INDIANAPOLIS — A shifting trend brought on by the pandemic is helping some companies become more inclusive.
More companies are offering flexible work opportunities which allow those with disabilities more opportunities to find work. For advocates in the disability community like Rasheera Dopson, this change is welcomed.
"I had to be an advocate when I really didn't want to and I was put in the place where I had to speak up," Dopson said. "Taking that form of advocacy, I had to translate that to the workforce. If I can't get access to video captioning, I'm not able to hear what everyone else is hearing and that means I'm behind."
The latest job report for the country shows workers with disabilities are still unemployed at nearly twice the rate of their non-disabled counterparts: 10.9% to 5.9%. It's why companies like Allsup Employment Services are working to get those with disabilities back in the workforce by highlighting accommodations companies can and are making.
"Many times, accommodations are very affordable or free of cost. If employers can make some simple accommodations, you're going to get a qualified individual who's going to be extremely productive back in the work force," Diane Winiarski with Allsup said. "Some of the accommodations are absolutely free..flexible work schedules, work from home arrangements."
However, Dopson warns, once you've hired someone with a disability, the work doesn't stop there.
"If your building is not accessible, if you don't have universal design, different ways in which people can access the workplace environment, it does a person with disability no use to come to your place if it's not adaptable to them," she said. "Accessibility is a need for everyone, it's not just something that should be highlighted or amplified during a time of crisis."