- Amazon, the e-commerce giant, has been stepping up efforts to diversify its workforce by partnering with Northwest Center, a Seattle-based nonprofit organization dedicated to placing disabled adults into meaningful careers. So far, the company has acquired 120 new employees this way.
- Now Microsoft and Zulily, and other companies, are turning to Northwest Center to recruit adults for a variety of jobs.
- There's still a long way to go, however, says Taryn Farley, community employment services manager for Northwest Center. "Many people with disabilities live at or below the poverty line," she told Geek Wire. U.S. Census data places around one-third of disabled work-age Americans living in poverty.
There is a real need for more job coaches to work between employers and nonprofit agencies that are focused on disabled employment. As Amazon, Microsoft, Zulily, and others develop recruitment and job placement programs for disabled adults, more companies may begin to see the value and unique diversity they bring to the workplace. Microsoft made news when they revealed the success of their program hiring engineers with autism, for example.
Additionally, more education geared towards recruiters on how to facilitate the hiring of disabled people into the right kinds of jobs will help. More companies can create work cultures that retain disabled adults, and agency partnerships that make this a smooth process will help fill at least some skill gaps.