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Business Sense

A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?

What can YOU do? Most small business owners could answer the question in any number of ways, because the work they do runs the gamut, encompassing anything from customer service and inventory management to paperwork processing and business development.  But beyond providing core products and services, there is one important thing business owners do that they may overlook — they have a strong influence on societal attitudes and norms. This is especially true for small businesses, which are so often an integral part of a community's social fabric.

One area where small businesses can make a big difference is disability inclusion. By making their workplace open to all qualified individuals, including people with disabilities, businesses send an important message. They also benefit their bottom line; employees with disabilities offer insight into a large and expanding customer segment. What's more, research shows that consumers with and without disabilities favor businesses that employ people with disabilities.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) offers a natural opportunity for small businesses to demonstrate a commitment to disability inclusion. Held annually in October, NDEAM celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year's theme is "A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?"

So what can small business owners do to support NDEAM? Ideas for taking part range from simple, such as putting up a poster, to comprehensive, such as implementing disability training. Regardless, all play an important part in fostering a strong, inclusive workforce, one where every person is recognized for his or her abilities — every day of every month.

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