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Disability:IN/Formerly US Business Leadership Network/History

  • The Business Leadership Network (BLN) was originally established in 1994 through the President's Committee on Employment with People with Disabilities (PCEPD — small federal agency whose chair and vice chairs were appointed by the President) with a national business advisory board chaired by Tom Donohue, the President of the US Chamber of Commerce.
  • The Network was created through various Governor's and Mayor's committees on disability and based on the premise that business responds to their peers, and underscoring that employers should be recognized as valued customers of the vocational rehabilitation system.
  • After ODEP was created in 2001 business leaders within the BLN affiliates met at the annual national conference and voted to establish a national organization known as the US Business Leadership Network®.
  • The creation of the national organization resulted in the development and growth of affiliates across the U.S.
  • On July 10, 2018, USBLN rebranded to Disability:IN to better reflect its important mission of empowering businesses to achieve disability inclusion and equality.


The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and Disability:IN recognize the value of establishing a collaborative relationship to promote the employment of people with disabilities. ODEP and Disability:IN hereby form an Alliance to provide Disability:IN members and others with information, guidance, and access to resources that will help them to recruit, hire, and advance workers with disabilities. In developing this Alliance, ODEP and Disability:IN recognize that ODEP and Disability:IN members are an integral part of this national effort.

Jill Houghton, President and CEO, USBLN, and Jennifer Sheehy, Deputy Assistant Secretary, ODEP, sign the Alliance agreement on September 20, 2016 (Photo credit: Lawrence Roffee Photography)

Jill Houghton, President and CEO, Disability:IN, and Jennifer Sheehy, Deputy Assistant Secretary, ODEP, sign the Alliance agreement on September 20, 2016 (Photo credit: Lawrence Roffee Photography)

Training and Education

  • Disseminate training and education materials to Disability:IN members on issues of concern in order to advance the recruitment and employment of job candidates with disabilities.
  • Work with ODEP to disseminate and share effective disability employment practices and to provide expertise in communicating such information to employers and employees.
  • Work with ODEP to provide expertise on key industry issues as they pertain to the employment of people with disabilities.

Outreach and Communication

  • Provide expertise in developing information on the advancement of employment of people with disabilities and in communicating such information (e.g. print and electronic media, electronic assistance tools and ODEP's and Disability:IN's websites) to employers.
  • Speak, exhibit, or appear at ODEP or Disability:IN events.
  • Collaborate with other Alliance participants on employer issues that are identified through the Alliance Program.

Technical Assistance

  • Identify activities that demonstrate, evaluate, or replicate model disability employment strategies.
  • Identify employer specific issues of concern to which the Alliance should direct particular attention and resources.
  • Promote ODEP-funded technical assistance services, such as the Job Accommodation Network and the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion.

National Dialogue

  • Raise others' awareness of and demonstrate their own commitment to the advancement of employment for people with disabilities whenever Disability:IN leaders address groups.
  • Develop and disseminate case studies illustrating the business value of employing people with disabilities and publicize their results.
  • As appropriate, convene or participate in forums, round table discussions, or stakeholder meetings on employer leadership issues to help forge innovative solutions in the workplace on recruiting, hiring, retaining and promoting people with disabilities.

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