Businesses who want to tap into the largest pool of unemployed Americans willing and able to work should sign up for a booth at "Louisiana Job Fairs 2005," nine events statewide aimed at matching employers who are hiring and persons with disabilities who are looking for jobs.
The Louisiana Business Leadership Network, the Medicaid Purchase Plan and other organizers are recruiting employers to participate in "Louisiana Job Fairs 2005" for people with disabilities. Events will be held October 4, 5 and 6 in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Houma/Thibodaux, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans, the Northshore area and Shreveport.

People with disabilities are both the largest minority in the United States and also the largest population of unemployed Americans. The American Community Survey shows that Louisiana is home to more than 376,000 people with disabilities who are at working age. Studies show that 70 percent of adults with disabilities are unemployed but want to work.

Individuals with disabilities make up a large pool of qualified people who are motivated to work but are often overlooked in the hiring process. Louisiana Job Fairs 2005 will allow these individuals a chance to have full access to employers in one location. Last year the Job Fairs connected about 2000 job seekers with more than 135 businesses statewide. Organizers hope to reach more job seekers and businesses in 2005.

Businesses who hire persons with disabilities should know that worker's compensation rates are based on the relative hazards of a business operation and not if workers have disabilities. National studies have shown that employees with disabilities do not have a higher rate of absenteeism than those without.

Employers can download registration forms and get local event and contact information online at or

Louisiana Business Leadership Network, a nonprofit association led by businesses that value persons with disabilities as customers and employees, is the statewide coordinator of the job fairs. The Medicaid Purchase Plan, a Department of Health program that provides health care coverage to people with disabilities who work, is the statewide sponsor.