- The New York Post reports that the Brooklyn-based 106-year old company, Alphapointe, has a dedicated staff of employees who are mostly blind. The company handles manufacturing and assembly, along with warehousing and product fulfillment for city and state agencies. Additionally, the company has an inbound call center and places well-trained employees with other businesses.
- A 2013 DePaul University study found that the unemployment rate among blind Americans is around 75%, but that blind workers typically take fewer sick days than sighted workers and have a much lower turnover rate than the general employee population.
- Reinhard Mabry, president and CEO of Alphapointe, told the Post that employees receive accommodation tailored to their individual needs.
Alphapointe has perhaps found a way to improve the diversity of its workforce while also addressing the skills gap.
And while the need to make accommodations may deter some employers, the Job Accommodation Network says that most accommodations cost nothing and very few cost more than $500. Moreover, JAN offers free consultations to help employers brainstorm accommodations that enable workers to do their jobs. In addition, tax breaks are available to businesses that employ workers with disabilities, potentially offsetting any costs.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy also offers employers a wealth of information on the topic, including a database of candidates that it describes as "highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs."