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NC Department of Health and Human Services

People with disabilities and NC businesses are agency’s ‘dual customers’

Release Date: October 2, 2008
Contact: Ed Bristol (919) 855-3569

RALEIGH – The N.C. Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services assisted 6,218 North Carolinians with disabilities in finding jobs last year. The new hires represent a win for the new employees, their employers and their communities, according to the agency’s director.

“We see these folks and their employers as our ‘dual customers,’” says Linda Harrington. “Our services have a payoff for people with disabilities who might otherwise be unemployed and for businesses that have discovered qualified applicants. Plus the community gets a more involved, taxpaying citizen.”

In the year ending June 30, individuals newly employed with the agency’s assistance earned a combined total of $1.8 million per week. According to Harrington, vocational rehabilitation services are among the most cost-effective of any offered by government.

She pointed to statistics from a nationwide study: for every vocational rehabilitation dollar spent, $5 will be returned in taxes from subsequent employment of consumers, and $14 to $18 will be returned to the local economy.

Harrington pointed to several factors that she says give her agency’s applicants an edge in job placement:

Training, screening and job-matching reduce an employer’s recruitment time and costs and help minimize turnover.

Services “stay on the job.”  Agency professionals provide continuing, no-cost follow-up consultation to make sure the employee and job are a good match, and they can offer job-coaching and on-the-job training.

There are also tax incentives available for hiring people with disabilities and for adapting the workplace to accommodate a new employee’s specific disability. National data shows that often no accommodations are required in these situations. When required, accommodations can usually be met at minimal or no cost.

Moreover, says Harrington: “We serve every county in North Carolina so, for every employer, we have a local office not very far away.”

The division provides counseling, training, education, medical, transportation and other services to people with physical, psychiatric or intellectual disabilities to help them become independent, job-ready or both. October is “National Disability Employment Awareness Month.”

For local office and other information: 1-800-689-9090.






Updated: October 14, 2008