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Symposiums encouraged employers hire people with disabilities

By JR Ortega
Oct. 6, 2010 at 5:06 a.m.
Updated Oct. 7, 2010 at 5:07 a.m.

How do you approach hiring someone with a disability? How do you go about accommodating someone with a disability?

Those and other questions regarding disability in the workplace were discussed at the Victoria Disability Coalition's fourth annual Employer Symposium.

Billy Blanchard, the disability navigator for Workforce Solutions Golden Crescent, and Megan Tuttle, president of the disability coalition, talked about Wednesday's symposium.

What is the employer symposium about?

BLANCHARD: This is our fourth year doing the employer symposium. The goal of the employer symposium to encourage employers to hire individuals with disabilities as employees. In the Golden Crescent, that has been an issue that has come up a few times that there aren't as many employers that are employing people that have disabilities and we want to reassure their fears.

Who would benefit from coming to the employer symposium?

BLANCHARD: Employers. Who we really like to target is smaller employers because large employers are required by the law to do things for the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any employer who is looking for employees. This would be a good opportunity to learn about a new resource.

What will someone learn at the employer symposium?

TUTTLE: Employers can learn about different types of accommodations that are cost efficient and creative at that and we address all the needs of the individual with the disability. Also they can learn about tax incentives, direct funding that they can receive for hiring

people with disabilities.

How important is it to understand disabilities in the workplace?

TUTTLE: There is a lot of people with disabilities in the community right now who have extraordinary talent and they are an untapped market and employers would really benefit by having them on their workforce.

How did the employer symposium begin?

BLANCHARD: The way that this started was we just started the employer symposium that was a collaboration of a bunch of different service agencies that work with people who have disabilities. That has been the big focus. Following that year, we decided it was time to start a disability coalition that is made up of all these groups and is solely responsible for coordinating all these efforts in Victoria.

TUTTLE: All the agencies involved have a vested interest in getting these individuals back to work. That's our job and we believe in the cause, in the mission. We genuinely think they are a good resource for the community.


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