Small Business & Disability Employment: Steps to Success provides practical guidance for small businesses on how to recruit and retain qualified people with disabilities. It also describes approaches business associations—including but not limited to local chambers of commerce and business leadership networks—can use to educate their members on the issue and raise 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 around the country received funds to pilot 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. From there, however, each consortium was given wide latitude to set priorities and focus its efforts based on the local realities present in its community.
Due in large part to the inclusion of the business association partners engaged by each consortium, Add Us In brought to light many innovative and sustainable strategies that can be replicated by small businesses and business associations nationwide. Small Business & Disability Employment: Steps to Success was developed to share these strategies and provide a platform for continued exploration of best practices for increasing the capacity of small businesses to recruit and retain people with disabilities.