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DHS Encourages Work For People With Disabilities

Ability For Hire
SD Department of Human Services

A state agency is launching a campaign aimed at connecting people with disabilities to employers. It’s called Ability for Hire, and leaders say it can benefit both workers and businesses.

Department of Human Services Secretary Gloria Pearson says the new Ability for Hire campaign is part of ongoing work to support South Dakotans with disabilities.

Pearson says people with disabilities are an untapped resource for businesses looking to hire quality employees – especially in an environment with low unemployment.

“I think in the past, although maybe different government agencies meant well, there was too much of a focus on doing this good thing, and really this makes business sense and it’s good for everyone,” Pearson says. “So we want to get away from any idea at all that this is a charitable act. This is actually a very good business decision.”

Pearson says companies benefit from hiring people with disabilities, but the workers themselves also gain from contributing in the community and earning a paycheck.

“Sometimes I do think people feel kind of isolated – and maybe they’ve tried and kind of given up. But we’re making a big effort to make sure people know where they can call and someone that they can contact that will support them in getting a job and getting the training that they need or just reaching their employment goals,” Pearson says.

Pearson says a new website is a place people can go to learn more about opportunities available for people with disabilities. She says business leaders can also visit the site to hear testimonials and learn more about the abilities people with disabilities bring to the workplace.

Follow this link to visit the Department of Human Services' new Ability for Hire website.

Kealey Bultena grew up in South Dakota, where her grandparents took advantage of the state’s agriculture at nap time, tricking her into car rides to “go see cows.” Rarely did she stay awake long enough to see the livestock, but now she writes stories about the animals – and the legislature and education and much more. Kealey worked in television for four years while attending the University of South Dakota. She started interning with South Dakota Public Broadcasting in September 2010 and accepted a position with television in 2011. Now Kealey is the radio news producer stationed in Sioux Falls. As a multi-media journalist, Kealey prides herself on the diversity of the stories she tells and the impact her work has on people across the state. Kealey is always searching for new ideas. Let her know of a great story! Find her on Facebook and twitter (@KealeySDPB).