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Business Sense

Guiding Small Businesses through the Steps to Success

Earlier this month, America observed National Small Business Week–a time to celebrate the significant contributions of entrepreneurs and small businesses across the nation. According to the Small Business Administration, 30 million small businesses in the U.S. create nearly two out of three jobs in our economy, making them a major driver of economic growth.

Despite their prevalence, however, small businesses tend to employ people with disabilities at a much lower rate than large businesses, often because they are not aware of how easy and inexpensive it is to make their workplace accessible and provide accommodations. Thatís why the Office of Disability Employment Policy developed Small Business & Disability Employment: Steps to Success.

Small Business Steps to Success, a feature on the ODEP-funded Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion website, is a free toolkit that provides practical guidance for small businesses on how to recruit and retain qualified people with disabilities. It segments steps into 10 categories small businesses can take to capitalize on disability inclusion. Categories include Internships and Mentoring; Expressions of Commitment by Leadership; Recruitment Partnerships; Accommodations; Workforce Flexibility; Return-to-Work/Stay-at-Work Strategies; Veteran Targeting; Disability Inclusion Training; Accessibility; and Transportation Considerations.

Whether a business is just starting out or looking for ways to enhance already existing efforts, there are a number of proactive steps they can take to recruit and retain qualified employees with disabilities–and reap the business benefits of doing so. The Small Business Steps to Success toolkit provides a helpful starting point and a path toward a more inclusive workforce.

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