In an era with historically low unemployment and increasing global competition, the demand for a robust and skilled workforce is growing. As such, people with disabilities play an essential role in meeting this growing need and in America’s overall economic success.
Observed each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates the public about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. This year’s theme of “The Right Talent, Right Now” reflects a commitment to embracing persons with disabilities as an integral part of a robust and competitive American labor force.
Workplaces welcoming of the talents of all people, including people with disabilities, are a critical part of an effort to build an inclusive community and strong economy. Individuals with disabilities add significant value to the workforce and economy, while offering a diverse perspective on solving today’s problems and achieving success. Not surprisingly, employment-population ratios rose for persons with a disability among persons ages 16 to 64, to 30.4 percent in 2018.
A key element of creating an inclusive workforce is the use of universal design of the workplace that takes into consideration the needs of everyone, including people with disabilities. Inclusive universal design cannot be an afterthought, but should be accommodated and planned beforehand. The design should be efficient, subtle, and effective in creating a welcoming and inclusive environment without putting any undue focus on anyone, thereby creating a welcoming workplace that lends itself to a more innovative and productive organization.
Universal design is not a design style, but an orientation to design based on these principles:
- Disability is not a special condition of a few;
- It is ordinary and affects most of us for some part of our lives;
- If a design works well for people with disabilities, it works better for everyone;
- Usability and aesthetics are mutually compatible.
This is especially important to help individuals with disabilities lead lives that are as normal as possible and allow them to become and to feel self-reliant. Universal design can therefore be applied at home, in public areas, and on business premises.
At Scioto Properties, we work to increase accessibility to housing and residential services to individuals with a wide variety of disabilities. By doing so, we believe that not only are we helping to enhance the quality of life for the individual, but to create a stronger community, as well.