Shaping a More Inclusive Workplace

by Kathy Martinez on August 4, 2011 · 357 comments

Today, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) will host its first National Diversity Forum at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center,.  This event is part of Add Us In – an initiative with the main goal of identifying and developing strategies to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities in small business communities.  This specifically entails those located in or serving underrepresented and historically excluded communities, including those owned and operated by ethnic and racial minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals; veterans; women; and people with disabilities. 

Add Us In is not only a project that is a priority for the department, it is also a project that is very close to my heart.  Like so many of you, my life has been profoundly impacted by my various identities and experiences.  Disability, race, gender and sexual orientation have all shaped the person I am today. 

I faced multiple challenges in becoming successfully employed, as many people with disabilities do.  We are often unable to find sustainable employment opportunities, and struggle to manage prejudice, our own disability related needs and other challenges.  Just like many other underrepresented and historically excluded groups, we bring incredible skills to the workplace; we just need the opportunity to prove ourselves to be motivated and productive employees who contribute to the bottom line.

I think that we can all agree, no matter who you are or where you are from, that work is about dignity and respect.  A critical part of our National Diversity Forum is a Plenary Dialogue including questions around employment strategies for people with disabilities, business hiring practices, resource coordination and sharing, and understanding the role of community supports. Our goal for this Plenary Dialogue is to learn from you and to hear your shared ideas and personal examples that move us forward towards a more inclusive and diverse workforce.

However, I know that not everyone can come to Washington DC or be present at this Forum.  To ensure that participation is possible for everyone, I would like to share with you the six questions that will shape the Plenary Dialogue:

  1. What are key elements of disability hiring that differ between large and small businesses?
  2. What do small businesses need to increase the number of people with disabilities within their ranks of employees?
  3. How can the benefits of diversity (including disability) hiring be better promoted?
  4. How do you suggest coordination between education and employment systems be increased to ensure greater employment for youth with disabilities?
  5. How do you think workforce systems and employment policies can be made more responsive to communities that are culturally and linguistically diverse? 
  6. How can ODEP and employment systems better engage with “influencers” such as family, faith and other community supports in underserved communities?

Please feel free to email me with your feedback at: or post a comment to this blog. I look forward to hearing from you, and together we can lead the way toward creating a more inclusive workplace.

Kathy Martinez is the assistant secretary for the Office of Disability Employment Policy.

{ 357 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Export From UK December 17, 2011 at 8:11 am

It is a very Informative article. Creating a comprehensive work environment is the greatest method to ensure both accessibility and productivity are fully realized in our dynamic world of business. A complete environment accommodates workers of numerous ability levels, consequently providing an easy assortment of individual talents and strengths that may be utilized to develop new ideas.

2 reklam December 20, 2011 at 11:52 pm


3 Dentist in Lebanon December 26, 2011 at 2:10 am

It is a very informative and useful blog. I have to admit, that I always follow your site because it is full of various information, especially useful ones.

4 istanbul December 26, 2011 at 4:42 am

Wow i didn’t know there is a Ronald Reagan Building in International Trade Center…
I was looking for it thanks it is really useful for me …

5 Aron December 27, 2011 at 8:43 am

It’s a noble step by ‘Add US In’ to help the special community from the society. Actually, these people are ignored and also hated sometimes by others. So, figuring out their problems and establishing them in the society via small business is just a praise worthy project. Wishing all the Best.

King Regards,

6 Steve December 28, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Very well written article. I enjoyed reading that as well as other articles on this site. Very informative. Maybe some day, people with disabilities will be looked upon for what they can do, not what they can’t do.

7 Aplicaciones iPhone December 30, 2011 at 9:10 am

Muy interesante y a la vez informativo. Espero que publiques más como este.

8 Water Damage Restoration Software January 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Everyone has something to contribute to society. I think that the above mentioned actions speaks volumes about how great and inclusive our country is. I am a minority, so i understand the frustrations of sometimes feeling unequal. Good Stuff!

9 joesphthrower January 1, 2012 at 10:00 pm

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10 Jose Green January 2, 2012 at 12:23 am

This is a laudable project. I support it all through!

11 istanbul January 2, 2012 at 7:53 am

Add Us In is not only a project that is a priority for the department, it is also a project that is very close to your heart and we know also appreciate it .
Best from Turkiye

12 HMA VPN January 4, 2012 at 12:26 am

I do think workforce systems and employment policies can be made more responsive to communities that are culturally and linguistically diverse!

13 franklin January 5, 2012 at 12:14 pm

i think its very important information and very helpful article thanks . i enjoyed and got information from this site keep it up..

14 Forex Contest January 6, 2012 at 12:24 am

Hello, I read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any help is very much appreciated.Thanks!

15 Online Colleges in Missouri Online Colleges in Missouri January 6, 2012 at 7:10 am

This is very knowledgeable and informative post helpful for the people to think about his performances and check the future policy of the people.This one is helpful to understand the cultural and value of the system of education.

16 cnc machining January 6, 2012 at 10:15 am

very good, great articles i like

17 Online Colleges in Missouri January 6, 2012 at 10:22 am

This is a great effort to promote the abilities of the disabled person.This one is the best way of helping them by providing them the opportunity of jobs.One thing which i felt that in all over the world the disabled person are seeing in misery this source will provide confidence in them.

18 admin January 6, 2012 at 11:24 am

Yes, spam comments have been an issue for us, too. To combat the spam we added a question to our comment submission form that would require human input. See There are other similar types of anti-spam capabilities you can add to a blog, such as captcha, that weren’t an option for us due to federal accessibility guidelines.

19 Wasserfilter January 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm

my personal experience while working with those ppl is they are more focused and willing to learn, so I think the problem is not the disability, it’s the employers mindset

20 Diseño paginas Web | Fernando January 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm

I find it very positive in my opinion these initiatives with the disabled population is the best way to ayudareles, excellent contribution to those who helped with this cause.

21 social media houston January 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm

All human relationships must be shaped after dignity and respect, I agree with you 100%

22 Brisbane Electrician January 8, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Great article and i think its important to get people with disabilities back in the workforce, in my experieince they are generally more focused, love learning and being part of something and employers and employees mindset towards hiring someone with a disability is what really needs to change. Thanks

23 nirmal January 9, 2012 at 2:28 am

Very good post, I was really searching for this topic, as I wanted this topic to understand completely and it is also very rare in internet, that is why it was very difficult to understand.

24 nirmal January 9, 2012 at 2:28 am

Very good post, I was really searching for this topic, as I wanted this topic to understand completely and it is also very rare in internet, that is why it was very difficult to understand

25 online marketing January 9, 2012 at 8:09 pm

employment discrimination is rampant here in my Country since a huge number of college students graduated every year. Companies have a number to choose, in addition to age discrimination. I myself is not exempted on this. I always end up in the statement, “we will just call you” after all I pass all the exams. anyways this did not hinder me, I look for other option, luckily thanks to technology that there are now freelance jobs, so though I don’t know the task that was posted in the freelance agency such as odesk, I bid for the project and study the task that the employer need. thank God I was given good employers that till now, I was still working on them.

26 Digital Media January 10, 2012 at 5:33 am

of course human has faced multiple challenges in becoming successfully employed, as many people with disabilities . so i should be that learn new things and has face any challenges

27 Wing Tsun January 10, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Good information, thanks for sharing

28 Forex Practice January 11, 2012 at 8:43 am

I find excellent the idea that the excluded population has an equal opportunity for anyone to have an active working life

29 auto diagnostic scanner January 11, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I could see this being a huge benefit to the workforce. Disabled people have plenty to offer the work force and just need a way to get introduced.

30 Seagull S6 Original January 11, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Fantastic little article here. You’ve really put some good and useful information down.

31 Reputation Management January 13, 2012 at 3:31 am

This year ODEP is proud to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

32 byron bay beach weddings January 13, 2012 at 6:34 am

Excellent blog post, I look forward to reading more.

33 Tulungagung January 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm

The Abilities Fund has a number of programs and services available to entrepreneurs, many that are open to any individual in the US with a disability. sewing is one job that can be done by disabled workers

34 Heartburn No More January 14, 2012 at 7:57 pm

A good workplace should be the place where people can work in harmony.

It will be like a cage if we are forced to work in a place that just reeks with hostility.

35 alex January 15, 2012 at 3:51 am

This is very knowledge base and informative Article helpful for the people to think about his performances and check the future policies of the people.I agree this concept and will let others know so that they can post as well.

36 Mariana - quiero adelgazar January 15, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Let’s see if together we can help disabled people to lead a better quality of life.

37 Jeff January 16, 2012 at 2:33 am

Great information found on this blog..Iam looking further for the posts and updates on this blog.. this is really a useful information.. thanks for sharing with us.. i have just bookmarked this site and also share it with my facebook friends..

38 Clemente Decourley January 17, 2012 at 2:16 am

Bookmarked this! Couldn’t have said it better myself. Diversity is important. Will check back to see what other collegues think.

39 vender online January 17, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Well, if material, be able to help people. I have a family and their feelings and tells me many times and feel very very helpless in everyday life. And I say that with only 4 or 5 changes would increase very much your quality of life.

40 gout home remedies January 18, 2012 at 1:42 am

My wife works with disabled children in a school. I listen to the things she tells me when she comes home from work about how good it makes her feel to know that she is helping a disabled child learn and to hopefully someday help them towards a career. These people have a life to live as well lets all help them to live it as free and enjoyable as we are today.

41 Microsoft Excel Templates January 18, 2012 at 2:53 am

Like what they said, this post really amazing. Therefore, I will keep visiting this blog for further updates.

42 web development January 18, 2012 at 11:23 am

Very nice site and article. Amazing one, i appreciate this work…. This is a wonderful post

43 Leo Isaac January 19, 2012 at 8:06 am

I have always thought of myself as a tolerant, understanding and non-discriminating person who tries to understand the difficulties and prejudices faced by people with a disability. However, I notice my own unease in forming friendships with people with a disability. I know how I should behave and I want to behave in this way, but my insular character makes it very difficult.

44 Pankaj January 23, 2012 at 10:32 am

We also Operate a school for Disabled Children’s we usually refer them god’s Special One’s

45 dskandalo | tienda erótica January 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Me parece una buena idea que todas las personas puedan optar a un puesto de trabajo, un saludo. Rocio.

46 Explow January 24, 2012 at 7:52 am

Non discrimination and similar treatment of people with a disability is going to take this country to new levels. If ever we try to empathize with them and see the world as they do with discrimination and prejudice, we will stop treating them differently.

47 Image Masking January 24, 2012 at 9:10 am

If a person has a disability it has got nothing to do with his working abilities, I dont agree when people say that they can’t work like normal people.They can.they can do it better, sometimes!

48 Cancer Care February 5, 2012 at 2:42 am

Saved. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Diversity is important. Will check back to see what other collegues think.

49 Forex February 7, 2012 at 4:30 am

This is such an excellent article. I will reference this page on my blog. Regards.

50 Email reading guy February 7, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I like the sound of more inclusion in the workplace. It makes total sense. You have more diversity and so greater talent. Good creative contribution on the topic.

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