NEW YORK, Sept. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In recognition of Labor Day, the National Organization on Disability (NOD) proudly salutes the "Fine Nine" – nine national companies that have recognized a unique and highly productive talent pool – Americans with disabilities. These companies are all making the hiring of employees with disabilities a corporate priority.
"These companies are breaking new ground in employment best practices – and are reaping the benefits of a diverse and remarkably productive workforce," said Carol Glazer, NOD President. "NOD applauds our partner employers for recognizing the value in hiring people with disabilities, expanding their diversity programs, and in the process, creating a more inclusive workforce across the nation.
"As we celebrate Labor Day 2011, we salute these 'Fine Nine' employers and thank them for their outstanding contributions through NOD's innovative Bridges to Business program."
A 2010 Harris survey sponsored by Kessler Foundation and NOD found that most Americans with disabilities are still struggling with many of the same economic issues they confronted a generation ago. Employment remains the largest gap between people with and without disabilities. Among all working-age people with disabilities, only 21% say they are employed full or part time, compared to 59% of people without disabilities – a gap of 38 points.
NOD is working to change that trend line through Bridges to Business – an ongoing initiative to help employers to effectively recruit, hire, train, and retain employees with disabilities; and to help agencies that provide job training and placement services to candidates with disabilities work more effectively with businesses.
Sam's Club was one of the first companies to provide funding to the National Organization on Disability for the Bridges to Business program.
"We see great potential in this program," said Executive Vice President of Operations, Todd Harbaugh. "We are working with NOD and a consortium of suppliers in an effort to set an example that will change the way that people with disabilities are hired in the US – and hopefully beyond."
Starting in Bentonville, Arkansas, where Sam's Club is headquartered, NOD is convening a consortium of businesses and assisting members in increasing awareness and opportunities for people with disabilities.
JB Hunt was the first employer to join this consortium and has enlisted NOD to assist with policy review, personnel training, and connections to disability placement agencies for 50 new positions.
Tyson Foods, also part of the Bridges to Business Employer Consortium, is looking at best practices on a national level, and training for recruiting managers and assistance with local and national contacts.
Lowe's has a long-time commitment to hiring people with disabilities and utilizes both NOD and the public vocational rehabilitation network to build awareness of the company's job opportunities for people with disabilities. "We draw on the strength of collaboration, bringing together many unique individuals in the workplace and the community to better meet the needs of our employees and our customers," said Steve Szilagyi, Senior Vice President of Distribution at Lowe's.
Aetna is one of several New Jersey businesses seeking to build a pipeline of candidates with disabilities for open positions. Aetna is assigning a recruiter to work with NOD Bridges to Business staff to train their senior recruiters and secure potential candidates.
Sodexo is also part of the New Jersey employer consortium that has identified 15 sites across the state to recruit candidates with disabilities. NOD is also assisting Sodexo with candidates for offices in Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania.
ADP has joined this consortium of New Jersey employers and has, with support from NOD, developed a process for identifying and recruiting qualified job candidates with disabilities.
Saint Barnabus Health Care System, one of New Jersey's largest health care delivery systems, recently joined with NOD and made a commitment to actively recruit and hire people with disabilities.
Toys "R" Us—NOD's newest Bridges to Business partner—has asked the organization to help with the launch of disability employment efforts in two of their distribution centers.
About the National Organization on Disability
The National Organization on Disability (NOD) is a private, non-profit organization that promotes the full participation of America's 54 million people with disabilities through a focus on increasing employment opportunity. For more information, visit www.nod.org.
SOURCE National Organization on Disability