Online resource launched to hire people with Down syndrome

'We're hoping employers are open to using different recruitment methods to check out this community'

Online resource launched to hire people with Down syndrome

People with Down syndrome can now show employers that they have what it takes to fill current job openings thanks to a new online resource.

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) and marketing communications company FCB have launched Inployable, in collaboration with LinkedIn.

It’s a network “that helps individuals with Down syndrome present themselves and their skill set to employers that are looking to fill openings,” Laura LaChance, executive director of CDSS, tells Canadian HR Reporter in an interview.

“Although many people with Down syndrome have demonstrated abilities and aspirations to engage in meaningful work in the community, a large percentage of the Canadian population with Down syndrome remains unemployed, are under-employed, or may not be working to their full potential. This initiative addresses that disparity,” she says.

“People with Down syndrome have a right to be employed in the community, where they can work alongside people of all abilities and earn competitive compensation.”

Through inployable, CDSS is hoping employers will give persons with Down syndrome the chance to meet their need for talent.

“And we're hoping that employers would be open to perhaps using different recruitment methods to allow them to check out this community of people who could bring the right skill set that wouldn't otherwise have been visible to an employer,” says LaChance.

Two-phase project

In the first phase of the project, inployable provides a page where persons with Down syndrome can get assistance setting up their online profile.

“Job seekers can click this and request an appointment with our LinkedIn specialist to help them to format a digital profile, and to add their name to the list of job seekers on the network,” says LaChance.

The second phase of the project will provide employers with resources to help them engage with individuals with Down syndrome, she says.

Business leaders are putting more importance on hiring persons with disabilities, according to a previous report from the Kessler Foundation.

Benefits of hiring

People with Down syndrome continue to struggle in getting into the workforce, notes CDSS. They point to these numbers from the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD): 56 per cent of individuals with Down syndrome aren’t in paid work positions. Among them, 26 per cent are in volunteer positions and 30 per cent are without paid or volunteer positions.

This is the case even though people with Down syndrome are capable of getting the job done.

When employers hire these people, “they're going to get the skills that they need that perhaps they thought individuals with Down syndrome didn't have,” says LaChance.

These individuals also have less absenteeism, less turnover, and more attention to detail.

“They perform as well or better than individuals who don't have the disability,” she says. “[They have] a great aptitude to being employed, staying employed and not using jobs as stepping stones to other jobs. Somebody with a disability is often very pleased to have work and is totally committed to the organization.”

When it comes to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) policies in the workplace, four in five (78 per cent) Canadians say disability should be included, according to a previous report from Angus Reid.

Accommodation

While employers might have to go the extra mile to accommodate the needs of workers with Down syndrome, employers have to provide some sort of accommodation to all workers, whether they have a disability or not, she says.

“And we know of individuals with Down syndrome who don't require any additional accommodations.”

Accommodation could include repeating requests, a slower boarding or longer oversight, says LaChance.

“Those things can be managed by managers at the employee-manager level without additional cost for an employer.”

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