By Cecilia Yontz, OSCPA marketing and communications intern
One CPA is hoping to see more employment opportunities offered to individuals with disabilities, including full-time positions.
“Many neurodiverse individuals have valuable skills and are eager to work, but there aren't enough positions available,” said Angie Lewis, CPA.
Lewis is a Partner in Crowe, LLP’s Assurance Professional Practice and a member of the OSCPA Board of Directors. Her 10-year-old daughter has Down syndrome. Having a child with a disability has given her a different perspective on the opportunities available to individuals with disabilities.
“Long ago, there were traditionally very limited jobs available to individuals with neurodiversity or different abilities, so it’s been very encouraging to see advancement toward inclusion in the workplace,” Lewis said.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, however, this is something companies can embrace year-round. Lewis explained that no matter the size of the company, sparking an evolution in the job market begins with individual mindsets.
“Even a small company can be part of the conversation and progress,” she said. “It really starts with each person being open-minded toward employing individuals with different abilities.”
In addition to the mindsets of individuals, companies should be aware of opportunities to aid in the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the workforce.
“I think one of the best ways to approach this topic is to include it in companies’ DEI strategies,” said Lewis. Lewis believes companies should be reflective about the positions they can offer individuals with disabilities. Embracing differences is the essence of diversity. “I have witnessed companies that have been very successful in employing individuals with different abilities, and their culture has been enriched as a result.”
Ultimately, listening to and learning from others can help propel change that will benefit everyone.
“While it has been very heartening to see the start of an evolution, there is more work to do,” said Lewis. “By recognizing the value of each individual, you can set an example that encourages a more inclusive culture, whether in the community or at work.”