Nonprofit works to improve the workplace for people with disabilities

Blind person outside
Posted at 8:03 AM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 08:11:34-04

NORFOLK, Va. - While there has been some improvement, there are still hurdles for people with disabilities who are trying to work.

That's why there is a big push to make improvements right now as part of National Disability Employment Awareness month.

Bob Lancaster, chair of Virginia Ability, says there are still barriers, especially for those who are hard of hearing or visually impaired.

The nonprofit is trying to work with businesses on steps they can take to improve their cultures and hiring practices.

Lancaster says if businesses overlook people with disabilities, they overlook a lot of talent.

"I have a daughter with Down syndrome, so she has an intellectual disability. She's been working full time for about four years now, and she's dedicated to her job," said Lancaster, "She shows up every day. There's there's just so much talent and value that's added to the organization."

Virginia Ability has an online forum coming up on Oct. 26.

The focus is on ensuring people with disabilities have full access to employment, especially during the pandemic.

Last year's forum focused on ABLEnow acccounts.

It's a savings account that lets people with disabilities save money tax-free without losing certain benefits.

"At last year's forum, we talked about what businesses can do, offering ABLEnow as an alternative to 401ks and allow employees to contribute to that and match their contributions," said Lancaster.

Click here to learn more about the accounts.

Businesses can also find resources for improving their workplace and hiring practices by clicking here.