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Hiring people with disabilities is good for business, good for Arizona

disabilities, jobs, One Step Beyond, job retention, Americans with Disabilities Act

Arizona-based One Step Beyond provides comprehensive programming and services for adults who have intellectual disabilities. Hiring employees who have disabilities can improve company’s profit margin. Pictured here are Dylan Rogers, on left, a participant in the One Step Beyond programs, and a One Step Beyond team member Veronica Osorio. (Photo by Kevin Burliegh).

People with disabilities have long been underrepresented or excluded from the workforce based on employers’ low expectations and prejudiced bias about abilities. As CEO of an Arizona-based organization that promotes opportunity and inclusion for individuals with intellectual disabilities, I can tell you that things are looking up, but there is still more to do.

We recently celebrated the 32nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. A step that took a giant leap in recognizing the abilities and possibilities of individuals with a disability.

Madison Blanton, One Step Beyond, disabilities, hiring, tax credit

Madison Blanton (Photo by One Step Beyond)

Individuals who have disabilities want to be active contributors to their communities and achieve their highest level of self-reliance. For that reason, my organization developed several unique approaches that not only assist these individuals in fulfilling their dreams of attaining meaningful employment but also ensure employers receive valuable employees. Our pre-vocational and vocational programs provide participants with the necessary training and support to enter the workforce.

There are many benefits of hiring people with disabilities. Some of the reasons may surprise you.

Hiring individuals who have disabilities can increase your profit margin. 

Many studies out there cite stats about businesses that actively seek to employ people with disabilities outperform companies that do not. The results found that revenues, net income and profit margins increased. They also show that employers embracing disabilities saw increased employee retention.

Hiring individuals with disabilities broadens your horizons, improves company culture, increases employee motivation and reduces turnover.

Think about this. Here are some characteristics of people who have a disability:

  • Higher motivation to work
  • Very loyal to their employer
  • Friendlier dealings with customers
  • Perform more consistently

And here are a few advantages of hiring people with disabilities:

  • Lower absenteeism rates
  • Lower employee turnover
  • Overall positive work environment

I can tell you that individuals who have disabilities often look at problems differently and bring innovative thinking to the home and workplace. Creative thinking, loyalty, and friendlier dealings with co-workers and customers sound like a great work culture to me!

Ask anyone who knows someone with disability. They work hard and show up…every time. They are loyal and appreciate the opportunity to participate actively in the community.

Hiring signs are everywhere. The pandemic and other economic issues have forced organizations to be creative with their hiring efforts. Individuals with disabilities are an untapped target market for open positions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.4 million adults in Arizona have a disability. That’s 24% or one in four adults. Potentially a largely untapped talent pool of 1.4 million people with diverse strengths, leadership styles and ways of thinking.

Tax Benefits

According to the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), an organization that hires someone who has a disability may qualify for the Disabled Access Credit, Barrier Removal Tax Credit Deduction and Work Opportunity Tax Credit.

There are many reasons to consider hiring someone with a disability—the above focuses on how their presence affects the bottom line. But the reasons say nothing about how it will make you feel and the joy it will bring to your heart.

Madison Blanton is CEO of Arizona-based One Step Beyond, a leading provider of comprehensive programming and services for adults who have intellectual disabilities. For more information about vocation and pre-vocation programs or to inquire about becoming an employment partner, visit


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