Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Excerpt from an interview with Chris Brandt, AtWork! CEO, on NW Focus. Click here to see the entire interview.

Nationally the unemployment rate of people with significant disabilities is 75%. Look at what is happening to our economy with a nearly 10% unemployment rate and imagine how devastating that is to a group of people who want to work and have so much to contribute that the unemployment rate is so high. In Washington State it its less. It’s more like 55% or so, because of the Working Age Adult Policy and innovations that AtWork! and other programs have been able to develop. We’ve done a better job of placing people.

Think about 6,000 people with developmental disabilities, and that means cognitive and physical disabilities, who worked in Washington State last year. They earned about $42 million in wages. That’s a big contribution to our economy and is really recognized as an opportunity for employers to take advantage of the unique talents that a person with disabilities brings to their business.

It also increases their market share because 1 in 4 people either is a person with a disability or knows someone who has a disability or is related to someone with a disability or has a neighbor with a disability. People with disabilities who earn income buy things and their families and friends buy things. A lot of people care about businesses who employ people with disabilities, they see them as more community minded and supportive, and so they take their business there.

My neighbor Thad is employed at Kozy Kennels so that’s where I’m going to take my dog for boarding. I’ve seen how much he cares for and loves the dogs and I know my dog is getting extra special care at Kozy Kennels. Those kinds of relationships for businesses are very important.

posted by AtWork! at


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