The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

November 1, 2012

DHHS, VR discuss benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities

By Ian Faulkner, Staff Writer
SNAP

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), through its Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS), assisted 6,716 people with disabilities with finding work from July 2011 through June 2012, according to a DHHS press release.

This division, which serves people with disabilities and employers interested in hiring them, placed 7 percent more people than the year before.

October marks National Disability Employment Awareness Month and DHHS reminds businesses that employing people with disabilities can be a win-win situation.

According to the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation, individuals, on average, “pay back” the cost of their services through taxes in two to four years of employment.

Furthermore, employment of these individuals generates savings in the cost of no-longer-needed benefits.

There are a number of factors that give DVRS’s applicants an edge with prospective employers.

First, service stays on the the job. Agency professionals provide continuing, no-cost follow-up consultation to make sure the employee and job remain a good match.

Second, the agency compensates employers for providing their referral on-the-job-training. At training’s end, the employer has the option to hire the trainee as a regular employee.

Third, there are tax incentives for hiring people with disabilities and for adapting the workplace to accommodate a new employee’s specific disability. National data shows that often no accommodations are required in these situations. When required, accommodations can usually be met at minimal or no cost.

Additionally, DVRS officials and local area businesses gathered recently to mark Employer Appreciation Day at a light luncheon at the Stanly Small Business Center.

“We serve counties from Murphy to Albemarle. In the Western Region, the Albemarle offices are among the top three of being the very best in our region,” said Kent Millsaps, assistant regional director for NC DVRS.

“We had a goal when we set out, to place as many individuals with disabilities into the work community and into jobs, and our goal is 6,800 placements.

“Behind every number there is an individual, a person that has a story.”

Millsaps went on to explain that Albemarle has a placement goal as well, and it was more than met this year at 110 percent. Millsaps congratulated Stanly County and the city of Albemarle on their accomplishments with getting individuals with disabilities placed in jobs or back to work.

Finally, Piney Point Golf Club was recognized as Employer of the Year at the end of the presentation.

For more information on DVRS, visit their Web site at ncdhhs.gov/dvrs.