October is Disability Employment Awareness Month


October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Here at Speech Processing Solutions, we believe every disabled person should have an opportunity to work in the workplace. In Canada, the Canadian Association for Support Employment and Ontario Disability Employment Network has a theme for this year’s NDEAM event. The theme is “Light It Up”, where office buildings are lit up to raise awareness about disabled people in the workplace.

Why is raising awareness needed for this issue and how do disabled people fair in the workforce?

Most disabled people often end up being at construction or manual labor type of jobs rather than high paying office jobs; especially in the world where diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are the forefront of most employment schemes. In Canada of the employees with disabilities aged 25 to 64 years, more than 1 in 3 (37%) required at least one workplace accommodation to be able to work. The most commonly required type of workplace accommodations are flexible work arrangements (27%), workstation modifications (15%), and human or technical supports (6%). This represents just over 772,000 Canadians. Of those 772,000, around 35,000 need technical aids and only 40% of those were able to have a workplace to meet those needs.

What does voice technology have to do with this?

There are numerous ways in which dictation and speech-to-text (STT) solutions can help with office work. Whether it be people with less developed motor skills to extreme cases of not having hands to type, speech-to-text can support in transferring spoken word into text automatically. With dictation, people can use their voice to type anything from emails to essays and articles with no problem. Want one example? This article was dictated in its first draft and transferred into text with the Philips SpeechLive speech-to-text feature.

Despite the lack of opportunity for job-seekers who have a disability, more than three-quarters of the employers surveyed by BMO in 2013 said that after recruiting disabled workers, the hires either met their expectations (62%) or exceeded them (15%). Giving access to latest technology advancements like speech-to-text functionalities, can empower all employees in the workplace to exceed expectations because of how this technology supports daily work routines.

Speech-to-text technology will only advance with future developments in AI and cannot only increase productivity in the workplace but also help bridge the gap between employers looking to fulfill their promises on DEI and candidates with a disability.

Want to know more about Employment Disability? We have provided links to help you know more about organizations speaking out about an important issue.

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