Dylan Rafaty, a 23-year-old entrepreneur from Dallas, has poured his heart into his independent startup, DylanListed, to create a job resource for the disabled in the American workforce.
“DylanListed identifies with the need of the differently-abled community to be self-empowered in its job search, to be active participants in the business community,” Rafaty says. “Our cloud-based platform will help transform how America hires the differently-abled job seekers and its disabled veterans. Businesses miss out if they do not bring differently-abled into the company.”
Born with hearing impairments in both ears, including other physical health obstacles such as scoliosis, Rafaty has experienced the struggle for those with a developmental or intellectual disability to attain jobs.
“Having difficulties finding [my own] work inspired me to try to help others who are differently-abled and looking for work,” he says.
According to the Office of Disability Employment Policy, 20.5 percent of the U.S. workforce has a disability. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor proposed a rule that would “require federal contractors and subcontractors to set a goal of having 7 percent of their workforce be comprised of qualified workers with disabilities.” Rafaty saw an opportunity and founded DylanListed in November 2012.
“Today I understand that businesses care about costs of accommodations for persons having a disability, and they worry about compliance with the laws. They worry too about how a person that is differently-abled will fit in with the organization,” Rafaty says. “Other businesses never even think about actively trying to hire someone with a disability. DylanListed will transform the way that businesses approach disability diversity.”
The site is still under production, and Rafaty is continuing to garner support for it. A crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo was recently launched to raise seed money for DylanListed. Although it did not gain serious momentum, Rafaty is optimistic and continues to search for supporters by attending speaking engagements and national conferences within his target community.
“Our journey as new kind of advocates is just beginning. I, supported by my business partner, my family, and the national DylanListed community, am up for the challenge,” he says.