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About EARN

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) offers information and resources to help employers recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities; build inclusive workplace cultures; and meet diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) goals. 

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Start here to learn how to recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities; why workplace inclusion of people with disabilities matters; and how EARN’s resources can help.

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    Phases of Employment

  • A woman in a wheelchair shakes hands with a colleague


    Build a pipeline of talent that includes people with disabilities.

  • Two men work at repairing an engine.


    Identify people who have the skills and attributes for the job.

  • A woman with a disability wearing a helmet works in a factory


    Keep talented employees with disabilities, including those who acquire them on the job.

  • A man uses sign language to communicate.


    Ensure that employees with disabilities have equal opportunities for advancement.

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EARN’s Learning Center offers a wide range of training resources, including self-paced online courses.

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EARN makes it easy to stay up-to-date on disability employment news and information. Start by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and eblasts, which will connect you to upcoming events, developing news and promising practices in the world of disability diversity and inclusion. And don’t forget to follow EARN on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

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Communicate: External & Internal Communication of Company Policies & Practices

Learn about internal and external strategies to effectively communicate your organization's commitment to disability inclusion as a part of an overall strategy to meet your organization's diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) goals.

The way an organization communicates about inclusion of people with disabilities can impact its ability to attract and retain employees with disabilities. Find out about proven internal and external communication strategies.

Take the Communicate Self-Paced Training

Learn More about External and Internal Communications

External Communication

To maximize a company’s ability to attract talent with disabilities, it is important to communicate to the public its commitment to employing people with disabilities and having an inclusive and diverse work environment, including subcontractors and vendors. Examples of successful external communication strategies and practices include:

  1. Including people with visible disabilities when employees are pictured in customer, promotional or recruitment advertising.
  2. Sponsoring and participating in job fairs that target job seekers with disabilities.
  3. Informing disability organizations about company-sponsored career days, youth motivation/mentoring programs and related community activities.
  4. Distributing information about relevant disability company policies and priorities to subcontractors, vendors and suppliers and requesting their support, and when feasible, requiring it via contract.
  5. Communicating with union officials and/or employee representatives about the company’s policies and seeking their cooperation, if the company is a party to a collective bargaining agreement.
  6. Posting the company’s policy statements regarding disability inclusion and reasonable accommodations; special recruitment and hiring initiatives; and targeted internship, mentoring and job shadowing programs on its public website.

Internal Communications

Strong external communication strategies and outreach and recruitment initiatives will be more effective if they are accompanied by internal support from supervisory and management personnel and are understood by coworkers, some of whom may have had only limited contact with people with disabilities. Internal communication and other strategies targeting managers, supervisors and coworkers can foster awareness, acceptance and support among all levels of staff within the company. Examples of successful internal communication strategies and practices include:

  1. Establishing an office that delivers a holistic approach to disability program management by bringing together the operational components of reasonable accommodations, case work, policy, oversight and education.
  2. Establishing a disability employee resource group (ERG) aligned with the company’s diversity and inclusion program and inviting existing employees with disabilities as well as employees with family members or friends with disabilities. The purpose of this group should include helping to identify policies and procedures that support a positive work environment for people with disabilities and informing the company about outreach avenues and marketing to the disability market. As with all ERGs, it should have direct access to company leadership.
  3. Publicizing the company’s commitment in its internal publications (e.g., intranet, employee newsletters/magazines).
    • Publishing a newsletter or newsletter articles with metrics about progress on achieving goals and related resources.
    • Including images of employees with disabilities in employee handbooks and other internal publications that feature photographs of employees.
    • Including disability-specific policies regarding internal communications and information dissemination in the employer’s policy manual and employee handbook.
  4. Conducting special meetings, orientations and training programs with executives, management, supervisory personnel, union officials and employee representatives to communicate the commitment of the company and its leadership to fostering a disability inclusive corporate culture and work environment.
  5. Enabling people with disabilities to be represented within the company’s decision-making bodies, including its Board of Directors.
  6. Establishing a policy that all managers and supervisors share responsibility for the successful implementation of the company’s inclusion policy and ensuring that they are held accountable through their performance evaluation plans.
  7. As part of the company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), adopting disability management and prevention programs, with the goal that workers who become injured or ill remain part of the workforce.
  8. Adopting a recognition and awards program acknowledging managers, supervisors, coworkers and others responsible for achieving progress and positive outcomes related to disability employment.