Work for People with Disabilities

We vote with our dollars. When you buy something, you aren’t just saying that you like or need the product. You are also saying you support their corporate philosophy and what they do as a company.

As parents raising disabled children, we need to band together and vote with our dollars, to create opportunities for our kids. The statistics have not changed much. My disabled child is facing the same employment opportunities as his disabled adult peers from the 1970s.

stores hire disabled people (1)

Shouldn’t everyone hire disabled people?

In a perfect world, yes. As a disabled adult, you have protections under ADA and other civil rights laws. However, like most of these statutes that are written to “protect” disabled people, they are complaint based.

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What that means is, you (as the person not hired) have to file either an OCR complaint or lawsuit or discrimination claim of some kind. And, you have to be able to prove that the only reason they didn’t hire you is because of your disability. That’s a tall order, for sure.

I’m all for activism and making change when you have the resources and bandwidth and time to do so. But sometimes, you just need a job! So why not look at a company that is doing best practices first, right?

And, even if you are not looking for a job, shop at these places.

Get the list: 25 Amazing Inclusion Books for Kids

Companies that Hire Disabled People

Here’s the short list, with more explanation further down.

  • Walgreens
  • Best Buy
  • Meijer
  • Proctor and Gamble
  • Pepsico
  • West Marine
  • AutoZone
  • UPS

In 2014, I did a book review of No Greatness Without Goodness. It’s a phenomenal book and a heartwarming story about one man’s mission to create a community and create real life, fair paying employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

I can’t recommend the book enough. If you are looking for a holiday gift idea for any special needs family or any business person who has the access to change lives like this, get them this book!

You can watch his TedX Talk here.

YouTube video

But first, let’s get REAL about the abysmal statistics about employment and people with disabilities:

Only one-third (32.0%) of working-age people with disabilities were employed on average in the 2010-2012 period, compared to over two-thirds (72.7%) of people without disabilities.

That statistic is from our very own US Department of Labor. I should probably clarify for those who have not read the book. In the book, Randy talks about hiring people with disabilities at his Distribution Centers, at rates of upwards of 40%. Unheard of!

He talks about all the accommodations and little things that they did, to make it work for folks. All the obstacles and getting the buy-in. And in the end, it makes financial sense too.

Companies that Hire Disabled People

So when I say that these companies “are supporting the hiring of people with disabilities” I mean hiring them at rates previously unheard of. I can’t thank him enough for being such a trailblazer and making the world a better place for our kids.

Since doing that review, I connected with Randy Lewis on Twitter and I visit his website, NOGWOG, quite often. For the holidays, I have meant to compile a list of retailers who have gone out of their way to support hiring people with disabilities.

Some companies are large, national retailers like Walgreens. Others are small and doing what they can in their small way to do this. When I tried doing an internet search, and I tried a zillion terms, I could not find a list of retailers.

So I emailed the folks at NOGWOG and got some suggestions from them. Here is a list of retailers to support because they are going above and beyond and trying to create better and fair opportunities for people with disabilities. Keep in mind, this is above and beyond just hiring people. This is changing distribution centers, building in special accommodations, having HR actively work with employment non-profits and seek out people with disabilities to hire them. This incorporating it into their corporate strategy, making it a part of the mindset.

Hiring People with Disabilities

The book, of course, is about the Walgreens story. So Walgreens is at the top of the list.

 support hiring people with disabilities

He also mentions Best Buy in the book, and that is probably the main reason I wanted to be a part of their Women’s Leadership Forum of bloggers, to show support from them and develop a working relationship with a company I could really feel good about promoting. Here is their Black Friday ad.

From his email, his next two suggestions were Meijer and Lowe’s. Glad to hear Lowe’s is on board with doing this type of hiring as I prefer them anyway, to their competitors.

Meijer is a chain only in the midwest, so support it if you can. Of course, both have online options so you can support them that way as well. (2017 update: Don’t shop at Lowe’s. I don’t promote them anymore. They fired thousands, then rehired replacements at a cheaper, seasonal rate. I dislike Home Depot too, so why not shop at your local hardware and lumber store? We’re happier since doing that.)

 support hiring people with disabilities

After that, there are several other companies who are doing initiatives, much like the first distribution center talked about in the book. In other words, they think it’s more than a “good idea” in that they have invested time and money into doing this, it is just still in the early stages at these companies. So let’s get out there and show them that it matters to us….and vote with our dollars and tell them.

UPS-Didn’t we already love the guys in brown?

Pepsico-has a huge assortment of products to choose from. In 2016, the mean and nasty Trump supporters made things up (shocking!) that their CEO said, and tried to organize a boycott. She actually never said what they claimed.

pepsi brands

Autozone-Last year I went to the one in Kennett and I received such extraordinary customer service that I tweeted a thank you to them and emailed their HQ. Glad to know this about them too!


Procter and Gamble-more than just sappy commercials around the Olympics and Mothers’ Day…they are trying this! Yay!

procter and gamble

West Marine-Ok, I don’t have a boat, but will definitely get this in my outdoors newspaper column too.

west marine

Locally I can tell you that both Acme and Cosi have won awards for hiring people with disabilities and working with agencies. Costco hasn’t gone out of its way to hire disabled people. However, they are committed to providing a decent wage.

I feel good and bad about Amazon, but they have more work-at-home opportunities than almost anyone else. And that is important for disabled folks.

Stores I Avoid

And since I’ve been asked, yes, I do avoid some stores too. Wal-Mart is just terrible for the American economy in general, and their employment policies keep people in poverty (the working poor). I also avoid Hobby Lobby like the plague and pride myself on never having entered one! Target also is not the paradise mecca everyone thinks it is. They are known for not treating employees well. Same with Family Dollar.

Editing to add: Seems like many of you are passionate about Walmart. Well, I should have maybe given more information. But this is one of my biggest concerns:

The ‘Walmartization’ of public education

And there are many similar articles going back as far as the early 2000s, it’s not just one Post article. It’s been an ongoing thing for decades.

Happy shopping!

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