We have gone through some big changes and giant leaps in the 240 years since the United States first became a country. Just when it seems there is no hurdle left to jump, our country extends inclusion to a minority group who has been oppressed. The specific minority group that Goodwill is in a close relationship with are the people with disabilities.
Before 1990 (and unfortunately even after 1990), people with disabilities have been discriminated against in the work place. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 is a law passed by Congress that prohibits discrimination based on disability.
As described by the law a disability includes both mental and physical handicaps. It doesn’t need to be severe or permanent to be considered a disability. This act opened the door to success for people with and without disabilities across the country.
There are five titles that make up the ADA; employment, public entities; including public transportation, public accommodations, telecommunications and miscellaneous provisions. These five titles make up one of the most important laws for every one with any type of disabilities.
As stated in the ADA first title, an employer can’t refuse to hire a prospect based upon an apparent disability. The second act is as important, making school districts and public transportation accessible to people with disabilities. The third act protects the disabled in public accommodations such as hotels, restaurants, stores and other public places. The fourth title requires that all telecommunication companies take steps to ensure equivalent services for consumers with disabilities and, more specifically, people who are hard of hearing or who are deaf. The fifth and final title includes technical provisions that relate to the ADA as a whole.
Nineteen percent of United States citizens currently have disabilities and The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for people with disabilities in the work place.
Since opening its doors in 1933 Goodwill Omaha has always been more than just a thrift store. has been dedicated to helping find jobs for those with barriers to employment, including those with disabilities. Goodwill is so much more than a retail store where it is common to find a good deal. Goodwill trains and employs people with disabilities and others who may be at a competitive disadvantage in the job market. Goodwill and the ADA work hand-in-hand assisting those with disabilities to find jobs and learn the necessary skills required in the work force.
Before the ADA was introduced in 1990 Goodwill was already a leader in training and assisting people with various disabilities through different programs including Work Experience. At that time it was only a one way street and work opportunities were merely a fraction of what they are today.
When employers hear the phrase “hiring a disabled employee” they might think of the overwhelming costs and the dramatic changes that they will have to make, but in reality it usually takes no more than a minor adjustment to accommodate these employees.
Businesses becoming more accessible is crucial to having a full workforce that includes everyone, regardless of their ability. The ADA shows us what can be accomplished when all workers are given an opportunity to use their talents. The Americans with Disabilities Act also makes it easier for wounded warriors and disabled veterans to be protected under the law as well.
Goodwill Work Experience, AbilityOne, and other programs focus on training people with disabilities in a similar way that the ADA has opened up the professional world for everyone with physical and mental disabilities. Goodwill workforce development programs are working harder than ever for the inclusion of people with disabilities in the work place. Here is to a great 25 years under the ADA and to many more!