Experts comment on how companies benefit by hiring individuals with disabilities


Jay S. Himmelstein, MD, MPH


Of the 360,000 working-age adults with disabilities in Massachusetts, only half are likely to be employed. Those who can find work earn roughly half the average income as people without disabilities. Nonetheless, estimates suggest that half of all adults with disabilities in Massachusetts would like to work and can support themselves and their families if they were able to connect with potential employment opportunities.

In a Nov. 10 op-ed for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, Jay S. Himmelstein, MD, MPH, professor of family medicine & community health and medicine, and James R. Salzano, executive vice president of The Clarks Companies, N.A., and chairman of the Work Without Limits Business Advisory Group, detail the barriers disabled individuals face in attaining employment.

To overcome these barriers, the authors outline how companies can benefit from building a diverse workforce and inclusive workplace with the aid of programs such as Work Without Limits. Developed by the UMass Medical School and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Work Without Limits program reaches across constituencies to create and strengthen the infrastructure that supports people with disabilities, in part by engaging with employers to create disability employment programs that meet their business needs as well as the needs of employees with disabilities. Read more about the program here.

“Employers have too often been left to chart their own course when hiring people with disabilities,” write the authors. “They need to have ready access to the expertise necessary to help them create a truly diverse and inclusive workplace.”

Read the full article at the Telegram and Gazette.