Author: Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director, Savings Plans, First National Bank of Omaha

At Enable Alabama, our job is to help individuals with disabilities save for qualified expenses, providing a path to financial independence and opening doors to disability inclusion. This Labor Day we are celebrating these efforts, and the many benefits that Enable Alabama provides for individuals with disabilities in the workforce and beyond.

Enable Alabama allows Account Owners to save up to $15,000 per calendar year without impacting eligibility for resource-based benefits. In addition, thanks to the ABLE to Work Act, certain employed Account Owners are able to make contributions beyond the $15,000 – either up to the lesser of the compensation included in their gross income for the year, or up to the federal poverty line for a one-person household, as determined for the calendar year preceding the calendar year in with the taxable year begins.

With the opportunity to save and put wages aside for disability related expenses, all while maintaining access to benefits, Enable Alabama Account Owners can strive to reach their full potential. On Labor Day we are proud to honor this opportunity, as well as the steady increase in job options, resources and training for the disability community.

Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities

Individuals with disabilities have access to a number of public and nonprofit resources that provide support for entering and succeeding in the workforce. For example, the Ticket to Work program through the Social Security Administration offers beneficiaries with disabilities career development services and an employment network, all while protecting access to benefits. The U.S. AbilityOne commission employs around 45,000 Americans with disabilities across 40 government agencies, and coordinates with over 500 nonprofit agencies, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Career One Stop offers a portal for job seekers with disabilities, including referrals to job boards, training and vocational rehabilitation.

Nonprofits such as Enable America, respect ability, The Arc@Work, SourceAmerica, Easterseals, The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and more each offer unique services to support individuals with disabilities at different stages of employment, whether that be internship opportunities, skills training, diversity advocacy or job placement.

If you’re interested in learning more about fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace, check out the resources provided by EARN, the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion.  

Inclusion and Empowerment in the Workforce

This Labor Day we’re also celebrating some newsworthy examples of disability inclusion in the workforce. These stories feature remarkable individuals and organizations that prioritize inclusion and serve as role models for all regardless of ability.

Ford Motor Co. partners with the Autism Alliance of Michigan to train and recruit employees with Autism. Read more about the program in The Detroit News.

Two Cafe & Boutique in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, not only employs community members with disabilities, but helps them train and apply for other jobs as well. So far, they’ve helped more than a dozen ‘grads’ find jobs in the Cleveland area. Read their profile on TODAY.

Bitty & Beau’s is also serving up inclusion with their coffee – across four locations they employ more than 60 individuals with disabilities! This past July, founder Amy received a Civitan International World Citizenship award for her work – read more about it with Spectrum News.

John, an entrepreneur with Down syndrome, and his father co-founded John’s Crazy Socks with the mission to crush stereotypes and create jobs for individuals with disabilities. Their business is growing rapidly, and they’re just getting started. Watch their interview with PIX 11.

Vaseful Flower and Gifts has offered employment and training to individuals with disabilities in Princeton, NJ for over a decade. NJTV News profiles the shop, employees and local politicians at their recent ribbon cutting ceremony.

For more uplifting stories of inclusion and diversity, check out the Enable Savings Plan Alabama on Facebook – and happy Labor Day!