As a business association, member education is likely to be a core part of your mission. You are therefore well positioned to help educate your member businesses on the value and benefits of fostering an inclusive, disability-friendly workplace. Many business groups offer such education in the form of events and professional development opportunities, such as the following:
- Classroom-style educational breakfasts or “lunch-and-learns”
- Networking events
- Online training modules
- Job fairs
- Disability mentoring days
There are a host of disability employment topics that can be covered during such events, which are easy-to-plan thanks to free content and training modules offered by numerous organizations. Potential topics for these events include:
- Disability Employment 101 & The Disability Dividend
- Communicating with Colleagues and Job Seekers with Disabilities
- The Value of Interns with Disabilities
- Understanding Workplace Accommodations
- Accessible Technology Considerations for Employers
- Inclusive Employment Strategies for Small Businesses
- Retention & the Value of Workplace Flexibility
- Increasing Your Eligibility for Federal Contracts by Hiring People with Disabilities: Understanding Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act
- Employer Tax Incentives for Hiring People with Disabilities
For a timely and relevant “hook,” you might consider hosting such events in October during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Some business associations also choose to partner with other community organizations or service groups to co-host these types of events.
Want to Learn More?
The following resources may be helpful to organizations planning an educational event about disability employment practices:
Several of the consortia involved in the Add Us In initiative held events to educate local businesses on disability employment matters—many in partnership with local service providers. These ranged from brown bag lunches to job fairs that connected businesses to qualified candidates with disabilities. One event in Bloomfield, Connecticut was co-sponsored by a member of the Connecticut Business Leadership Network, Thomas Hooker Brewing Company. The brewery, which employs numerous people with disabilities, hosted a “Best Practices and Brew Party” to encourage other local businesses to learn about integrating people with disabilities into their workforces and the benefits of doing so. Several consortia also hosted webinars on hot topics, such as meeting the disability hiring goals of Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act—something of particular interest to small businesses who want to go after federal contracts.