Baltimore Businesses to Benefit from Focus on Inclusivity

As progressive American and Maryland society is, private businesses and public bodies sometimes fall down when it comes to recruitment. Public appetite to create and retain inclusive jobs is up, as demonstrated by the Weinberg Foundation’s $250k inclusive jobs impetus. This is seen as a reflection of the general attitude of the workforce to bring enfranchisement to those with alternative needs.

Despite being protected under various anti-discrimination laws, people with alternative workplace needs sometimes struggle with employment. CBS report that 40% of all fit to work people with such needs can’t find work. In Baltimore, however, society is making changes to ensure that everyone will be given employment opportunities.

Delivering for ASD

When considering additional needs in the workplace and what constitutes a protected characteristic, many people will default to thinking of people who have injuries or physical disabilities. However, neurological conditions like those on the autism spectrum are often not considered. The difficulties those diagnosed face in securing employment are not always immediately obvious.

Given that there are 1.5m Americans diagnosed with ASD, according to advocacy group AFAA, there is huge potential for businesses who practice inclusive hiring. What’s more, a 2015 study by PLOS found that there is “strict economic evidence” that suggests hiring autistic adults benefits business. Baltimore boasts an excellent track record of ASD recruitment through Itineris, who received national attention in the WaPo. Their program carefully caters to the needs of adults on the ASD spectrum by providing bespoke coaching and training to gain the skills required to obtain and keep a job, as well as support throughout the recruitment step including liaison with employers.

Support from city hall

Despite the best intentions of business, it is often found that rules and regulations are only as good as the enforcing authority. This is another area in which Baltimoreans can be proud, as city hall and the courts are effective upholders of the rights of those with protected characteristics. This has was clearly outlined in April, where authorities settled $50,000 with a GA based company following a discrimination lawsuit. What’s more, greater pressure was placed on the company to protect against discrimination in the future, demonstrating a city tendency towards continuous improvement.

Preparing the next generation

Between the special advocates like Itineris and the proactive policing of city authorities, big business has become involved with assisting those with additional needs to prepare for work while they are still in school. This is arguably the most sustainable approach, preventing setbacks and bedding in skills at a relatively young age. Among a glut of other companies, WBAL 11 has reported that CVS have provided a mock store experience to coach students along a course with the prospect of full-time work, regardless of their future educational intentions.

Baltimore has a lot to be proud of when it comes to inclusive recruitment. Businesses are savvy about what they gain and the fact that being inclusive is doing the right things. Advocates, state and private business are combining to make the job market fair for all.