As long as people have been working, there has been a most underutilized and untapped labor pool of talented workers: people with disabilities—particularly people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The department of labor statistics shows that workforce participation for working adults with IDD is 37.5%. The unemployment rate of people with IDD is twice that of their non-disabled counterparts.
Part of this is due to many myths and misconceptions about hiring people with IDD.
There are a lot of other misperceptions out there, and these myths sometimes create barriers to hiring people with disabilities. Our goal at Portal is to eliminate those myths and show what a great workforce is for people living with disabilities.
Portal works with over a hundred employers in Ozaukee and surrounding counties. We work closely with each person referred to us. We get our referrals through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), which is part of the Department of Workforce Development in the State of Wisconsin. DVR funds Portal so when a person starts a job, DVR pays for the person to work with us to continue to receive long-term funding as long as they keep that position.
An Advantage of working with an agency like Portal Inc. is that we get to know each person individually. We get to learn their interests, skills, and abilities, and we use this information to look at businesses and match their skills with the company’s needs. When a person is hired, a job coach typically accompanies the person. We are enhancing the employee training. Our goal is for the person to fit into the workforce, be interdependent with their coworkers, and eventually reduce the need for a job coach.
Portal Inc’s Mission is to enhance opportunities for people with disabilities to participate fully in their community as valued neighbors, productive workers, and respected citizens.