People with disabilities can be highly successful employees and entrepreneurs. Let's work together to create a work culture that recognizes the value of diversity.

A True Game-Changer

In our opinion, Senator Tom Harkin is the most influential politician to ever fight for the advancement of disability rights. He is responsible for landmark legislation, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. The importance of the ADA cannot be understated; without this achievement, people with disabilities would still be restricted in schools, workplaces, public transportation, and all areas of public life.
Sen. Harkin spent 30 years in the U.S. Senate, authoring and sponsoring thousands of pieces of legislation that ensure people of all abilities have the opportunity to receive a great education, fair and fulfilling employment, and a place of respect in our hearts and communities. Sen. Harkin continues his work today through the Harkin Institute, a catalyst for research, learning, and outreach to promote policies like the advancement opportunities for those with disabilities.

Businesses that hire employees with disabilities see:

28% higher revenue*

30% greater profit margins*

More likely to see higher shareholder returns**

*The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN)

**Getting to Equal 2018: The Disability Inclusion Advantage (Accenture)

Despite these facts, 81% of people with disabilities remain unemployed.

Just imagine if every company had competitive, inclusive employment.

Inclusion in Business

According to the 2020 Annual Report on the Global Economics of Disability, the emerging disability market will soon be larger than China with more than $1.90 trillion in disposable income worldwide.
People with disabilities as employees continue to outperform their non-disabled counterparts. Businesses that include people with special needs see increases in revenues, profit margins, shareholder returns, and overall workplace morale. People with disabilities want to work, want to spend, and want inclusion as customers and valuable workforce talents.
Read and download We Include’s Including People with Disabilities in Business guide for more information on how to find applicants with disabilities, integrate employees, and best serve customers with disabilities.

Get the Guide

By putting trust in your employees, agencies and partners and allowing them to make a difference, it will improve brand perception externally and internally. In turn, it makes it easier to attract and retain the best, most diverse talent, which then leads to more authentic marketing.

Raja RajamannarChief Marketing and Communications Officer, Mastercard

In today's employment climate, companies that let biases get in the way of great talent simply won't be able to compete. People with disabilities offer a valuable pool of potential that is too often overlooked and underestimated.

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.President and CEO, Society for Human Resource Management

Intentionally designing [accommodations] for people with diverse needs and abilities is what nurtures ongoing innovation.

Thomas KohnstammWriter, Microsoft Stories

If we get disability right, we get human inclusion right.

Caroline CaseyFounder, The Valuable 500

Creating a more inclusive world for the 1.3 billion people in the world with a disability is not just the right thing to do, it also makes a lot of business sense.

Paul PolmanCEO, Unilever

To achieve our bold goals and aspiration, we must attract, retain and engage an incredibly diverse talent pipeline that includes individuals with disabilities. We benefit from their talents, experiences and perspectives, which make us better.

Dennis MuilenburgPresident and CEO, Boeing

It's time more brands woke up to the collective benefits of understanding people with disabilities and their needs. The inclusion revolution is coming. Make sure it's on your agenda.

Richard BransonFounder, Virgin Media

Top 20 disability Employers in 2020

Source: National Organization on Disability

Inclusion in business means building a culture of belonging for people with special needs.
Check out these stories highlighting companies that are doing inclusion right and seeing amazing results.

Spectrum Designs: Custom Apparel Shop Employing Adults with Autism

“If you want efficient employees, if you want a lack of turnover, it makes sense.”
Click here to find how this workforce with autism is becoming
one of the most impressive, productive corporate cultures in the apparel industry.


Spectrum Designs: Custom Apparel Shop Employing Adults with Autism

FLoK by Bekim and L’Oreal: Inclusive Beauty Trailblazers

Who says beauty is only skin deep?
Check out how businesses and companies of all sizes are proving that inclusion looks good from every angle.

FLoK by Bekim and L’Oreal: Inclusive Beauty Trailblazers

Alivia: Fashion Designs by Artists with Disabilities

Beautiful clothing can transform your mood, but what if it could also create a positive social impact?
Alivia does both. Click here to see how the clothing company produces amazing fashion from designs created by artists with special needs.

Alivia: Fashion Designs by Artists with Disabilities

Connecting to Candidates with Disabilities

Create a more inclusive workplace by tapping into a gold mine of talent through networks dedicated to matching companies with good applicants who have disabilities.

Employer Assistance and Resource Network

  • Click here for a resource hub with websites, organizations, and valuable links to finding candidates with disabilities.

  • Click here to find your state agency that can connect you with candidates.

U.S. Department of Labor

  • The U.S. Department of Labor offers several fact sheets and other resources to educate employers.

  • Click here to learn more about effective recruitment and hiring strategies.

Review your Job Postings

Adjust your interview process

  • Provide alternative ways for a job candidate with a disability to prove why he or she would make a good employee.

  • For example, use a working interview in lieu of a talking-only interview or allow candidates to write down their answers.

  • Interviewers should be confident asking job candidates what they need to be successful, both in the interview and in the job.

Seeing is Believing

As the presenting organization for We Include, Help Us Gather (HUG), a nonprofit serving people with disabilities in the Tampa, Florida area, knows first-hand about the mutual benefits between employees with disabilities and their employers. Dirk is one of many HUG Friends who has found meaningful work in the community, and his story is an example of the real-life effects of inclusion in business.


Creating a Culture of Inclusion in the Workplace

Business owners or hiring managers may be hesitant to hire people with special needs because of a lack of understanding about how to recruit, support, and empower employees with special needs.
We Include has organized information and resources to make it easy for your company find and hire employees with disabilities.

The Job Accommodation Network’s online search tool explores various accommodation options for people with disabilities in workplaces and schools. Simply type in the name of a disability and the search engine returns a list of ideas.

The Job Accommodation Network also provides A to Z listings by disability, topic, and limitation. Click here for effective accommodations that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

This Workplace Accommodation Toolkit provides training presentations, productivity standards, role-play videos, and much more to help management maximize inclusivity.

Ensure your workplace has wheelchair-accessible entrances. Ramps can be easy and affordable to purchase or build.

Create flexible seating options, like tables where a chair can be removed so people in wheelchairs can access the conference table.

Make sure you are providing enough room for individuals in wheelchairs or power chairs to easily navigate to where they need to go. The ADA recommends a 5″ diameter area for a turning radius in this Guidelines for Accessibility document.

Be willing to adjust lighting or overhead music. People with sensory sensitivities process light, sound, smell, and texture in ways that can often be painful. If possible, decorate your business with muted colors and natural lighting.

Ethan Holt

Ethan Holt is an exceptionally talented model with Down syndrome with experience in print, digital and commercial TV marketing. Check out Ethan’s work here.

Grace Strobel

Grace Strobel is a groundbreaking model and speaker with Down syndrome who’s been featured on the Today show, Lady Gaga’s Channel Kindness and Born This Way Foundation, and worked with top-tier brands like Obaji Skincare. See Grace’s work here.

Zebedee Management

Zebedee is a specialist talent agency created to increase the representation of people with disabilities or alternative appearances and trans/non-binary individuals in media. Learn more about Zebedee here.

Gamut Management

Gamut Management represents people with disabilities to create a marketplace where businesses and industries can connect with them. This also gives Gamut’s clients an opportunity to have a say in how brands market to them, create products for them and represent them in pop culture. Learn more about Gamut here.

The Ethan Effect

Even though 1 in 4 U.S. adults lives with a disability, mainstream advertising campaigns rarely include people with special needs.
In 2019, Ethan Holt, a young man with Down syndrome, attended a photoshoot hosted by Help Us Gather (HUG), the presenting nonprofit organization for We Include. Ethan stunned the HUG team with his good looks and natural talent for modeling. HUG decided that he should have the opportunity to achieve his dream of becoming a professional model.
When local talent agencies turned down the opportunity to work with Ethan, the HUG team went straight to the brand and companies’ marketing teams, knowing that the demand for inclusive marketing existed. They were right.
Ethan landed a job as Surf Style’s first model with a disability and the story went viral, reaching millions of people across the globe.
Ethan’s success is proof: People want advertising that reflects their reality, and savvy companies large and small are realizing the value of true diversity. In fact, featuring disabilities in advertising was
recognized as the #1 brand humanity trend by Biz Community in 2020.

We Include occasionally receives requests from brands or modeling agencies looking to hire models with disabilities.
If you or someone you know would like to be recruited, please fill out the form below.

Click or drag files to this area to upload. You can upload up to 3 files.