The Disability: IN organization, formerly known as the U.S. Business Leadership Network, pursues a mission “to promote the full inclusion of people with disabilities, to inspire accessible innovation for all, and to foster cultures of inclusion.” (https://disabilityin.org) The Ohio chapter, Disability: IN Ohio, conducted a member survey in 2018 that included questions relating to the services of greatest interest and the most pressing challenges in relation to individuals with disabilities. The survey asked respondents to identify the aspects of membership to the organization that are or would be the most valuable to them. Member companies responded as shown in Chart 16 below.
Chart 16 - Disability:IN Ohio Membership Survey - Areas of Interest
The most common response, indicated by 38 out of 57 respondents, identified Disability Related Webinars as an area of interest. This includes educational opportunities related to disability etiquette, worksite accessibility, workplace accommodations and the Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations. Respondents also showed interest in benchmarking for best practices as it relates to inclusion of individuals with disabilities (34 out of 57 responses), and education for employment recruiters related to hiring individuals with disabilities (33 out of 57 responses).
Disability: IN Ohio members were then asked to identify the most pressing challenges for their companies in relation to inclusion of individuals with disabilities. As summarized in Chart 17 below, respondents indicated that the most pressing challenge (30 out of 57 responses) was in promoting a companywide culture of Disability Inclusion and in training employees accordingly. This was closely followed by the challenge of recruiting people with disabilities (25 out of 57 responses) and hiring people with disabilities (21 out of 57 responses).
Chart 17 - Disability:IN Ohio Membership Survey - Challenges
The responses to these two survey questions highlight the real-world complications faced by employers who are actively engaged in building cultures of inclusion among their workforce. Their most pressing challenge relates to educating existing employees and creating an atmosphere where people with disabilities are valued and respected, and they have indicated interest in receiving training related to those topics. Assistance is also needed in techniques or resources related to recruiting and hiring individuals with disabilities to meet both the workforce needs of the business and provide opportunities to qualified individuals who may otherwise be overlooked. There is opportunity for OOD to deliver services tailored to these employer needs while also facilitating the placement of individuals with disabilities into competitive integrated employment.