Culture of inclusion leads to business success

What does successful workplace inclusion for people with disabilities look like? An innovative program at Worldport, UPS’s main air sorting hub in Louisville, Kentucky, is game-changing, reframing disability inclusion not only as social responsibility but also as a means of meeting strategic business needs.

The UPS Transitional Learning Center (TLC) is a cooperative effort between UPS and the Coalition for Workforce Diversity (via Options Unlimited, Inc.) to allow people with disabilities – who are sourced through the Coalition – to experience UPS jobs through hands-on training. Another partner, the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, provided support for the Coalition for Workforce Diversity and the individual youths in the TLC. UPS Worldport and its Transitional Learning Center are playing an important role in advancing innovative solutions for connecting people with disabilities to meaningful employment.

Read the report on the LEAD Center’s website.

The National Center on Leadership for the Employment and Economic Advancement of People with Disabilities (LEAD) is a collaborative of disability, workforce and economic empowerment organizations led by National Disability Institute with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy


WEBINAR: The business case for accessible technology

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) is hosting a free webinar at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 13.

Technology is one of the central drivers of productivity and success in today’s workplace, for all workers. But when the technology in your workplace is inaccessible to people with disabilities, it impedes employees from performing to their fullest potential. This webinar will address the basics of employer responsibilities and opportunities related to accessibility of websites, online systems, mobile applications, and other forms of information and communication technology.

Click here to register and see the panelists.


New website for job seekers with disabilities

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities recently launched a new website aimed at helping people with disabilities find a job. OOD Works is a job portal where you can learn about vocational rehabilitation services and complete an online assessment.

What is vocational rehabilitation?

These services help individuals with disabilities find a job and be more independent.  This involves deciding if a person is eligible, setting an employment goal, putting the goal into a plan, and getting the job services and training needed to get a job.  Job coaching and other employment services may also be involved.


Workforce Solutions Summit will connect businesses to employees with disabilities

The Boards of Developmental Disabilities from Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties will hold a Workforce Solutions Summit to promote the hiring of individuals with disabilities. The event is 8-9:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Crowne Plaza Cincinnati, 5901 Pfeiffer Road in Blue Ash.

“Employees with disabilities are an untapped workforce,” said Keith Banner, Employment Services Coordinator from the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities. “People with disabilities deserve the chance to work in the community, and the chance to work alongside people who do not have a disability. Workers with disabilities can perform almost any type of job if just given the opportunity.”

At the Workforce Solutions Summit participants will learn how to successfully hire people with disabilities, and the types of services and supports available to help these individuals succeed in their jobs.

The keynote speaker is Mary Stagaman, senior inclusion advisor for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. “Research shows employee retention rates go up when you hire people with disabilities,” said Stagaman. “Many businesses are not familiar with the resources available in the community to support both the hiring process and successful inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace.”

The event will be facilitated by Lauren Todd, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant for ViaQuest, Inc., and Matt Disher, talent acquisition leader for Cintas. A business panel of representatives from Fifth Third Bank, Kings Island, Pinebrook Retirement Community, ThyssenKrupp Bilstein, and the Warren County Probate and Juvenile Court will present and discuss their success stories in employing people with developmental disabilities.

Closing remarks will be made by Jordan Vogel, vice president for talent initiatives for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

The Workforce Solutions Summit is aimed at business owners, human resource professionals, and hiring managers. Attendance is free but limited to 100 participants. Advance registration is required, and a full buffet breakfast will be provided. Register online at Eventbrite.


The Boards of Developmental Disabilities from Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren Counties support more than 10,000 individuals with disabilities, and their families who live in those counties through Early Intervention, Adult Services, Employment, Residential, Therapy, and other support programs.

Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Reflecting the important role disability plays in workforce diversity, this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) theme is “#InclusionWorks.”

Observed each October, NDEAM celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a diverse workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. Learn more on the official NDEAM website.

Our Employment Spotlight blog will be posting more local success stories and resources to celebrate this month.

Upcoming events to build inclusive workplaces

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce is hosting a new event as part of their Diverse By Design initiative. It begins at noon on Monday, Sept. 26.

Topics include:

  • ROI of employing people with disabilities and veterans
  • Understanding employer tax incentives
  • Local business success stories
  • Workplace accomodation and fostering a culture of openness and comfort

Paul Daughtery, an award-winning sports journalist and author, is the keynote speaker. His book, “An Uncomplicated Life,” is about his daughter Jillian, who has Down syndrome. Jillian has been successfully employed in the community for years and wrote a guest post for our blog earlier this year.

Registration and details on the Chamber’s website.

Also, on Sept. 27, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in partnership with the National Disability Mentoring Coalition, is hosting a celebration to kick off National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).

The celebration, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., highlights USDA’s new Disability Mentoring Model as a means to support increased employment and advancement of individuals with disabilities in the federal government and provides the framework for agencies and disability organizations to collaborate and share resources. Hear from top leaders about how the federal government is working to increase hiring, advancement, and retention of people with disabilities, and learn about a new multi-sector disability mentoring model.

#InclusionWorks: Mentoring to and through Employment is being held in Washington D.C., but can be watched live via the web. More information and registration details available online.

Connecting businesses to hiring help

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) is offering help to businesses around the state. The Hiring Ability Hotline, (866) 895-0058, provides employers with a direct connection to the agency’s business engagement unit, which is staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Business Engagement staff can provide employers with basic information on how to refer someone who may benefit from vocational rehabilitation services to stay on the job. Other resources include how an employer may publicize job openings and access to helpful hiring resources, such as information on tax credits like the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.

Most importantly, employers calling the hotline will be referred directly to the Business Sourcing Analyst (BSA) in their geographic area.  BSAs work throughout the state to raise awareness of OOD and our mission with employer partners and to make the business case of hiring individuals with disabilities.