An estimated one in four Americans today has some form of disability, according to recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the United States, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is more than double that of those without — 9.2% versus 4.2%, according to recent federal statistics. And among those of working age (between 16 and 64), only 29% of Americans with disabilities had jobs in 2017, compared with 75% of people without a disability.

Comcast NBCUniversal has made disability inclusion a priority and is focused on building a workforce that reflects the demographics of the disability community — a population that continues to increase as the U.S. citizenry ages.

Our strategy focuses on three key elements:

  • Building a pipeline of talent by working with external partners in the disability community;
  • Cultivating an inclusive environment by educating our workforce; and
  • Empowering employees with disabilities by providing them equal access to the tools, information, support, and systems they need to succeed at work.

We are actively working to hire, retain, and empower people with disabilities while creating an inclusive environment across our organization. In 2018, we launched a campaign encouraging employees to confidentially declare their disability status. By self-identifying, our people are helping us better understand who we are as a company; they also are helping ensure that we are able to meet the needs of our employees and help them be more successful at their jobs.

“There are so many myths and misconceptions about people with disabilities — that they don’t work as well or that they don’t have the skills or education of people without disabilities,” says Bill Strahan, Executive Vice President of Human Resources for Comcast Cable. “Research shows that it’s just the opposite, and we have seen how much creativity, innovation, and problem-solving people with disabilities bring to our workplaces.”

In fact, a recent study by the American Association of People with Disabilities found that companies that embrace people with disabilities outperform their peers, with revenues 28% higher than companies without inclusive disability hiring and retention practices.

Says Strahan, “The more we can educate our business leaders and hiring managers about the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities, the greater our impact and the more we will grow, both as a company and as a society.”