Envisioning an Inclusive Workforce
In observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDAM), Disability Services would like to highlight the importance of creating an inclusive workforce in which everyone gets equal opportunity to contribute by sharing their skills and talents. Even though communities and organizations around the world have been working endlessly to promote awareness and equality for working people with disabilities, the employment statistics of people ages 16 years and older still show an employment gap between people with disabilities and those without disabilities. The U.S Department of Labor (2018) revealed that as of September, 21.4% of people with disabilities were employed compared to 68.2% of people without disabilities. Moreover, 7.3% of people with disabilities are unemployed, compared to 3.4% of people without disabilities. Therefore, there is a lot more that needs to be done to ensure that people with disabilities can find sustainable employment that allows them to provide for themselves and their families as well as make a positive contribution to society.
President Truman took the initiative of highlighting issues related to disability employment on August 11, 1945 by declaring the first week in October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” Through the work of the Truman administration, campaigns were broadcasted publicly to convince business owners to hire people with disabilities. In 1962, the word “physically” was eliminated in National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week to recognize individuals with all types of disabilities. The campaign was extended to the entire month of October and renamed as National Disability Employment Awareness Month in 1988. Since 2001, the Office of Disability Employment Policy has coordinated and promoted the campaign by collaborating with disability-related organizations and employers nationally every year in an effort to emphasize the role of disability in workforce diversity.
Georgia State University is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes qualified students with disabilities to work for the university. In order to provide equal access and opportunities to student employees with disabilities, reasonable accommodations may be needed as per the Americans with Disabilities Act which prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of disability. A reasonable accommodation refers to a change in the job or environment that allows a qualified employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of his or her job. Some examples of accommodations include:
- restructuring a job
- modifying work schedules
- providing interpreters
- redesigning work areas and equipment or acquiring new equipment
- ensuring facility accessibility to those with physical disabilities
Disability Services works to provide such accommodations for those students who work on campus or participate in internships and practicums as part of their academic programs.
Accommodations are made on a case by case basis, taking into account the type and severity of the disability and the specific job requirements involved. The University works with eligible student employees to identify the most appropriate accommodation in a given situation. An accommodation need not be the most expensive or ideal accommodation, or the specific accommodation requested by the student employee so long as it is effective. Student employees who require accommodations to perform their employment duties properly and safely should advise their supervisor of their needs and must complete and submit the following forms to Disability Services:
- Voluntary Disclosure Form
- Accommodation Request Form
- ADA Medical Certification Form
Once the request has been received by Disability Services, the office will contact the student employee’s immediate supervisor and ask them to complete the necessary paperwork. The Director of Disability Services will then review all documentation to make a determination about accommodation eligibility. Forms to Request Student Employee Accommodations can be obtained from the Disability Services office located at each Georgia State University location.
U.S Department of Labor. (2018). Americans with Disabilities Act 25th Anniversary Timeline
[Online Pamphlet]. Retrieved from