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October 26, 2011October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, celebrated annually in the United States to recognize the skills disabled people bring to the workplace and the strong business case for hiring them. In keeping with this year’s official theme, “Profit by investing in workers with disabilities,” below are statistics around this vital workforce and reasons why it pays to hire and promote disabled women and men:

1> Employers of disabled workers report that, as a group, people with disabilities perform on par or better than their non-disabled peers, are more likely to stay on the job, and boost teamwork and workforce morale among colleagues.

2> There are roughly 36 million Americans with a disability—but only 6.7 million are employed.

3> Median earnings for disabled men in 2009 was $22,351, while disabled women earned only $15,459.

4> In 2010, the unemployment rates for those with a disability were higher among blacks (22%) and Hispanics (18.4%) than among whites (13.6%).

5> During Fiscal Year 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 25,165 charges of disability discrimination.