‘Their eyes open more to people with disabilities’

The search for employees is helping a group that is historically underrepresented in the workplace
KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 10:18 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - “It’s a very tight market for hiring employees so they’re more willing to look at other alternatives and choices,” said Greg Natvig, the President and CEO of the Beacon Group.

The Beacon Group helps disabled people find job opportunities.

“There are more companies now that are open to hiring people with disabilities,” said Natvig.

Though, he says the worker shortage is not the only reason.

“I think employers and hiring managers have faced adversity during COVID and I think that has made their eyes open more to people with disabilities and what challenges they face on a day in and day out basis and make them more willing to consider someone with a disability,” said Natvig.

Rudy Marquez was laid off from his job and the Beacon Group helped him find a job at Bakehouse Bread Company. He says it has given him a renewed purpose.

“I get to learn something new every day when I go to work,” said Marquez. “I told the supervisors I’ll keep coming as long as you need my help.”

Marquez’s dedication is hard to come by for many employers today. In fact, just getting to work takes him two hours. He takes multiple buses and then walks for about 25 minutes. But to him, it’s worth it.

“That just shows the enthusiasm that he has for the work,” Natvig said. “Can you imagine what that means at the workplace?”

And, according to Natvig, employers who hire those with disabilities have found that those people show more enthusiasm, have better attendance and are an asset to the workplace’s culture.

He says more jobs being open means more opportunities for people with disabilities, which is a good thing. But there is still a lot of progress to be made, he says.

“Only 30% of people with disabilities of working age are working now compared to over 70% of people without disabilities who work,” said Natvig.

The Beacon Group says they’re still working to find jobs for about 300 people with disabilities in the Tucson area.

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