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New Study Demonstrates Substantial Economic Value of Workers With Disabilities
“Multiplier Effect” turns wages into millions of tax dollars and economic benefit for DMV communities


UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (April 11, 2019)—Melwood, one of the nation’s largest employers of people of differing abilities1, this month released a multi-state study demonstrating the sizable positive economic impact of employing people of differing abilities—including in Prince George’s County.

“Like most of us, workers of differing abilities 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 highlighted Maryland’s Prince George’s County, where 40 percent of Melwood’s employees of differing abilities reside. There, employees earned $10.4 million and generated nearly $407,000 in additional taxes beyond their normal tax payments. The additional tax revenue benefits housing providers as well as small and large businesses that provide the employees with goods and services. Employees’ families and taxpayers may have benefitted too, in circumstances where the employment curbed reliance on family or government benefits. 

The Melwood Economic Impact Study includes 25 counties in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC, where Melwood employs over 1,200 people of differing abilities among its workforce of nearly 2,000.  In 2017, Melwood workers of differing abilities 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 of differing abilities 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 study did not calculate savings to state and local governments that may have resulted from workers’ reduced reliance on government supports.

“People of differing abilities 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 of differing abilities 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. It is also emblematic of what the national impact could be if employers everywhere would look to people of differing abilities to help fill their workforce needs, and in a broader range of jobs and sectors.

“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 of differing abilities to fill their workforce needs.”

To view and download the Melwood Economic Impact Study, please log on to and click on the News tab.  


For more than 55 years, Melwood, based in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, has been an industry leader in training and employing people of differing abilities. As an employer, Melwood has a highly competitive and inclusive workforce, providing a range of services to federal, state and local governments, and the private sector. Melwood also provides supports to private businesses who seek to employ more people of differing abilities.  Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,200 people each year in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area. Melwood also provides recreation opportunities through seasonal inclusive camp programs for children and adults of all ability levels, and provides employment and support services to veterans coping with service-related traumas such as post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, abuse, and more. Visit

1 Melwood prefers ability focused language and, therefore, refers to people with disabilities as ‘people of differing abilities.’



Smart Money Tips if You Are Living Paycheck to Paycheck

(StatePoint) Nearly four in five American workers are now living paycheck to paycheck, according to Career Builder. If that describes you, experts say there are steps you can take to live more comfortably and securely.

Build a Nest Egg

Having the capacity to absorb a financial shock is one of the major tenets of financial wellness, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Unfortunately, nearly 60 percent of Americans don’t have enough savings to cover a $500 unplanned expense, according to a report from Bankrate.

Does your budget include a line item for a rainy-day fund? If not, it’s time to make room in your budget for one. Most budgets, when closely examined, have some give, so look for where you can cut back in order to divert more funds toward growing your nest egg. Once you’ve determined how much you can afford, automate payments to this account.


Seek Out Buying Alternatives

Meeting short-term purchasing needs without compromising your long-term finances can be tricky when you’re cash-strapped. Though high-interest credit cards, payday loans or rent-to-own contracts might look like lifelines when faced with a necessary expense you can’t immediately afford, these options can quickly devolve into compounding interest rates, hidden fees or even loss of merchandise.

Look into new financing options, such as employee purchase programs, which can offer a better way to buy when cash or prime credit are not options.

“In a high employment market, many employers offer purchase programs as a voluntary benefit to retain loyal, satisfied workers,” says HR industry expert, Racquel Roberts. “It provides easier access to products and services paid over time, but without the usual pitfalls.”

Programs like Purchasing Power, for example, allow employees to pay for items through payroll deduction over the course of 12 months. There’s no interest on the purchase, no fees and no credit check, making this an ultimately more affordable and accessible way to acquire that appliance, computer or other needed item. For more information, visit


Leverage Other Benefits

As more employers learn that a financially secure workforce makes for a more productive workforce, you may find a growing menu of voluntary benefits in your workplace designed to help you gain control of your financial life. From financial counseling services to student loan repayment to employee purchase programs, leveraging such tools can help you gain financial footing in a paycheck to paycheck reality.


Give Your Credit a Boost

The importance of good credit can’t be overstated. However, 20 percent of U.S. consumers have FICO scores of less than 600. For those who pay their cable, phone, utility and other recurring bills on time and in-full, a new program called Experian Boost may be able to help you boost your credit instantly. The program works by factoring in a consumer’s payment history on such bills, to give those with a limited credit history a boost.

It can be tough, if not impossible to feel secure when you are living paycheck to paycheck, but some smart strategies and helpful resources can help you gain financial footing.


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