If you’re reading this guide, it’s likely you’re about to begin your first disability employment and inclusion hiring initiative—joining the many companies already realizing a return on investment by tapping into this highly motivated, underrepresented workforce.

One guiding principal should lead your efforts: Equality. Developing a successful, long-term program means people with disabilities get treated no differently than other employees. That means they’re held to the same standards as the broader team: They should receive the same pay, be held to the same performance expectations and work in the same integrated facilities.

Getting your company there will be well worth the effort, but if you’ve never participated in a disability employment and inclusion hiring initiative, you may have questions, including:

  • What is the value of disability inclusion for my company?
  • Where do I find qualified talent?
  • What accommodations need to be made available in the workplace?
  • How will other employees react?

This guide, created with input from disability employment and inclusion experts, as well as employers with inclusion experience, will guide you through the answers to these questions, providing real life examples, resources, and a launching point for your own initiative. For federal contractors, this will also help you understand how to fulfill your contractual requirement as it relates to people with disabilities.

In the following sections we’ll cover:

Step 1 – Hiring People With Disabilities: Building the Business Case
How to use facts and figures to present a clear business case for hiring people with disabilities, including powerful real-life examples.

Step 2 – Define Your Disability Employment Initiative
How to clearly build and communicate your initiative so it integrates into your company’s broader culture, vision and values.

Step 3 – The Planning Process
How to set objectives, put together your team, assess facility readiness and design your program.

Step 4 – Finding and Working With Community Partners
How to find and work with these important local resources to help you find qualified people with disabilities.

Step 5 – Building Your Culture
How to effectively communicate internally and externally, ensuring that employees understand how best to work with with people with disabilities.

Step 6 – Managing the Screening and Review Process How to hire the right talent for the job, set expectations and ensure optimal employee performance.

Step 7 – Measuring Your Disability Employment Initiative’s Success
How to track progress once your program is in place and decide what comes next.

Step 8 – Additional Resources for Your Disability Employment Initiative
Many of these sources will be a great help supporting your specific efforts.

 Whenever you see the Toolkit icon, you’ll find a link to a printable document or a link back to the page where the tool is mentioned.

“My son, Austin, has Autism. Visiting him in the classroom surrounded by other children with all kinds of disabilities, I saw the harsh reality they all would face as they grew older when it came to employment. But as my son’s progress continued to surprise me, I also saw a grand possibility. And if we at Walgreens couldn’t do something about it, who could?”
Randy Lewis, Former Senior Vice President - Supply Chain & Logistics, Walgreens

Explore the success stories of other standout brands:

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Case Studies

Pepsi’s ACT Initiative

Since 2014, Pepsi's ACT (Achieving Change Together) initiative has resulted in jobs for more than 200 people with disabilities.

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McKesson

How can you hire more people with disabilities? For healthcare company McKesson, it began with a company-wide email from a senior vice president, sharing his personal story, and encouraging participation in an Employee Resource Group.

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UPS’s Transitional Learning Center

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