TEMPE, AZ — A chance – that's all many people looking for a job want, but people with disabilities may face even more challenges when looking for job opportunities.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with disabilities have a much more difficult time getting a job, and those with disabilities have an unemployment rate twice as high as those without disabilities.
Tempe’s BEST program, launched several years ago, is working to lessen the unemployment gap.
“Based on my personal and professional experience, a lot of individuals with disabilities just want an opportunity – an equal opportunity, a fair chance – at being able to get in the door and prove they’re capable,” says program coordinator, Max Ryser.
The program helps job seekers with disabilities by guiding their job search to their specific skills, work history and interests.
Once hired within the city of Tempe, the Best program arranges for on-the-job support to help new employees be successful. They also offer disability awareness training for the employee's colleagues.
“It definitely has helped everyone feel better about themselves, knowing that they are supporting each other and helping individuals improve their own quality of life. And we may, in the end, become better human beings overall. With efforts like this, and that’s what really counts at the end of the day,” says Ryser.
The Best program hopes to act as a model for other cities, businesses or organizations.
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