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Hispanic Americans: Talent for Your Business

September 15th marks the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a time when America recognizes and celebrates the important pieces that Hispanic Americans contribute to the mosaic of our nation. The month also celebrates the personal freedom and self-determination most Hispanic Americans or their ancestors sought when they first came to the U.S. Like Americans of many other cultural and ethnic backgrounds, they were drawn to America's promise of equal opportunity for all. Central to this promise is the right to pursue gainful work and be recognized for one's skills and accomplishments.

Today, Hispanics are the fastest growing minority in the U.S., and represent one of every three new members of the workforce. Hispanics, however, have the lowest representation of all major racial and ethnic groups in management and professional occupations; instead, forty percent are in low wage jobs, and many are in high risk occupations. Lack of health insurance, the prevalence of acquired disabilities for workers in high risk jobs, and the disproportionate rate of health conditions such as diabetes in the Hispanic community, are all factors that contribute to this population's increasing rate of disability.

Disability is an emerging issue for Hispanic business owners as well as for Hispanic workers. Hispanics are founding businesses at three times the national rate; according to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, in 2008 there were more than 2.5 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S., generating more than $388 billion in revenue. Disability issues must figure into their plans for business success.

Hispanic business owners are uniquely poised to tap into the labor pool of Hispanics with disabilities while also serving the needs of customers with disabilities. An understanding of cultural issues, such as the resistance to seek help outside the family, can enable Hispanic business owners to find proactive ways to provide accommodations that increase workers' productivity. Similarly, by making their place of business accessible to all customers, they can meet the needs of the community as well as the needs of people with disabilities and their families.

To learn more about making your business welcoming to all potential customers and employees, visit the Office of Disability Employment Policy Web site. For information about efforts to promote positive employment outcomes for Hispanic Americans with disabilities, see the World Institute on Disability's Proyecto Vision Web site.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month Poster Available to Order

The 2009 NDEAM poster is available to order online in English and Spanish. The poster is 20" x 15" and is available at no cost to you. Please enter your online order here. The maximum order is 100 posters. You may also download PDF versions of the posters.

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