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City Increases Efforts To Hire Employees With Disabilities

Jake Savitz
90.5 WESA

In an effort to have a more diverse workforce, the City of Pittsburgh is increasing its recruitment for people with physical and development disabilities. 

This will be through a partnership with United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania's 21 and Able program, an initiative that helps adults with disabilities transition into the workforce.

A 21 and Able job coach, Sabrina Clay-Brown, will go to job fairs for people with disabilities on behalf of  the city to educate potential applicants on available jobs and the hiring process.

Pittsburgh's human resource director Janet Manuel says jobs at all levels and in all departments within the city will be open to workers of different abilities.

"It's not just the entry level positions, like a clerk position," Manuel said. "There could be a position in finance someone qualifies for, or a position in the Innovation and Performance Department."

One high-profile employer of people with developmental disabilities is Goodwill. It's also come under flack for paying these workers based on their abilities, which can be far below minimum wage

Manuel said a pay system like this will not be the case for the city.

"The city of Pittsburgh will make sure the compensation for these individuals with disabilities is just as it would be to someone without a disability, there will not be a difference in compensation," Manuel said.

Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania changed its pay policy for employees in its Lawrenceville Donation Processing Center last July to a guaranteed minimum wage.

The organization 21 and Able also partners with other Pittsburgh-area employers, including Giant Eagle and the University of Pittsburgh.

*Story updated Monday, April 16 at 4:22 p.m. to include mention of Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Kathleen J. Davis covers news about just about anything at WESA. She’s also the primary reporter and producer of WESA’s weekly series Pittsburgh Tech Report. Kathleen originally hails from the great state of Michigan, and is always available to talk about suburban Detroit and Coney Island diners. She lives in Bloomfield.
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