The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy has announced a total of $8,422,574 in continued funding for organizations that improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Some of the projects that are receiving funding include the Add Us In initiative, the Job Accommodation Network and the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth.
Add Us In is a new initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). The initiative is designed to identify and develop strategies to increase employment opportunities within the small business community for individuals with disabilities. Included within the small business community are targeted businesses that are owned and operated by minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals; women, veterans and people with disabilities.
Small business is the engine of U.S. economic growth, and the data on minority business growth clearly shows that minority-owned and operated firms are a significant contributor to the long term health of the United States economy. Over the past 10 years, minority-owned businesses have grown at approximately double the rate of all firms in the U.S. economy. If one considers the growth of additional targeted businesses such as those owned and operated by women or individuals with disabilities, then the influence of these businesses is even greater.
Given this level of growth in the small business community, one of the high-priority goals of the Add Us In Initiative is to create business engagement models that can be replicated on a national scale. Related to this goal is the companion goal of building national and local networks of experts skilled in connecting small employers with the underutilized talent pool that is people with disabilities.
Posted by Sheri Abrams, Attorney at Law, www.sheriabrams.com