s Training and Outreach programs, click here.
Organizations able to help job seekers facing barriers: