Disability and Business: Best Practices and Strategies for Inclusion

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UPNE, 2006 - Business & Economics - 231 pages
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Although more and more corporations are including diversity in their business plans, one major group has been left out: people with disabilities. The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act promised an end to discrimination more than a decade ago, but the unemployment rate for people with disabilities--physical and mental, visible and invisible--remains high, and businesses remain uncertain about how to hire, manage, and market to what is by far America's largest minority.

In this comprehensive guide to incorporating disability into corporate strategies--from hiring to selling to office architecture--Riley argues that disability and business need one another. In exchange for inclusion and empowerment in the workplace, people with disabilities bring a trillion-dollar consumer market to the bargaining table, revenues untapped by most major companies. Instead of relying on the paternal "it's the right thing to do" attitude, Riley emphasizes the business case for inclusion, pointing the way to higher sales volume and a talent pool of creative thinkers, the "user-experts" who know best how to reach the community.

Based on more than 100 interviews with inside sources at Microsoft, IBM, Cingular, Boeing, SunTrust, and other major companies that have already enjoyed success and recognition in the disability field, Riley identifies the best ways to integrate disability into a company's diversity strategy and shows how successful integration has the potential to transform the way a company does business, enhancing profits as well as reputation.

This is the first book to explain disability culture to the full spectrum of industry and across all departments; and it is the first to provide corporate leaders with a master strategy for making disability a productive and profitable aspect of their business plans. Riley's central premise--that the two sides are already capable of helping one another, but have not recognized how to make this happen--speaks directly to the needs of each community and proposes a practical agenda that will directly benefit both.


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About the author (2006)

CHARLES A. RILEY, II was the co-founder of WeMedia, the first multimedia company devoted to people with disabilities, and the former editor-in-chief of WE magazine, its national bimonthly publication. Professor of Business Journalism at Baruch College, Riley has authored fourteen books on music, literature, and the arts, as well as disability-related topics. His most recent book is Disability and the Media: Prescriptions for Change (UPNE, 2005).

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