Movement to get more disabled people jobs continues in western Mass.

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Joe Winslow knows just how difficult it can be for a disabled person to get a job. Employers have denied his applications, while others have hired him and then cut his hours.

Joe said that all changed two years ago, he was finally able to land a job he loves. “It’s tough when you don’t get the job. I really like all of the people I work with, they’re all nice to me,” Winslow said.

Joe is just one of hundreds working with the New England Business Associates, a company that helps people living with disabilities break into the workforce.

NEBA held an employer appreciation event on Thursday to honor the more than 130 businesses that they work with.

The federal government offers tax incentives to convince more small businesses to hire employees with disabilities. They can receive tax credits to cover the cost of any accommodations they had to make to hire and train those employees.

Cynthia Pierchota works for Microtech, a company that currently has 18 disabled employees working with them. “We have people who have Down Syndrome, Asperger’s, brain injury. We do have a contract, a small contract with the state to provide the support that we have, but we also have people who are not part of that,” Pierchota said.

The movement to get more employers to hire people with disabilities continues to grow.

Jeannine Pavlak, the Executive Director of NEBA, told 22News that hiring a disabled person doesn’t just benefit them, it can also benefits taxpayers. “It makes a huge difference economically and from a tax perspective. Just one person getting off or reducing the benefits they receive, state and federal benefits, saves $10,000 to $20,000 a year, depending on what they’re receiving,” Pavlak said.

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