People with disabilities offer a high-value skill set to businesses that understand how to leverage their strengths. A minor shift in perception about the capabilities and contributions of people with special needs unlocks a world of potential talent for your company.

Businesses that hire employees with disabilities see:

28% higher revenue*

30% greater profit margins*

4x more likely to see higher total 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.

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

Companies Creating an Inclusive Workplace

Disability inclusion in business means hiring people with disabilities, building a culture of belonging for people with special needs, and focusing on strengths and abilities. We Include’s articles and videos about companies that include highlight who’s doing inclusion right and seeing amazing results.

Social Enterprise

Spectrum Designs in New York followed a thread on creating a workforce talent of people with autism. That thread knitted together one of the most impressive, productive work cultures in the apparel industry.
The history of Spectrum Designs reads like a string of headlines chronicling the American Dream:

  • 2011— T-shirt screen printing nonprofit starts in a barn with two teens with autism and three dedicated adults
  • 2012— Staff grows to 10 teens and production moves to 500 sq ft room
  • 2013— Sales triple and production moves to 1,500 sq ft building
  • 2014— Sales double and plans for expansion begin
  • 2015— Equipment upgrades help production increase 500%
Social Enterprise

Beauty for All

With the momentum building for diversity and inclusion initiatives in businesses around the world, more and more research comes to light revealing the social and economic benefits of including people with disabilities on staff, in marketing, and as clientele.

Over and over we keep learning that inclusion pays—it’s good business; it’s smart business; and it’s everybody’s business to keep busting down barriers for people with disabilities to make the world a better place.

One super cool way big corporations and small, independent businesses promote inclusion is by teaming up to celebrate people with disabilities. Local Clearwater, Fla. salon FLök by Bekim partnered with global brand L’Oréal to host a private beauty day with hair and makeup for a group of adults with disabilities.

Beauty for All

Fashion Forward

Alivia, the social impact clothing company of Jovana and Brandon Mullins, believes the only label on a person should be attached to a fabulous garment.

Fashion designer Jovana Mullins found herself as an art therapy volunteer for adults and children with developmental disabilities after realizing she needed more hands-on community work to feed her spirit.

The people she met—and the art they created—blew her mind.

“Some of the most beautiful art I had ever seen was being produced,” says Jovana. “When I saw this artwork, I thought, this needs to be on clothing–I can see that on a dress. I can see that on a scarf.”

Fashion Forward

Business Inclusion Guide

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.
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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.
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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

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 (EARN)

  • The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) specifically helps employers find good candidates with disabilities. 

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

  • Click here to see EARN’s comprehensive resource hub that includes websites, organizations, and valuable links to finding candidates with disabilities.

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

  • Review your job postings to make sure they don’t include arbitrary, exclusionary requirements that could deter candidates with disabilities from applying.

  • For example, many office job listings have requirements like “must be able to lift up to 20 pounds,” when, in reality, the heaviest thing most office employees lift is a five-pound ream of paper.

  • To write inclusive postings, follow these three steps for writing ADA compliant job descriptions.

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. Microsoft identified that these traditional interviews rely on high social expectations, which puts people on the autism spectrum at an unfair disadvantage and doesn’t allow hiring officers to see the candidate’s strengths.

  • Consider spacing out the working interview process over a series of days to allow candidates to demonstrate what they can do versus explain their credentials in a formal interview setting.

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

Employee Video

Seeing is Believing

As the presenting organization for We Include, Help Us Gather (HUG), a nonprofit serving people with disabilities in the Tampa Bay, Fla., area, knows first-hand about the mutual benefits between employees with disabilities and their employers. These short videos featuring HUG Friends who have found meaningful work in their communities reveal the real-life effects of inclusion in business.

Incorporating Inclusion

Making Accommodations

Businesses often balk at the idea of recruiting people with special needs because of the false notion that making accommodations is difficult and expensive. It’s not.
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Offering authentic accommodations is crucial because current evidence proves that the workplace benefits of employees with special needs and the strength of the disability market are shaping the future of business culture. We Include offers these links to several resources that can serve as starting points for understanding accommodations for employees with special needs.

The Job Accommodation Network’s online search tool lets users explore various accommodation options for people with disabilities in work and educational settings. Simply type in the name of a disability and the search engine returns a list of accommodation ideas. Click here to get started.

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

This Workplace Accommodation Toolkit provides training presentations, productivity standards, role-play videos, and much more to help hiring managers and workplace supervisors create an inclusive workplace for people with disabilities during all phases of the employment life cycle. 

Ensure your workplace has wheelchair-accessible entrances. Ramps can be easy and affordable to purchase or build. Provide enough room for individuals in wheelchairs or power chairs to easily navigate to where they need to go. In general, the ADA recommends a 5′ diameter area for a turning radius and are required in commercial buildings in their Guidelines for Accessibility document. Create flexible seating options (ex. Offer tables where a chair can be removed so employees in wheelchairs can access the conference table.)

Be willing to adjust lighting or overhead music. People with sensory sensitivities process light, sound, smell, and texture in very specific and sometimes intensely unpleasant ways. Sensory sensitivities are incredibly common, with some research estimating 1 in 20 people in the general population affected. You can learn more about sensory sensitivities here. If possible, decorate your business with muted colors and natural lighting.

For more guidance and information on making your business inclusive, email info@weinclude.org or fill out the form below.

Inclusive Marketing

Hiring Models of All Abilities

Even though 1 in 4 U.S. adults lives with a disability, mainstream advertising campaigns rarely include people with special needs. Inclusive marketing is one of the hottest topics happening in advertising right now, with the number one trend being brand humanity, according to Biz Community. HUG, the presenting organization for We Include, landed in the top slot for creating “disability is not different” campaigns that are ranked as one of the most important factors of successful brand humanity. If you believe in inclusive marketing and want to give consumers what they crave, check out the links below to hire people of all abilities to represent your brand.

Ethan Holt

Ethan Holt is an exceptionally talented model with Down syndrome with experience in print and digital marketing. Check out more of 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 more of 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.

We Include will occassionally receive requests from brands or modeling agencies looking to hire models with disabilities. To be considered for future modeling requests, please fill out the form below.

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