Great Career Options for People with Developmental Disabilities 

Careers for People with Disabilities - Golden Rule IndustriesAs more and more companies begin to recognize the value of diversity in the workforce, there have been many articles written on this subject matter. Topics range from hiring, retaining, and implementing policies for maintaining a diverse workforce. While many organizations have good intentions for creating workplace diversity, they neglect to execute on these intentions. 

Disability Employment and Barriers

One of the largest facets of the U.S. population who could benefit from diverse hiring practices is the disability community. In fact, as current statistics go, only 40 percent of adults in their prime working years are employed compared to 79 percent of non-disabled adults within the same age frame. This inequality gap is due to the barriers that exist for the disability community making it difficult for these individuals to gain meaningful work. These barriers include inaccessible work environments, preconceived notions and attitudes of employers toward persons with disabilities, as well as lack of career training opportunities.  

Acting as a nonprofit working to equalize the playing field for people with developmental disabilities in the job market, we’re working to dispel these barriers every day. That’s why we’ve put together a short resource of some of the best careers for people with developmental disabilities to spread awareness to employers, people with disabilities, and their advocates alike!  

Hospitality and Food Service Jobs

Hospitality and food service jobs are one of the greatest work environments that people with developmental disabilities can thrive in. This is so much so that over the past few years new cafes and coffee shops have been popping up all over the country boasting a staff of employees with learning disabilities. One such example is Bitty and Beau’s a coffee shop, which just opened its fourth U.S. location, and employs workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD.) And you can be sure that you’ll get your coffee with a smile too!  

The Road to Entrepreneurship

You might be surprised to know that people with developmental disabilities often make great entrepreneurs. Oftentimes business ventures by people with developmental disabilities have been launched out of necessity, due to some of the barriers already discussed for this population. When people with developmental disabilities have a hard time finding traditional work opportunities, their families often take it upon themselves to identify their strengths and talents toward launching a business. With the right support network, people with IDD have launched their own businesses selling consumer goods like coffee, jewelry, cards, and even socks. Here’s a few examples of some of the amazing entrepreneurs we’ve seen with developmental disabilities: 

Customer Service Including Retail

Another great career match for people with developmental disabilities is customer service jobs. These positions can include greeter positions, like those at Wal-Mart that were phased out, supermarket baggers, and even hairdressers. People with IDD often find a great fit at jobs with repetitive tasks, such as stocking shelves, cleaningand helping customers with purchases. Sometimes the repetitive nature of these types of jobs are unattractive to other job seekers, while people with IDD enjoy the sense of value and pride they get from excelling in this work. 

Here at Golden Rule Industries, many of our Working Partners with developmental disabilities function as retail employees at our three operating thrift shops in Oklahoma. They provide so much value to our thrift stores as employees and are great at sorting clothes, stocking shelves, and assisting with customer purchases.  

So, if you’re local to the Muskogee, Tahlequah, and Wagoner Oklahoma areas, come on by and see for yourself how great people with developmental disabilities are at their retail jobs!  


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