SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a Sioux Falls nonprofit hosted some important training events all week for business leaders and professionals in the community.
There’s an important role people with disabilities play in the workforce.
“I think everywhere we go we hear, ‘Apply now; people are hiring,'” Vicky Stewart with Employment Disability Resources said.
With a shortage of workers across KELOLAND, the 12 percent of South Dakotans living with a disability can be a big asset to many businesses.
“People with disabilities are going to bring really unique perspectives and ways to problem solve that we might not have if we’re people without disabilities,” Emily Schuman, the Director of the Rocky Mountain ADA Center, said.
But oftentimes, a prospective employee with a disability is met with skepticism.
“A lot of times there are questions about reasonable accommodations; businesses think it’s going to cost a lot to provide a reasonable accommodation. That typically isn’t the case,” Stewart said.
As the executive director of the nonprofit Employment Disability Resources, Stewart works to help connect Sioux Falls businesses with people who have disabilities all year round. During this special awareness month, the nonprofit focuses on training.
“One of the presentations Emily did this week was disability etiquette; that’s beneficial for any business, whether they have employees with disabilities, they have customers with disabilities. Communicating with people with various disabilities,” Stewart said.
The director of the Rocky Mountain ADA Center was in Sioux Falls all week meeting with different HR and professional groups about important ADA topics.
“We offer free assistance, information and training for people who want to know more about how the law applies to them, what their rights and responsibilities are,” Schuman said.
“We’re just really trying to make that connection and make businesses more comfortable in realizing people with disabilities are just people and they have gifts and talents just like everyone else,” Stewart said.
Nearly 300 people attended the three different training events the regional ADA director hosted in the Sioux Falls area.