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Small Business & Disability Employment: Steps to Success

When it comes to doing business, a diverse team means more perspectives on how to confront challenges and achieve success.  Although the term "diversity" is typically used in reference to differences in race, gender or ethnicity, it actually encompasses an infinite range of experiences — including disability.

When it comes to ensuring a workplace inclusive of the skills and talents of people with disabilities, however, not all businesses may know where to start.  Now, Small Business & Disability Employment: Steps to Success provides a path, outlining various effective employment strategies and ways different small businesses across the nation have put them into action.  For those involved in business associations, this online tool also describes strategies for engaging member organizations in the issue and raising awareness in their communities.

The Steps to Success were developed based on information gleaned from the Add Us In initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy.  Through this program, eight consortia across the U.S. piloted models for increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities within small businesses, especially those in underrepresented and historically excluded communities.  The need for such models was clear; despite being the nation's major drivers of job growth, small businesses employ people with disabilities at a much lower rate than large businesses.

Each Add Us In consortium was required to include certain partners, among them business associations such as chambers of commerce or Business Leadership Networks.  Due in large part to the inclusion of these partners, Add Us In brought to light many innovative and sustainable strategies that can be replicated by small businesses and business associations nationwide — in other words, the Steps to Success.

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