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Five Ways Employers Can Advance Disability Inclusion

by Brenda Perkins | Oct 25, 2023

In this guest blog from Brenda Perkins, director of business relations for the Center for Disability Inclusion, she shares her insights on how to create awareness and take action for disability employment.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Celebrated annually, it brings awareness to disability employment topics and celebrates the many and varied contributions of Americans with disabilities. The 2023 theme is “Advancing Access & Equity” and recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the foundation for providing individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to receive program benefits and services. (NDEAM 2023)

There is no diversity without disability! Being purposeful to go beyond the minimum requirements of legal compliance, many companies of all sizes recognize and foster the unique talents and contributions of their employees with disabilities to accelerate business objectives and foster an inclusive work culture.

Hiring people with disabilities is no longer viewed as charity or the right thing to do. It has become a business imperative for organizations to attract and retain employees, customers and investors. (SHRM, 2023)

Five Ways to Advance Your Disability Inclusion Efforts:

Create Conversations
Not just October, but throughout the year, offer education opportunities that will start normalizing conversations on important topics like reducing the stigma of mental health in the workplace, disability awareness, neurodiversity in the workplace, and disability inclusion and managing employees. (CDI)

Leverage Resources
Establishing relationships with organizations in the disability inclusion space will accelerate your progress and you’ll find numerous community agencies with a talent pool of individuals with disabilities who are work-ready. Expand your connections and network with HR/talent professionals doing this work who are willing to share ideas. If you have a disability-focused business/employee resource group, be sure to tap into their expertise. They’re a unique resource of info, ideas, solutions, and a strong internal partner to help advance your efforts. (Ask EARN)

Evaluate Accessibility
Expand your scope beyond facility access only and identify barriers in your online application process to expand your talent pipeline. Review your health and wellness programs to ensure participation criteria are accessible and attainable for employees and dependents with disabilities. Work with your technology team to include captioning as a standard in your virtual meetings and training videos, and ensure websites, social media posts and online application processes are also accessible. (

Look Within
Take an honest look at your internal processes and systems and consider areas for improvement. Is your DEI strategy unintentionally narrow in scope or intentionally inclusive of disability and accessibility? Is your accommodation request policy clearly written and communicated to your entire workforce? Would an internal assessment to identify strengths and weaknesses around disability inclusion create more opportunities for business success? Are adequate resources being allocated to become an employer of choice for people with disabilities? (Seal of Accomplishment)

Just Do Something
Purpose to identify one area where progress is doable and start there. Once you start your disability inclusion journey, the next steps will become more obvious along the way.

Looking for guidance to advance your disability inclusion efforts? Connect with Brenda Perkins, Center for Disability Inclusion or visit our website at to learn more.

About Center for Disability Inclusion (CDI)

CDI is a national organization that also assists KC area companies in expanding and improving disability inclusion efforts within the workplace. Its online job board helps individuals with disabilities by providing ways to connect with businesses that are leaders in disability inclusion practices.

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