MOBILE, AL - Throughout the month of October, United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Mobile and Central Alabama has been honoring the contributions that people with disabilities make to the workforce and within our local business community. In 2014, UCP's Supported Employment assisted more than 100 persons with a variety of disabilities (not just cerebral palsy) in finding competitive employment. United Cerebral Palsy also assists with job retention through job readiness, job coaching and long-term follow up services.
The agency's Supported Employment and Steps programs serve individuals with disabilities not only in Mobile and Baldwin Counties, but throughout south and central Alabama, including: Montgomery, Bullock, Barbour, Pike, Butler, Autauga, Elmore, Crenshaw, Monroe, Conecuh, Escambia, Covington, Coffee, Dale, Geneva, Houston, and Henry counties.
There are many benefits to employing people with disabilities, and this month our agency's focus is on highlighting those benefits and how the Supported Employment Program works. One primary advantage is that local employers gain a valuable employee who can effectively perform the job required, and another benefit is that persons with disabilities gain meaningful employment. United Cerebral Palsy partners with community businesses that let applicants volunteer at their job site for Situational Assessments. These are trial work experiences that give applicants an opportunity to sample a variety of job tasks, while providing UCP staff time to assess and evaluate real job skills of the applicants.
Once individuals with disabilities are hired, UCP staff provides job coaching (which is like on-the-job training) to ensure the new employees learn their job duties thoroughly and accurately while fulfilling the employer's job requirements. Many participating businesses receive a federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit for employers of up to 40% of the first $6000 or up to $2400 in wages paid during the first 12 months for each new hire.
United Cerebral Palsy also advocates for people with disabilities and helps dismiss myths concerning people with disabilities in the workforce. A study by DuPont Corporation dispelled major myths about people with disabilities and replaced them with the following facts:
No Greater Safety Risk in Hiring Persons with Disabilities*- the study for persons with and individuals without disabilities were identical in the study
Persons with disability do not have more Absenteeism*-the study showed that employees with disabilities are not absent any more than employees without disabilities.
Persons with Disabilities are able to meet Job Performance Standards*- the study showed that 92% of employee with disabilities rated average or better in job performance than employees without disabilities.
Our agency continues to promote the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. If you would like any information on how you get involved with UCP's Supported Employment, please contact Diana Pierce at 251-479-4900.