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Resources to Assist in Welcoming All Qualified Individuals

Next week marks the 50th anniversary of the largest public demonstration in American history — when a quarter of a million people gathered on the National Mall to listen to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak about his dream of a better, more equal America.

The date was August 28, 1963, and the event, of course, was the March on Washington, or as it was officially titled, the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom."  Although now commonly referred to without those four additional words, they are highly significant; the opportunity to pursue work free of discrimination is one of the most basic tenets of equality.

That day set the wheels in motion for significant progress on civil rights in America — for not only African Americans, but also other groups, including people with disabilities.  In fact, in ensuing years, disability rights leaders looked to the civil rights movement for guidance as they too fought for equality, in employment and all other aspects of community life.  The outcome of their efforts was the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. 

Although most small business owners understand the purpose of the ADA, not all may know how it applies to their hiring and employment practices.  To help, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) offers The Americans with Disabilities Act:  A Primer for Small Businesses, and the ODEP-funded Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides free, personal guidance on job accommodations — a key component of the ADA's employment provisions. 

By welcoming the skills and talents of all qualified people, businesses both large and small play an important role in creating a better, more equal America — one where all people who want to work can work and are recognized for the contributions they make.

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