Earlier this summer, Alabama‘s unemployment rate in August 2022 hit a historic low at 2.6%.
Can it get any lower? Absolutely.
“Inside” those monthly unemployment statistics is the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities.
According to Department of Labor statistics, around 430,000 Alabamians have a disability. Only 115,000–or approximately 25% of those individuals—are employed.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
To celebrate, United Ability Employment Services and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) will host the Second Annual disABILITY Hiring Expo on October 13 at 2:00 PM at United Ability’s LINCPoint Adult Program building.
Put Individuals with Disabilities in Front of Employers
“Even though the unemployment rate overall is really low for the state, unemployment for individuals with disabilities is very high,” Katie Dumais, Director of Employment Services, told Bham Now. “Many of those individuals looking for work want to work, they just need someone to give them a chance. That’s why we have these hiring expos. To put individuals with disabilities in front of employers.”
The hiring expo is open to any individual with a disability, not just clients of United Ability.
“Our main goal is to get individuals with disabilities into jobs… and we encourage employers to tap into this widely untapped population in the workforce,” added Dumais.
Hibbetts – More Than a Job
One company that will be attending the upcoming hiring expo is Birmingham-headquartered Hibbetts Sporting Goods.
“Diversity and inclusion are very important for our business, and our communities,” described Greg Sherrell, Director of Human Resources at Hibbett distribution center. “To work with United Ability — to give individuals an opportunity who may not have that opportunity to get work experience is rewarding for me personally and our employees.”
Hibbetts has hired people with disabilities to work in their sorting area, where they pack and send merchandise to one of the nearly 1100 stores nationwide. They also work in e-commerce, pulling orders, packing and printing shipping labels.
“They are very excited to come to work. It makes me proud we’re able to provide that opportunity.”
More Than 20+ Companies to Join Hiring Expo
United Ability is expecting 20 or more companies to participate in the Hiring Expo. Interested businesses can join the event right until the day before the 13th.
This year, the kinds of businesses expected to attend are more diverse than the inaugural event in 2021.
Some of the businesses come from the following categories:
- Food, service
On the day of the event, job seekers are encouraged to be ready for interviews and make sure to bring along their resume.
“Come with a resume in hand, dress for success because a lot of our vendors are prepared to do on site interviews that day. We had over 45 individuals either offered employment or received an interview last year and we would love to have that number go up this year,” advised Ben Bailey, United Ability’s Lead Transition Specialist within the Employment Services Department.
Circle You Calendar
“This hiring expo not only puts individuals with disabilities in front of employers that are hiring but also empower employers to take into consideration hiring more individuals from this population,” concluded Dumais.