SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – One year ago, Goodwill Manasota presented the results of an independent study, called the “State of Employment,” which featured a 3- to 5-year forecast on jobs available for veterans and individuals with disabilities. The purpose of the study was to learn best practices from local employers who were successful in recruiting and retaining qualified veterans and/or individuals with disabilities as well as identify the estimated job prospects with local employers for these candidates.
The results identified only 56% of local companies willing to participate in the study. The companies that participated employed a total of 10,028 full-time employees in Manatee and Sarasota counties combined. Of those companies, 60% employed both veterans and persons with disabilities; the other 40% employed veterans but no individuals with disabilities.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, the national unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities was 8.7% as of September 2016. Typically, the unemployment rate for disabled persons in the state of Florida has been higher than the national average. Florida Chamber of Commerce research findings published in January 2016 list the unemployment rate of persons with disabilities in Florida at 18.3%. Manatee County’s rate was 11.3%, up from 9.4% in 2015, while Sarasota County’s was 11.7%, a dramatic decrease from 16.2% in 2015.
As of September 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows the national unemployment rate for veterans, ages 18 years and over, unchanged at 4.3% from the same time period in 2015. This compares favorably to the unemployment rate for non-veterans, ages 18 years and over, which has decreased slightly from 4.8% in September 2015 to 4.7% in September 2016. The Florida Chamber of Commerce research findings show an increase in the unemployment rate for veterans from 5.6% in 2015 to 6.1% in 2016, as compared to the 4.3% figure for the U.S. overall.
“Goodwill is proud to be a leader in providing job training and employment opportunities for veterans and individuals with disabilities. I believe other businesses are missing out on the many benefits that come along with simply doing the right thing,” said Bob Rosinsky, president and CEO of Goodwill Manasota. “Thanks to increased awareness, beneficial legislation, and business owners with the vision to give someone who may have been overlooked elsewhere a chance, millions of Americans with disabilities are able to make important contributions to the workplace every day. But we can do so much better.”
One of the companies featured in the study is Cool Today, a local air conditioning company. “Cool Today’s culture is derived by hiring the best talent – by looking at each person’s ability, not their disability. We have a strategic plan in place for hiring veterans and providing them with the respect and dignity they deserve,” said Jaime DiDomenico, president and CEO of Cool Today. “Not to mention that there are tax credits and deductions available from the IRS for businesses hiring people with disabilities and veterans. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
According to the IRS, the Work Opportunity Credit provides eligible employers with a tax credit up to 40 percent of the first $6,000 of first-year wages of a new employee if the employee is part of a “targeted group.” The work opportunity credit has been expanded to provide employers with new incentives to hire certain unemployed veterans.
For more information or to request a copy of the full study, call Goodwill Manasota vice president Veronica Brandon Miller at (941) 355-2721.
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2015, Goodwill Manasota served 22,739 people, placed 961 people in jobs and assisted 358 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $81.3 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted 41 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.