In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the recent White House Summit on Disability Employment explored how we can better include people with disabilities in the workplace. Here are five top takeaways from the summit for employers on improving disability inclusion:
1. Connect with local disability advocacy organizations
Advocacy organizations across the country are available to provide assistance with training, recruiting and hiring individuals with disabilities. Let them know your business needs and goals and they can help improve your disability employment program.
2. Provide on-the-job training
Apprenticeship programs, paid internships and on-the-job training are essential to having a full workforce. Make sure these programs are inclusive of individuals with disabilities.
3. Learn by example
Following the business practices of companies that excel in disability inclusion is one of the best ways to learn how to recruit, hire, retain, and promote people with disabilities. SSB BART Group is just one example.
4. Start a mentorship program
Fostering relationships and mentorship between senior leaders and employees with disabilities allows workers to learn from and about one another.
5. Invest in the future
Even if you do not hire a person with a disability, always be sure to keep his or her resume on file. Reconsider the candidate when new openings arise and share the resume with your networks.
As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we have to do everything possible to continue expanding opportunities for people with disabilities, especially in the workplace. We need every worker off the bench and in the game, and this starts with prioritizing disability inclusion. Want more ideas? Find all of the takeaways from the summit here.
Meredith Ausenbaugh is an intern at the U.S. Department of Labor.