I have a 24-year-old son who is developmentally disabled, and I know first-hand how difficult it is for these individuals to find an employer willing to give them a chance. Typically, they barely make it through the door, and the answer is "No"--simply based on how they look, act, or speak.

My son--and so many others like him--are capable of accomplishing amazing things. They are skilled, strong, eager, dedicated, and ready and very anxious for full-time employment. They hope to get off government support and live independently. They dream of having an opportunity to prove themselves.

Gallup and the University of Massachusetts at Boston report that only 34 percent of all developmentally disabled individuals are employed. This is a tremendous waste of energy and talent. Given the opportunity, many developmentally disabled individuals will be extremely loyal, hard-working, punctual, peer and customer-inspiring employees who will remain in it for the long haul.

Not convinced yet? Here are 11 reasons why hiring developmentally disabled employees can help your business, your customers--and your bottom line.

1. Employers love them

They win over employers' (and customers') hearts with their sincere smiles and willingness to do anything to help. Employers report that their disabled employees have a great propensity to remain open to new ideas and listen.

2. Increased profits

The majority of employers who have made the leap and hired a disabled employee have seen a positive impact on productivity and profitability.

3. They have staying power

Unlike their job-hopping peers, the developmentally disabled are grateful to have a job and do not seek new employment regularly. Think of the money saved not having to go through yet another hiring and training process.

4. They want to succeed

Employers agree that these employees are committed to their work and dedicated to the company and exhibit a very strong desire to succeed and regularly seek more responsibility.

5. They're reliable

They were rated higher on less sick days, arriving on time for work daily, and returning on time from breaks than their co-workers.

6. They're productive

Employers have enthusiastically indicated that they continually meet or exceed the performance of their peers, increasing company profitability.

7. They continue to improve

Their work performance improves steadily over time. Even those workers with more profound disabilities have shown great improvement--contributing to the bottom line.

8. They are happy to be there

No attitudes here. Employers report that they are extremely satisfied with their developmentally disabled employees because they truly love their jobs, embrace the opportunity to help the company grow, and respect authority.

9. They inspire others

Employers have witnessed camaraderie and a positive effect on their entire staff. Co-workers seem much more open to teamwork when a developmentally disabled employee is on their team. They have also witnessed other employees enthusiastically helping disabled employees be successful.

10. Customers like them

A survey conducted by the Illinois Dept. of Commerce & Economic Opportunity revealed that 93 percent of customers said they preferred to purchase from a company that employed individuals with disabilities.

11. They inspire a change for the better

It takes action to beget action. If more companies would hire developmentally disabled employees, others would be inspired to do the same when they witness first-hand what an incredible asset they can be.

What better way to kick off 2015 than to hire a developmentally disabled employee?

Published on: Dec 19, 2014