WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- After 73 years of celebrating the month of October as National Disability Employment Month, Voya Financial, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) team up to tackle the future of work for people with disabilities in the United States. With a shrinking labor pool and a booming economy, Voya, SHRM and NDSS believe Americans living with a disability deserve a fair shot at the American Dream and are joining forces to lead the dialogue and put forth recommendations on what the future of work, from Main Street to Wall Street, should look like for people with disabilities.
"In today's employment climate, companies that let biases get in the way of great talent simply won't be able to compete. People with disabilities offer a valuable pool of potential that is too often overlooked and underestimated. We at SHRM strongly support initiatives that enable people with disabilities to contribute their talent and that encourage employers to hire, develop and promote them. True inclusion means that people of all abilities can discover a path to success in the workplace." Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President and CEO of SHRM said.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in five people in the United States has a disability. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for persons with a disability is 9.2 percent, more than twice that of those with no disability (last reported as 3.7 percent in September 2018). With the most competitive job market in decades and while the unemployment rate continues to hit an all-time low, Voya, SHRM and NDSS are challenging employers to think differently and expand their talent pools to include underrepresented groups such as people with disabilities.
"At Voya Financial, we know that disability inclusion — everywhere, including the workplace — is good for our customers, our employees and society," said Voya Chairman and CEO Rodney O. Martin, Jr. "People with special needs and disabilities have a right to equal opportunities — and they have a right to unlimited opportunities."
NDSS, through its #DSWORKS® Employment Program, has been a catalyst for bringing critical stakeholders to the table, as have SHRM and Voya. Throughout the course of the month, NDSS, Voya and SHRM individually have hosted conferences and events related to inclusion – from SHRM's national Diversity & Inclusion Conference & Exposition held in Atlanta last week, to Voya's "Getting to Equal: The Disability Inclusion Advantage" Symposium held at the New York Stock Exchange this week. Voya has also sponsored NDSS' C21, a pop-up restaurant that hosts dinners for community leaders, elected officials and future employers, entirely staffed by self-advocates with Down syndrome.
"Forward-thinking partners like Voya and SHRM are crucial to helping organizations like NDSS spark a new dialogue about the "future" and what our future workforce will look like for people with disabilities 20, 30 and 40 years from now," NDSS President and CEO Sara Hart Weir said. "As the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, it is our mission to work toward a society in which those with Down syndrome and other disabilities have fair and equal career opportunities. I am proud to join the leadership of SHRM and Voya to invite other change makers to join our efforts and start a new conversation about the future of work in this great country."
An October 2018 National Council on Disability (NCD) report titled "The New Deal to the Real Deal" states "just as people with disabilities are demanding the supports that will give them access to regular jobs, those jobs are changing." By 2020, the report estimates up to 40 percent of jobs will be in the gig economy and says "supports and services need to be available to not only get in the door to employment, but to help people to stay there and thrive, or to invent new ways to be employed through self-employment." Individuals with disabilities need meaningful careers now and in the future economy.
About Voya Financial®
Voya Financial, Inc., helps Americans plan, invest and protect their savings — to get ready to retire better. Serving the financial needs of approximately 14.3 million individual and institutional customers in the United States, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $8.6 billion in revenue in 2017. The company had $528 billion in total assets under management and administration as of June 30, 2018. With a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time — Voya's vision is to be America's Retirement Company®. Certified as a "Great Place to Work" by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Voya is equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible. Voya has been recognized as one of the 2018 World's Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute; one of the 2018 World's Most Admired Companies by Fortune magazine; as a member of the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index; and as a "Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion" on the Disability Equality Index by Disability:IN. For more information, visit voya.com. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @Voya.
About Society for Human Resource Management
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world's largest HR professional society, representing 300,000 members in more than 165 countries. For nearly seven decades, the Society has been the leading provider of resources serving the needs of HR professionals and advancing the practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Visit us at shrm.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @SHRMPress.
About National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS)
The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), is the largest nonprofit in the United States dedicated to advocating for all people with Down syndrome in the world. The mission of NDSS is to be the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome. NDSS provides state-of-the-art, comprehensive programming to all individuals with Down syndrome and their families, which include: The National Advocacy & Public Policy Center in Washington, DC, its Down Syndrome Health Resources & Promotion Program, the first of its kind #DSWORK®️ Employment Program, which is showing the world that people with Down syndrome are ready, willing and ABLE to work as well as the National Buddy Walk® Program. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations and become valued members of welcoming communities. For more information, visit www.ndss.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
SOURCE National Down Syndrome Society