October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
I was invited by Creve Coeur Workspace to write about this topic since I’m on the board of The Arya Foundation. The Arya Foundation helps families of children with disabilities purchase adaptive equipment in the greater St Louis area.
The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “The Right Talent, Right Now.” So, how does that relate to us small business owners at Creve Coeur Workspace, where for many of us, the only employee is ourselves?
Even if you don’t have employees, being aware of inclusiveness issues will help with our customer relations. October is a good time to review your company policies to ensure they convey a commitment to inclusiveness.
One of the reasons I located my business here was the accessibility. I do have disabled clients and my old office space was a problem when it came to accessibility. Here we have plenty of accessible parking and the front door actually has the push button set back from the entrance. If you haven’t had to deal with a wheelchair before, you might not have noticed how great that is. Many office building doors have the open button right at the door. If you’re in a wheelchair, you push the button, then have to move back for the door to open, and then move forward again to go in the building. The timing can be off, and you can actually get hit by the door trying to enter the building. I hadn’t noticed how cool our entrance was until one of my clients took me outside to show me. Happy client = returning customer.
Besides wheelchair accessibility, what else can we do to make our businesses more inclusive? Many of us are using Social Media marketing tools. It’s estimated that 20% of the population has some type of disability which limits them from seeing our messages.
The federal government has a toolkit of tips for making your social media more accessible. Here’s a link for more information: https://digital.gov/resources/improving-the-accessibility-of-social-media-in-government/#general
Just by making our websites and social media more accessible we can increase our market reach by 20%. That’s pretty cool!
The Arya Foundation also hosts the Disability Awareness Convention. The next one will be held Sunday, February 23, 2020 from noon until 5 PM at the Purser Center at Logan University. We are already signing up vendors, sponsors, and speakers. If you would like to learn more about how your business can participate, please check out our website at: https://thearyafoundation.org/dac2020
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