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Thinking Outside the Box

What's the number one skill small businesses should seek in new hires? According to successful entrepreneur and business owner Joyce Bender, it's flexibility. As President and CEO of a technology consulting firm, Ms. Bender knows first hand the traits associated with success in today's rapidly-changing workplace. Otherwise, she wouldn't be in business.

Today more than ever, small businesses need people with a demonstrated ability to adapt to different situations and circumstances. And perhaps more than any other group, people with disabilities possess precisely these attributes. On a daily basis, people with disabilities must think creatively about how to solve problems and accomplish tasks. In the workplace, this resourcefulness translates into innovative thinking, fresh ideas and varied approaches to confronting business challenges and achieving success.

"People with disabilities are constantly thinking of new and different ways to do things. It just goes with the territory," says Ms. Bender. "You get not only dedication, but someone who thinks outside of the box, who has a diverse way of thinking and who adds new perspective on how to get things done."

National Disability Employment Awareness Month, held annually each October, presents an opportune time for businesses to ensure their hiring strategies allow them to benefit from the talents and strengths of all qualified job candidates. To learn more about how to do so and read about the different ways qualified individuals with disabilities are contributing to workplaces across the nation, visit the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Web site.

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