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Celebrating National Disability Awareness Month

October is National Disability Awareness Month and it offers the perfect excuse to once again highlight the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). For many businesses, the WOTC is the easiest tax credit for them to achieve.

Basically, the federal government is offering you an incentive for hiring from specific groups like veterans, persons with disabilities or people coming off long-term unemployment. In other words, you’re being rewarded for hiring a qualified employee. It seems like a no brainer.

If you’re one of the companies that’s already in on the WOTC, great! But there’s always more that you can do.

Create an Employee Resource Group

The federal government suggests that National Disability Employment Awareness Month is the perfect time to launch an Employee Resource Group, sometimes called an Employee Network or Affinity Group. The group is designed to help people with similar backgrounds or interests connect and receive support.

Home Depot does a great job of this. The company has a number of Employee Resource Groups including one for Asians called Pan Asian Waves and one for veterans called Military Appreciation Group.

Keep Your Employees Informed

To emphasize your commitment to disability inclusion, you should regularly reinforce that commitment through monthly meetings or training sessions with your employees. The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has a whole list of disability etiquette materials so you can approach each individual with the proper sensitivity.

You can also create a bulletin board or put up posters in your break area or another common area where employees will see and read them. Change the items frequently so that employees are constantly learning. There are some great posters at What Can You Do? Campaign.

Train Your Managers

You also want to take special care to train your supervisors about their role in creating an inclusive workplace culture. Make sure your supervisors understand the process for providing reasonable accommodations for employees who may need it.

The Department of Labor suggests training modules at JAN.org. You can also use the Department of Labor’s Building an Inclusive Workforce guide.

Take Part in Disability Mentoring Day

According to the Department of Labor, “Disability Mentoring Day promotes career development for youth with disabilities through hands-on programs, job shadowing and ongoing mentoring.”

Disability Mentoring Day is the third Wednesday of October, so it is on October 16, 2019.

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) has a number of resources you can use to take part in Disability Mentoring Day.

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