What is a Business Leadership Network?
The Business Leadership Network is a national, employer-led endeavor of the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), formally the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, and supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (the world's largest business federation). This program was first initiated in 1994 and offers a combination of service, advocacy, and empowerment to a population which experiences chronic unemployment.Benefits to participating employers include:
- Resources for recruiting candidates with disabilities.
- Information on disability issues and disability hiring information.
- Exposure to qualified job applicants with disabilities.
- Recognition for best disability employment practices.
- A network of employers who share information on common disability employment issues.
- Opportunities to provide information and training to employees with disabilities and staff who supervise employees with disabilities.
Why is the BLN important for Indiana?
Hoosiers with disabilities have the highest unemployment rate of any minority. There are over 270,000 working age people with disabilities in Indiana, and only 1/3 are employed. They want to work and reduce their reliance on state and federal subsidies. Studies have shown what many employers in Indiana already know--that people with disabilities make excellent employees.
The formation of the statewide Business Leadership Network is an important economic and workforce development tool for the state of Indiana and Hoosier employers. The Indiana BLN leverages success from other BLN models in Florida, Kentucky and Massachusetts to:
- Increase employment opportunities for qualified individuals with disabilities.
- Provide employers with a pool of potential employees and disability employment information.
- Develop and promote a network of best practice employers.
- Recognize Indiana's diverse workforce and marketplace accomplishments.
Why would a business hire a person with a disability?
The best reason to hire a person with disabilities is because he or she is qualified.
What are the benefits to the employers?
- An untapped labor pool - People with disabilities represent a large, underemployed labor pool. In the general U.S. population, 54 million people, or approximately one in every six individuals have a disability.
- Reducing training and recruitment costs. People with disabilities have equal to, or higher performances rates and are less likely to resign and move onto another job. Additionally, workers with disabilities have the lowest attrition rates of any employee group in this country. In other words, they get the job done, and they stay on the job
- Increasing productivity in work groups. People with disabilities motivate other employees.
- Diversifying your workforce to appeal to a diverse customer base. One in six Americans has a disability, representing $1 trillion in purchase power. Marketing research shows that families with one or more persons with disabilities are significantly more likely to do business with a disability-friendly company, and consumers, with and without disabilities, are more likely to buy from those companies.
Are there any tax incentives for my business?
There are incentives for employer to hire people with disabilities.
- Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) - WOTC is a tax credit the employer receives for hiring the person with a disability; the more hours the employee works the more of a tax break they receive. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit can provide a tax credit of up to $2,400 per individual hired. The client must work at least 10 hours a week to receive the credit. The paperwork is easy to fill out; the employment specialist will assist the employer with this paperwork.
- Small Business Tax Credit (IR CODE SECTION 44, DISABLED ACCESS CREDIT) - Small businesses also can receive a tax credit for the cost of accommodations, covering 50% of eligible expenditures up to $10,000.
- Architectural/Transportation Tax Deduction - expenses incurred to remove physical, structural, and transportation barriers for persons with disabilities.
Where can I find employees?
Right now we have over 100 clients who are ready to work in all different vocational fields. Please contact us for more information.
Are the employees prescreened?
All of our clients are qualified applicants. We strive to match our clients with an appropriate job, and follow up to ensure mutual success—at no cost to you. Our pool of qualified applicants provides a variety of skills and educational backgrounds. Some are eligible to receive free on-site assistance with training and support. Other candidates, if hired, may qualify your business for a Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).
Our clients receive the following services:
- Job Search Skills Classes: We teach job search skills including networking, job prospecting, completing applications, reference development, resume development, and self-presentation. Interview experiences with feedback are also provided.
- Job Placement Services: Our staff will help develop a work search plan and provide the job seeker with leads and assist with interviews.
- Job Coaching: Individual on-site training and mentoring is available.
- Follow-up Services: To ensure job retention, WorkForce Diversity will provide follow-up through site visits, counseling, and employee advocacy.
How can my business help and/or get involved?
The Indiana BLN was developed to help educate employers about hiring people with disabilities. We are looking for businesses who would like to join our group and become a partner in our efforts. In addition, WorkForce Diversity is looking for employers who are willing to have our clients come into their business and practice their vocational skills. This would be a job shadow and it is absolutely free to the employer. Finally, Bona Vista is always looking for passionate and caring volunteers who would like to help with special projects.
Visit the following link and click on the employer page to learn how your organization can capitalize on the talents of people with disabilities and access resources to assist in recruiting, retaining and advancing skilled, qualified employees. www.Whatcanyoudocampaign.org
What do we pay the employees?
When a business hires one of our clients we want the client to be treated just like a typically able person. The client should be hired at the same rate you would pay an employee not acquired through the INBLN. All of our clients will be qualified to do the same functions of the job just like another employee in the same role, and we want them to be treated the exact same way.