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The Texas Workforce Commission is launching the “We Hire Ability” employer recognition program to celebrate and highlight Texas employers for their commitment to hiring individuals with disabilities and recognizing their important role in helping to ensure a diverse and inclusive Texas workforce.

In 2018, an estimated 9.7% of working-age Texans ages 21 to 64, or 1.5 million individuals in Texas reported one or more disabilities. Yet the employment rates among these working-age Texans with a disability is 40.8% while the employment rates of their non-disabled peers are significantly higher at 78.8%.

In 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 29.1% of individuals with disabilities ages 16 to 64 were employed, as compared to 70% of individuals ages 16 to 64 without a disability.

“The We Hire Ability program recognizes Texas employers committed to finding ways to bring more individuals with disabilities into the workplace,” said Bryan Daniel, TWC Chairman. “As the Texas economy continues to open, businesses are once again experiencing a demand for employees with the skills and talents they need. Individuals with disabilities can offer a viable source for that talent.”

We Hire Ability recognizes exceptional businesses who are committed to employing people with disabilities in an integrated workplace setting, and with at least 10% of their Texas-based workforce comprising people with disabilities. Integrated workplaces include coworkers with and without disabilities working alongside one another.

We Hire Ability raises awareness of the statewide resources available to all employers in Texas from Vocational Rehabilitation staff located wherever they access Workforce Solutions services.

“I am excited to launch We Hire Ability program, which recognizes Texas employers who demonstrate that hiring individuals with disabilities is about realizing the potential that exists in everyone,” said Julian Alvarez, TWC Labor Commissioner. “We Hire Ability also aligns with our agency’s goal to increase employment among people with disabilities and reduce the employment gap that exists between those with and without disabilities, as we publicly thank employers for helping us reach that goal.”

An estimated one in four people in our society is living with at least one type of disability that may interfere with their work or daily living. By celebrating exemplary employers through the We Hire Ability recognition program, TWC encourages more employers to create inclusive work environments and learn about accommodations for employees with disabilities.

“When businesses hire from among a talented pool of individuals with disabilities, they gain true problem solvers accustomed to developing workarounds and tackling complex obstacles,” said Aaron Demerson, TWC Employer Commissioner. “In recognizing employers through the We Hire Ability program, we want to encourage more employers to consider individuals with disabilities in their recruiting and hiring process.”

To receive a We Hire Ability decal, employers may nominate themselves or be nominated by Local Workforce Development Boards, local Vocational Rehabilitation management, or a local mayoral or county committee that works in partnership with the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.

For more information on “We Hire Ability” program or to submit a We Hire Ability nomination, visit twc.texas.gov/partners/WeHireAbility.

To find out how your business can benefit from hiring individuals with disabilities or to obtain information on employee accommodation, contact a Vocational Rehabilitation Business Relations Coordinator visit www.twc.texas.gov/businesses/vocational-rehabilitation-business-relations

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