By Laurel Rossi, Co- Founder Creative Spirit
I’m always captivated by the optimism of a new year—even in the midst of a global pandemic. I’ve been guilty of declaring that “this is the year I…” many times in the past, but this year is different. In 2022, I’m determined on turning resolutions to raise awareness and change the situation of people with disabilities (PWD) in the workplace for good. When we started Creative Spirit in 2017, we believed that if we simply highlighted the fact that people with disabilities have much to offer and are worthy of a fair, living wage, then everything would change. But we needed to do more. In 2020, at the height of Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) activity, we set out to show companies WHY employing PWD enhances their organizations and HOW to employ people with disabilities at scale. In 2022, we’re vowing to make good on our promise to the one billion people with disabilities around the world, and 63 million employable adults, to ensure employment for one million PWD by 2030. In 2021, we launched Creative Spirit Connect, a virtual Facebook community designed to connect people with disabilities professionally and socially and to promote awareness of Creative Spirit’s services. Visit this link to see the group: https://bit.ly/34JZXn8.
Perspective is a wonderful thing.
We now have three decades of insight available—from the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 until today – to see that without each and every employer’s commitment, nothing happens. 85% of people with intellectual, developmental, and learning disabilities, and 43% of people with physical disabilities, are still unemployed. In the U.S., people with disabilities can still be paid sub-minimum wage through 14c, an outdated provision of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Three decades of perspective and turning resolutions into action have taught us that unless every citizen is motivated, and unless every employer signs on to the mission of ensuring that at least 7% of their workforce includes people with disabilities, nothing will happen during this decade as well.
What can we all do?
- Ask your employer if they hire people with disabilities.
- Refer companies with 15 employers or more to Creative Spirit for an informational session.
- If you are an HR professional or DEI leader, contact Creative Spirit today.
- Support important employment legislation, especially the legislation to eliminate 14C, the law that allows PWD to be paid subminimum wages, such as the Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (HR 2373).
- Support or donate to Creative Spirit so we can continue our non-profit efforts to put 1 million people with disabilities in fair wage positions by 2030.
Full inclusion for people with disabilities, especially in employment, is not a pipe dream, but a very attainable goal by turning resolutions into action. I am optimistic that 2022 will be the year that neither a pandemic nor three decades of inaction deter us from making it a reality.
All the best,