How to build an inclusive workforce
The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) is a free resource that helps employers tap the benefits of disability diversity by educating public- and private-sector organizations on ways to build inclusive workplace cultures. EARN offers information and resources to empower individuals and organizations to become leaders in the employment and advancement of people with disabilities.
EARN assists employers through online support and a range of education and outreach activities. Each year, we attract more than 93,000 unique visitors to our website, which offers employer-focused resources on a range of disability inclusion topics including sourcing and hiring individuals with disabilities, disability etiquette, reasonable accommodations and encouraging self-identification. We also frequently host webinars for employers on topics related to building workforces that are inclusive of people with disabilities. Our webinars typically draw between 200 and 500 viewers each. In addition, more than 12,000 subscribers receive our monthly e-newsletter, which highlights national and regional news, hot topics and employer success stories in the world of workplace disability inclusion. You can also follow EARN on social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, for the latest on disability inclusion trends and resources.
A new interactive "toolkit" makes it easier for Ohio employers to recruit, hire, and retain qualified workers with disabilities. "Hiring Ohioans with Disabilities: a Toolkit for Employers, Managers and Human Resource Professionals" was produced by Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). It was created in response to a recommendation of the Ohi Workforce Integration Task Force (WIT), which Fover John R. Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly created in 2014. The toolkit is now available online at www.jfs.ohio.gov/HiringAbility
During the work of the WIT, it became evident that Ohio employers need a clear, consistent and practical resource that outlines how best to tap into the skilled and motivated workforce individuals with disabilities represent. Hiring Ohioans with Disabilities meets the need by compiling a great deal of information into one convenient, easily accessible location.
Employers can download the toolkit to learn about the following topics and more:
- Best practices from Ohio's top employers
- Tax incentives for hiring workers with disabilities
- Free sources of consultation and assistance
- Making reasonable workplace accommodations
- Offering more flexible work arrangements
- Interacting with people with disabilities
- Using job coaches to help workers with disabilities
- Managing disability leave
- Accommodating service animals in the workplace
- Set an expectation from the top-down about your businesses’ commitment to hiring people with disabilities.
- Incorporate disability into existing diversity committees within your business.
- Embed disability components into training for HR and new employees, and include disability in diversity training.
- Integrate the concepts, skills and results of your disability efforts into the fabric of the organization
Public and private employers of all sizes can reference this guide to learn about the benefits associated with facilitating inclusive internship programs as well as the components to consider when designing, implementing, and evaluating these programs. It is important to note that an internship program can vary greatly in size from one intern in a small office to a whole group spread out across a larger employer. As employers reference this guide, they can adapt its recommendations to meet the goals of their specific program.
This toolkit provides curated information and essential resources about how (and why!) small businesses can successfully hire and retain employees with disabilities. You’ll find easy-to-understand, practical advice, along with expert guidance on following Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Instead of searching the web for whatever article may appear first, we hope you’ll come back here often to explore the eight topics in this toolkit.