Finding Dedicated Workers During Record Low Unemployment Rates

News Release
For Immediate Release: 10/26/2021

Jeff Powell, (402) 471-6223,
Jeff.Powell@Nebraska.Gov ​


Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recognizes the month of October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). NDEAM gives Nebraskans an opportunity to commemorate the many and varied contributions people with disabilities make in America's workplaces and the economy.

Nebraska has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 2.0%, the lowest rate ever recorded in the state. While this is good news and an excellent sign for Nebraska's economy, many employers are struggling to find dedicated employees to cover shifts.

One potential untapped resource is the underutilized population of individuals with disabilities. A survey of companies conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity showed that hiring individuals with disabilities can have a positive influence on coworkers, customers, the community, and a company's bottom line. Key findings of the survey analysis concluded: 

  • Companies see business improvements when they hire individuals with disabilities
    • Multiple dividends are cited, including the addition of highly motivated employees, demonstrating a welcoming culture that's attractive to critical talent pools, and improving customer satisfaction. 
  • The profile of a worker with disabilities reads like that of an ideal employee
    • Descriptors of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities include: dependable, engaged, motivated, great attendance, attention to work quality, and high productivity. 
  • Positive reactions from employers abound
    • Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed say hiring workers with disabilities has been a positive experience, and of those, nearly one-third say the experience has exceeded their expectations. 
  • Challenges are fewer than expected and resources are greater than anticipated
    • Employers report minimal difficulty with preconceived challenges, while support resources for a successful placement—like job profile matching and guided onboarding—are readily available.

Employment is also beneficial to individuals with disabilities. Work gives individuals a sense of purpose and self-worth. It also improves individual and family finances and helps people connect socially. Most importantly, employment gives people the opportunity to be full members of their community where they can live, learn, work, and play.

There are resources available for employers to find dedicated employees, and for individuals with disabilities to find meaningful employment in their community. 

DHHS partners with Nebraska VR, a program within the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) that helps people with disabilities prepare for, find, and keep jobs while also helping businesses recruit, train, and retain employers with disabilities.

“The studies show clearly that employing individuals with disabilities is both a win for the employee and the employer," said Developmental Disabilities Divison Director Tony Green. “With the unemployment rate at historic lows in Nebraska, now is the perfect time to make this consideration and contact Nebraska VR."

"Nebraska VR is proud to be a partner with DHHS and celebrate this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month," said Nebraska VR Director Lindy Foley. "We want to spread the important message that we value all perspectives, including those of individuals with disabilities. Full access to employment and community during our state's and nation's recovery from the challenges of the pandemic are essential."

Employers who are interested in learning more are encouraged to contact Nebraska VR Business Account Managers and Employment Specialists. Individuals with disabilities who are interested in employment should reach out to their local Nebraska VR Service Office or to their Service Coordinator.​​

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