In recent months, Uber has shone a spotlight on the importance of cultivating diversity in tech, but there’s one aspect of diversity that remains largely untouched: Ability.
People with disabilities–such as deafness, blindness, or conditions including autism and Asperger’s syndrome–comprise roughly 6 percent of the U.S. labor force, according to the most recent available data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
And yet, those without disabilities are three times as likely to be employed.
Disability inclusion is an economic issue as much as it is a civil rights issue, argues Helena Berger, the President of the American Association of People with Disabilities, or AAPD. Her Washington, D.C.-based organization works to connect underrepresented candidates to steady employment. “Companies are starting to embrace ‘big D’ Diversity, realizing that to be successful, you have to hire people who understand your customers,” Berger tells Inc.
Tens of thousands of customers in the U.S. use assistive technology or software–such as braille embossers and screen readers–in order to communicate on a daily basis.She adds that people with disabilities often approach problems from a more creative standpoint, which could be a huge asset to your organization. “Having a disability may make you a better problem solver. You may be more innovative,” Berger says.