New Study Demonstrates Substantial Economic Value of Workers with Disabilities

New Study Demonstrates Substantial Economic Value of Workers with Disabilities

April 3, 2019

“Multiplier Effect” turns wages into millions of dollars in taxes and economic benefit for communities.


UPPER MARLBORO, MD, April 2, 2019 – Melwood, one of the nation’s largest employers of people with disabilities[1], today released a multi-state study demonstrating the sizable positive economic impact of employing people with disabilities.

“Like most of us, workers with disabilities use their wages to purchase goods and services in their local communities, thereby generating additional jobs, taxes paid, and economic benefit to their communities,” said Cari DeSantis, President & CEO of Melwood. The study did not calculate savings to state and local governments for reduced reliance on government supports by people with disabilities who work.

The Melwood Economic Impact Study includes 25 counties in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC, where Melwood employs over 1,200 people with disabilities among its workforce of nearly 2,000. In 2017, Melwood workers with disabilities earned over $27.7 million in wages and paid approximately $6 million in federal, state and local taxes. In addition, the study used the IMPLAN® impact modeling software to demonstrate that the wages earned by Melwood’s workers with disabilities generated another 135 jobs in other businesses in the region, and those workers earned nearly $6 million in wages and induced $1.2 million in taxes. The total induced economic output of wages paid to Melwood’s 1,200+ workers with disabilities was nearly $19 million in the DMV.

“People with disabilities represent a high-quality, dedicated and readily available workforce solution that adds value to both employers and communities,” said DeSantis. “This study now also proves that the ‘multiplier effect’ of employment benefits us all.”

Nationally, only about 40 percent of people with disabilities are employed, leaving millions of qualified people in search of a meaningful career path. The Melwood study demonstrates how these untapped workers have the potential to provide a major economic benefit to local communities.

“Every day we see how inclusion drives innovations that benefit businesses and society,” said DeSantis. “I will hold our workforce up to any other in the marketplace in terms of quality, performance, and dependability. I invite employers to take the Melwood Challenge and look to people with disabilities to fill their workforce needs.”

You can view and download the full study here.



Sara Newman
Marketing & Communications Specialist
[email protected] / 301-599-8000

Logan White
[email protected] / 202-350-6674

About Melwood

Melwood is one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in the country, employing more than 1,600 workers – nearly 1,000 of whom are people with disabilities. Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,500 people each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Melwood also has an inclusive summer camp program for children and provides employment and support services to veterans and active-duty military members who have experienced service-related trauma or injury. For more information, visit

Media Inquiries

Jewelyn Cosgrove
Vice President of Government and Public Relations
O: 240-846-3952
[email protected]


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