Small business and disability are two pieces of the employment solution puzzle that actually fit together rather nicely. And like with most anything in life there is still work to be done if we are to see a more disability inclusive work force.
Despite being the nation’s major drivers of job growth, small businesses, including those owned and operated by minorities, employ people with disabilities at a much lower rate than large businesses.
There are some compelling reasons to be a disability-friendly employer. In 2014 the regulations that implement Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act were updated allowing for stronger requirements for federal contractors (and subcontractors) to take affirmative action to employ people with disabilities. So being disability inclusive may provide a competitive edge for small businesses that work with the government or those small businesses that want to do business with government in the future.
“But there is a larger, more wide-reaching reason we need small businesses on board when it comes to inclusion. In addition to being sources of employment, small businesses are often an integral part of the social fabric of their communities. Even if they don’t always realize it, they have a strong influence on societal attitudes and norms, sometimes even more so than large businesses. By fostering a workplace inclusive of the skills and talents of people with disabilities, small businesses can make a big difference”1
In the world of business, having a diverse team can often mean more points of view on how to deal with challenges and garner success. Often when we hear the term “diversity” we typically think of differences in race or ethnicity, but it actually encompasses a wider range of experiences including disability.
Say you have made the decision to promote an inclusive workplace adding the skills and talents of people with disabilities-where do you start? The following link outlines effective ways of recruiting and retaining qualified people with disabilities as well as ways that business associations can help members understand the value of a more diverse workplace and community.
And remember Pearl Buck Center’s Community Employment Services is only a phone call away. We can assist small businesses navigate the path to a successful disability diverse workplace. 541.484.4666