Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries
Serving Greater Cincinnati

Why Everyone Deserves the Dignity of a Job

At Ohio Valley Goodwill, we believe that all individuals, regardless of disability, deserve to be fully included in their communities. This includes opportunities to live, learn, play, and work alongside their peers. But for many individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, finding employment in their communities can be a challenge. Although many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities want to work, only about one-third are actually employed.

In order to successfully seek and obtain a job, individuals with disabilities need the right tools and resources, which might include varying degrees of support. Common obstacles that individuals with disabilities face in finding employment include:

Physical barriers

First, individuals with disabilities often face barriers in the physical workplace environment. For example, a lack of a wheelchair ramp or elevator in the building can make a workplace difficult (or impossible) to navigate safely. Physical barriers may also include a lack of transportation to the job itself. Even public transportation can pose challenges ““ especially if public transport is offered at inconvenient times or long distances from the work site.

Lack of training or education

The right employment training and education can prepare individuals with disabilities for a successful transition to the workplace. Job training and education programs, such as those offered at Ohio Valley Goodwill, help individuals with disabilities gain the knowledge and skills needed to attract potential employers and gain long-term vocational success.

Negative attitudes or stereotypes

Discrimination based on disability is illegal, but unfortunately, negative attitudes and stereotypes toward individuals with disabilities still exist in many modern workplaces. Employers may have conscious or unconscious prejudices against disabled people that create additional barriers to hiring. These beliefs are misguided and unfounded. In fact, individuals with disabilities are usually highly dependable, motivated, engaged, and conscientious employees. One study found that employers rate their employees with disabilities highly on quality of work and productivity, two factors which have a direct positive impact on the market performance of a business.

Lack of assistive technology

Relevant assistive technology, including assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices, can help people with disabilities adapt to a variety of different work environments and more effectively complete their jobs. For example, individuals who are blind or have visual loss can benefit from using computers with screen readers or screen magnifiers. Speech recognition software can enable people with motor skill impairments to use their voices to complete work on a computer. Adding these accommodations can support valuable employees and create a more efficient, productive workplace for everyone.

Breaking down barriers to employment

Ultimately, working is about more than a paycheck; it gives individuals a sense of fulfillment, purpose, independence, and self-worth. Just like everybody, people with disabilities deserve the opportunity to work in their community. And with the right support, resources, and conditions, many people with disabilities will thrive in the workplace.

Goodwill Logo with text "We Put People to Work!"

Goodwill’s Logo

At Ohio Valley Goodwill, our goal is to help break down the barriers that prevent individuals with disabilities from finding and securing meaningful employment. We offer a variety of life-enriching opportunities, including employment and training programs that were designed to help individuals with disabilities gain vocational success. With career development services, job development placement services, and worksite support services, Ohio Valley Goodwill allows individuals the opportunity to receive the majority of needed services all in one organization. View the complete list of employment and training services we provide for individuals with disabilities.

Find out more about Ohio Valley Goodwill’s 100+ year mission of service in the Greater Cincinnati community and read the inspiring Success Stories that reflect our mission in action. And remember, every time you shop or donate to Ohio Valley Goodwill, you’re supporting life-changing programs and services for individuals with disabilities, helping them go to work in their communities. Thank you for supporting Ohio Valley Goodwill!