Goodwill® Supports the Long-Term Success of Americans with Disabilities

ROCKVILLE,U.S.A — In October, Goodwill acknowledges the continuing employment needs of the country’s men and women with disabilities during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Promoting this year’s theme, “Inclusion Drives Innovation,” Goodwill will promote its ongoing efforts to train, place and employ people with disabilities throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Despite campaigns like NDEAM and legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), workers with disabilities continue to experience challenges in securing gainful employment. In 2016, according to U.S. Census data, nearly 18 percent of people with disabilities, ages 16 to 64, were employed (compared to 65.3 percent of those without disabilities). In 2016, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 10.5 percent, while the rate for workers without a disability was 4.6 percent. Furthermore, as the population continues to age, the pool of workers with disabilities will grow.

For 115 years, Goodwill Industries International and its network of community-based, autonomous organizations have worked tirelessly to support job seekers with disabilities and specialized circumstances through training, placement and employment efforts. Goodwill organizations collectively served more than 278,000 people with disabilities in-person last year. Local Goodwill organizations provide a broad range of services, including job coaching and transportation, to people with disabilities.

“We truly believe that inclusion drives innovation, and that inclusive workplaces are better workplaces,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “We hope that people will support our ongoing employment efforts for people with disabilities by shopping at and donating to Goodwill, and that area businesses will join our efforts to employ people with disabilities, both during National Disability Employment Awareness Month and throughout the year.”

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), which oversees NDEAM, created this year’s theme with input from many of its partner organizations, including those that represent employers, people with disabilities and their families, plus federal, state and local agencies.

“Americans of all abilities must have access to good, safe jobs,” remarked U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition, and drives innovation.”