Disability Employment 101: Appendix I

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Appendix I: Recommended Disability-Friendly Strategies for the Workplace

Employers who hire people with disabilities diversify, enrich and enhance the culture of the workplace. Outlined below are strategies to include people with disabilities in the workplace.

  • Make a corporate commitment to include people with disabilities among your stakeholders. Is the CEO committed to a disability-friendly workplace? Do corporate policies, procedures and practices specifically mention the word "disability?" Do people with disabilities serve on the board? Are workers with disabilities employed at all skill levels in the workforce, including senior management positions? Are your products and services marketed to customers with disabilities? Do people with disabilities purchase your goods and services?

  • Educate all staff on disability issues. Does new staff orientation include disability awareness training? Are training materials available in alternate formats such as large print, Braille and captioned? Do employees with disabilities serve as mentors for new hires who do not have disabilities? Are people with disabilities integrated into your workforce?

  • Provide continuing information on disability issues. Is staff familiar with legislation pertaining to disability issues? Is disability information provided routinely in the company newsletter or on an intranet site?

  • Form a disability support group. Do employees with disabilities meet to discuss disability employment issues? Does this group have authority to make recommendations to management? Is all staff aware of this group and the contributions it makes to corporate success?

  • Provide accessible facilities and services. Are buildings, parking areas, workspaces and communication systems accessible to people with disabilities?

  • Accommodate applicants and workers with disabilities. Is there a central source and budget for accommodations? Are applicants and employees informed that accommodations are available if needed? Does staff routinely stay abreast of new developments in universal and assistive technology?

  • Project a disability-friendly image to attract candidates and customers with disabilities. Do college recruiters target students with disabilities when making campus calls? Do recruiters search for resumes on disability-related Web sites? Are recruiters and other personnel responsible for establishing working relationships with community agencies serving applicants with disabilities?

  • Hire applicants with disabilities. Do recruiters regularly attend employment fairs for candidates with disabilities or target students at colleges with known populations of students with disabilities, such as Gallaudet University and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (http://www.ntid.rit.edu)?

  • Train and advance workers with disabilities. Do employees with disabilities routinely participate in employer-sponsored training opportunities? If not, has this issue been brought before a disability support group for recommendations? Are procedures in place to promote qualified employees with disabilities to management and supervisory positions?

  • Encourage staff to volunteer in the community. Is staff encouraged to build relationships with community service organizations for people with disabilities? Does staff make regular visits to high schools to inform administrators, teachers and students with disabilities about open houses or job trends in your industry?

  • Brief coworkers? Have coworkers been trained to know how to welcome workers with disabilities? Do coworkers know who to contact for questions regarding working with employees with disabilities?

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Content adapted from "Disability-Friendly Strategies for the Workplace," taken from the Disability-Friendly Business Awards Nomination Packet, prepared by the Virginia Business Leadership Network (www.vabln.org), an accredited chapter of the USBLN.

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Last Modified: 09/06/2006