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Adding Value to Small Businesses

Diversity leads to innovation. By fostering a work culture respectful of individual differences, employers benefit from varied perspectives on how to confront challenges and achieve success. In fact, most of today's most successful companies proudly deem diversity a core corporate value.

Although often used in reference to differences in race or ethnicity, diversity actually encompasses a wide range of attributes and experiences, including disability. This intersection is the premise behind Add Us In, a new U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) initiative that aims to assist small businesses — including the rapidly increasing number of those owned by diverse individuals — to employ people with disabilities.

A major goal of Add Us In is to identify successful, replicable models adopted by small businesses in different industries. Thus, ODEP is encouraging small businesses to share their experiences related to the employment of people with disabilities. As part of this, a National Diversity Forum will be held on August 4, 2011 in Washington, D.C. Businesses interested in participating should e-mail huberman.michael@dol.gov.

Small businesses are the engine of economic growth in the U.S. Through effective disability employment policies and practices, they also have the power to drive innovation through diverse perspectives — strengthening not only the nation's economy, but also its ideals.

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