Congrats! We’re so pleased that you’re taking steps toward welcoming individuals with developmental disabilities into your workforce. And the good news is that you’ve taken the correct first step: doing your research. There are some differences and accommodations that need to be considered, and collecting information is a great starting point in your endeavor to diversify your workplace with DDIs (Developmentally Disabled Individual(s)).
If you are a business owner or manager, there are some important questions to think about when hiring an individual with developmental disabilities: What accommodations will the company need? How much training is needed for everyone else in the workplace? What would be a good work schedule and what type of tasks might they be asked to do. We could go on forever about this topic, but for this post, let’s focus on these main questions for now.
What accommodations will the company need?
This is a tough question to answer without knowing the specific needs of the person with developmental disabilities. In general, companies should be prepared for whatever may come. For example, if they need to take frequent breaks because of their disability or have difficulty concentrating, a company needs to know that and include these expectations in the job description so it’s clear from the beginning. These accommodations will depend on what has been determined in pre-employment testing so you can know ahead of time. The goal is to have no surprises.
What would be a good work schedule and what type of tasks might they be asked to do.
The work schedule is very variable and will depend on the person’s needs. If they need more time to complete tasks, then you might assign them less complex or shorter projects so it doesn’t take as long for them to get through it. You could also find a job within your company that allows for irregular or fewer hours with fewer physical demands like data entry.
How much training is needed for everyone else in the workplace?
Training for co-workers will depend on the person’s needs and what type of job they have. We realize there are a lot of “depends on…” in this post. Every individual is different and will require some special onboarding and accommodations. These are small prices to pay to open up your organization to a pool of strong, hard workers who want to add to your efforts in any way they can. You’ll also be adding diversity to your team, which will make it stronger.
In order to get the most out of their abilities and avoid any confusion, it’s helpful to set up a meeting with them right away as they start so you can discuss what their strengths are and how best they can contribute.
We would like to help with any and all of this! Have you heard of our program, Team Works? We support vocational rehabilitation eligible individuals with obtaining and keeping employment in the greater Omaha area!
Our program provides the needed support for individuals to prepare for, find, apply to, and keep competitive employment opportunities that fit within their lifestyle. Our personalized approach to customized employment helps place skilled individuals in the workforce.
We also offer area businesses guidance on recruiting, training and retaining employees with support needs. Let’s get together and talk about involving DDIs in your workforce.