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Leading by Example: A Message from Secretary Gloria Pearson

March 27, 2017

For the past couple years, Ability for Hire has striven to shed light on the power of employment in the community of South Dakotans with disabilities. Empowering businesses to lead by example and make strides toward inclusive hiring and helping job-seekers achieve employment has been the goal.

Do you know people in your own life who could benefit from this sort of empowerment or encouragement?

A Message from Secretary Pearson


The Department of Human Services’ Secretary Gloria Pearson is happy to be an advocate on employment opportunities for people with disabilities. She had this to say:

“We are excited the Ability for Hire campaign has captured the imagination of so many viewers and look forward to it continuing to change public perceptions about what people with disabilities have to offer."

“As we continue to work toward Governor Dennis Daugaard’s goal of making South Dakota an employment-first state, we are pleased to look to Ability for Hire as a visible component of those efforts.”

Let’s break down Secretary Pearson’s message.


Changing Perceptions

Changing people’s perceptions about what they think people with disabilities are capable of is more than just sharing the word—it’s walking the walk, as well. Business owners in South Dakota have a rare opportunity to make decisions that are beneficial to all involved parties. People with disabilities are an untapped workforce with brimming potential waiting for great employment opportunities. By taking action, business owners can help to change perceptions and help improve quality of life for South Dakotans state-wide.

Employment First

As a state committed to the “employment first” initiative, South Dakota has aligned itself with the idea of integrated employment for people with disabilities.   Competitive wages with career paths and advancement opportunities are the ultimate goal. To do this, states who have committed to the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s (ODEP) Employment First initiative provide services and programs for job training, mentorship, and business resources.

What People Have to Offer

There are plenty of assumptions made about people with disabilities in the workplace. Business owners might assume, for example, that employees with disabilities tend to be unreliable, be not very punctual, or result in an undue burden on their businesses. But study after study has shown that people with disabilities are just as punctual and reliable, if not more so, as people without disabilities. And with the multitude of resources available to business owners through the Department of Human Services, there doesn’t need to be any sort of burden in making your business accessible and disability-friendly.

Your Next Step

If you’re a job-seeker looking for a great position where you’ll be valued and appreciated, start here. And if you’re a business that’s ready to get started being a welcoming workplace, start here. We look forward to hearing from you and are prepared to provide what you need to get involved.

Stay Involved. Be Social.