At our recent LBA meeting, we explored hiring from the disability's community. Individuals from this community can have more difficulty finding employment. With the current labor shortages, employers may be curious about connecting with this pool of potential employees.
Our speaker, Kimberle Monroe, M.S., CRC, Manager of Workforce Resources, and guest Julia Massey, Case Manager, Traditional Family Support with Bobby Dodd Institute, shared with us information on how businesses can connect with organizations to hire individuals with disabilities to create or expand an inclusive work environment. The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) and associated providers, such as Bobby Dodd Institute (BDI), facilitate and support employment for individuals with disabilities, such as Intellectual or Developmental, Mental Health, Physical, Vision, or Hearing.
GVRA has several providers contracted with their agency to assist individuals in achieving employment goals through job training and placement supports, such as BDI, Tommy Nobis Center, and Goodwill Industries. BDI Institute provides many services, including Workforce Resources for job training and placement services. Other services offered at BDI include Family Support, Benefits Navigation, and Georgia Community Trust.
In addition to the services BDI provides, they also employ individuals with disabilities. BDI has several businesses that support contracts (some federal) in facilities management, call centers and switchboards, administrative services, supply chain, and logistics.
Where should you begin as a business open to hiring individuals with disabilities? Companies can get in touch with the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency. Information specific to businesses wanting to hire individuals with disabilities can be found on their website at: https://gvs.georgia.gov/businesses. Companies can also contact non-profit agencies that provide placement support for individuals with disabilities, such as BDI. Companies can find information about BDI on their website: https://bobbydodd.org/ as well as obtain information on Disability Awareness: https://bobbydodd.org/empowers/disability-awareness-training/. For inquiries regarding services, call 678.365.0071 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For an individual who receives government benefits such as Social Security, where should they learn how employment could impact their benefits? Individuals receiving SSI or SSDI should speak with a Benefits Navigator Representative by calling the Social Security Administration Ticket to Work helpline at 1.866.968.7842 and request a referral to a Work Incentives Planning and Assistance Agency (WIPA). The helpline will prescreen and then connect the individual with an appropriate WIPA. BDI is an approved WIPA for the Social Security Administration. Additional information regarding employment support services for Social Security Disability Beneficiaries who want to work can be found on the Ticket to Work website’s page at: https://choosework.ssa.gov/.
-----Sandra Waldrop, PhD, LBA and Kimberle Monroe, M.S., CRC, Manager of Workforce Resources at BDI