USBLN, Biz-2-Biz Report

A Monthly Publication of the USBLN®
Volume 5, Issue 4, April 30, 2012

A Message from Jill Houghton USBLN® Executive Director

Enhance Supplier Diversity: Include USBLN® Certified Disability-Owned Businesses

Are you a private or public sector representative interested in expanding your organization’s supplier diversity program to be inclusive of Certified Disability-Owned Business Enterprises, including businesses owned by service-disabled veterans?

If the answer is, “YES” we’re pleased to provide you with information on the USBLN® Disability Supplier Diversity Program®.

What is the USBLN® Disability Supplier Diversity Program® (DSDP)?

This USBLN® flagship program includes a national certification process for disability-owned businesses, including service-disabled veteran owned businesses, and promotes utilization and growth for those firms. Today, DSDP is the leading third-party certifier of disability owned firms and provides information and education and links corporate and government agencies to certified disability owned firms.

Why did the USBLN® launch the Disability Supplier Diversity Program®?

Recognizing that a company’s supplier diversity program is not inclusive without disability-owned firms, USBLN® corporate members led the effort and provided seed money to develop a national certification process for disability-owned businesses. As a business to business network, the USBLN® accepted this mandate to expand its mission to include economic empowerment of entrepreneurs with disabilities. In January 2010, the Disability Supplier Diversity Program® and certification process was launched.

What distinguishes the USBLN® certification process?

The USBLN® Disability Supplier Diversity Program® (DSDP) is the leading third-party certifier of disability owned firms and provides information and education and links corporate and government agencies to certified disability owned firms. The certification is modeled after widely recognized and highly credible certification processes of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). It is the only certification open to all firms owned by people with disabilities regardless of gender or military service status.

What is Disability-Owned Business Enterprise Certification?

Disability-owned suppliers can apply for certification by completing an application form and providing appropriate documents. Suppliers who meet the qualifier of disability and ownership, management and control are eligible for certification. A business that is designated as a Disability-Owned Business Enterprise Certification has demonstrated at least 51% ownership, operation, management, and control by individual(s) with a disability who is a U.S citizen or lawful permanent resident.

Why are corporations and government agencies joining the USBLN® and Disability Supplier Diversity Program®?

For information please contact:

Patricia J. Richards, Director, Disability Supplier Diversity Program® (DSDP)
US Business Leadership Network® (USBLN®)
1310 Braddock Place, Suite 101
Alexandria, VA 22314

tel 713-304-8950 | fax 800-706-1335 |

Juntos Podemos (Together We Can)!
Jill Houghton

Employer Assistance & Resource Network (EARN)

The USBLN® is a partner in a cooperative agreement awarded to Cornell University's Employment and Disability Institute, School of Industrial and Labor Relations to establish a National Technical Assistance Center for employers on employment of people with disabilities. Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), the purpose of the Center is to conduct innovative research, assist ODEP in developing demand-side policy, and share best practices with employers on the recruitment, hiring, retention and advancement of people with disabilities. To link with the National Technical Assistance Center, go to

Monthly EARNWorks Employer Newsletters:

Source: Employer Assistance & Resource Network (EARN)

Affiliate of the Month: Greater Kansas City BLN

PHOTO - Left to right: Greater Kansas City BLN Executive Director, Lori Maher, receives "2011 AFFILIATE OF THE YEAR AWARD" from Deb Russell, Corporate Manager, Diversity and Inclusion, Walgreens, and USBLN® Board Chair - October 2011.

Year that you were established:
April 20, 2009

Lead employer and how they have assisted in your development:
AMC Entertainment is our lead employer. Senior Vice President & Chief People Officer, Keith Wiedenkeller, SPHR was/is instrumental in the formation and ongoing sustainability of the Business Leadership Network of Greater Kansas City. Keith is also a past President of the Society for Human Resource Management of Greater Kansas City (SHRM-KC), which has allowed us to partner closely with SHRM locally. Keith has presented his popular session, "A Business Case for Hiring Individuals with Disabilities" at both the Missouri and Kansas SHRM Conferences. In addition supporting the BLN locally, AMC has aired PSA's on behalf of the USBLN in theatre screens throughout the US during the month of October for the last two years. The board feels very strongly that Lead Employers are key to BLN affiliates both in formation and sustainability.

What outstanding services are you offering to employers to engage/serve them?
The BLN-GKC affiliate has focused largely on employer education and awareness. Two to four hour educational programs on topics such as disability etiquette, busting accommodation myths, staying out of hot water with the EEOC, "real life stories", hidden disabilities, creating a business case for hiring individuals with disabilities, and accommodations from A to Z, just to name a few. We've also hosted high profile speakers such as former USBLN® Executive Director John D. Kemp, JAN's Linda Batiste, Jeff Self from the Autism Society and Daniel Gilyeat, a disabled Iraq war veteran and recipient of an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition home in Kansas City, Kansas. We are currently working to build "training in a box" programs that can be easily delivered by board members to educate the local business community.

How are you funded?
An initial funding grant from the Kansas Department of Social & Rehabilitation Services (Kansas Working Healthy) was received to "form" BLN-GKC. We are also part of the ODEP Add Us In grant in the greater Kansas City metro area with a unique business-focused approach to employment of KC metro youth with disabilities. Otherwise, our funding comes from corporate contributors. We are not a traditional "membership" organization. We are organized under the IRS as a 501(c)3 charitable organization.

How has the USBLN® been of assistance to you as a BLN?
The USBLN has been a great resource for us. We appreciated the opportunity to participate in the Affiliate Summit in April of 2011 as this helped us continue to build a solid foundation. Learning from other BLN affiliates is invaluable, and we can always learn from each other. We are proud, also, that our current President and Lead Employer, Keith Wiedenkeller, is a member of the USBLN® Board of Directors.

To learn more about the Greater Kansas City BLN, visit:

Source: US Business Leadership Network® (USBLN®) (

The 2012 DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for People with Disabilities Announced

On April 24, 2012 DiversityInc released their list of Top 50 Companies for Diversity®. The DiversityInc Top 50 is determined via surveys sent out in October to all interested companies that have at least 1,000 employees. There is no fee to enter and companies that have business relationships with DiversityInc get no preference. Every company that fills out the survey receives a free report card assessing performance in those four areas measured: CEO Commitment, Human Capital, Corporate and Organizational Communications, and Supplier Diversity. The survey consists of more than 300 empirical questions (no subjective or qualitative information), which have predetermined weightings.

We wish to congratulate the following companies who were listed on the 2012 DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for People with Disabilities. We are very that proud that seven of the ten organizations listed are members of the USBLN® including Ernst & Young; IBM; Procter & Gamble; Merck & Co.; Sodexo; KPMG; and AT&T. Five of the ten companies also serve in a leadership capacity on the USBLN® Board of Directors; Ernst & Young; IBM; Procter & Gamble; Merck & Co.; and AT&T.

The 2012 DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for People with Disabilities

  1. Ernst & Young
  2. IBM
  3. Procter & Gamble
  4. Merck & Co.
  5. Sodexo
  6. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
  7. Prudential Financial
  8. KPMG
  9. Rockwell Collins
  10. AT&T

To see the 2012 top 50 Companies for Diversity from DiversityInc Magazine, click here The 2012 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity Announced

Source: DiversityInc ( and US Business Leadership Network® (USBLN®) (

At work, it’s what people CAN do that matters.

That's why the USBLN® is a founding partner and proud supporter of the Campaign for Disability Employment, a collaborative effort to promote positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Show your support for the initiative and learn more at

Source: Campaign for Disability Employment

For LGBT and Disability Owned Businesses, Partners Collaborate to Empower Communities on How to Create and Leverage Unique Branding Towards Success

BOSTON, MA (April 20, 2012) – Business owners can often face barriers because of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. At a groundbreaking supplier diversity certification event at the TD Garden in Boston, on Wednesday, May 2, 2012, small business owners can learn how to obtain LGBT and/or disability certification status while also getting the chance to network with companies that may contract with them for their services.

This first-of-its-kind event in the nation, running from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT, offers networking opportunities for diverse suppliers from throughout the Boston area and region along with providing information and resources on building strategic business alliances that can improve competitiveness and expand business opportunities.

The event is presented by the Greater Boston Business Council and is sponsored by TD Bank. Additional major host partners include the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Work Without Limits initiative, and the US Business Leadership Network® (USBLN®).

“This is a unique event bringing together two diverse communities who share similar challenges and goals around small business employment and success. Working together can provide the opportunity for even more success, independently as well as collectively, than might be achieved by either community attempting it alone,” said Alexis Henry, Director of Work Without Limits, a Massachusetts Disability Employment initiative.

For the first time on a major presentation stage, the event brings together the NGLCC and the USBLN®, two national authorities for LGBT and Disability business certifications. Having previously collegially worked together around certification processes, these two organizations are excited to be publicly presenting and co-supporting both certifications together.

“The NGLCC Road Show” presentations will help business owners become aware of what certification is, how to get it, and how to creatively leverage it. NGLCC and USBLN® experts will teach local business owners how to take full advantage of certification programs to access supply chains, state and federal procurement, and business-to-business opportunities. Event attendees will also get the chance to meet businesses that are already certified as LGBT and Disability owned.

“Business owners who identify as LGBT or as having a disability can face significant barriers to success. The point of this unique event is to give these employers the tools and confidence to overcome challenges, succeed in the marketplace, and open up opportunities to more businesses and more employees,” said Ed Travers, president of the Greater Boston Business Council.

RSVP today: - If you need reasonable accommodations, please contact Jason Stanislawzyk at

For registration and additional information about the event, please see the website:

Source: WorkWithoutLimits (

Social Security Shatters Communication Barriers with UbiDuo

sComm announces deployment with Social Security Administration to provide communication devices nationwide

Face-to-Face Communication solution offers fast and direct communication for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing

Raytown, Missouri (April 24, 2012) – sComm announces agreement with the Social Security administration to outfit more than 1,250 field offices with the UbiDuo communication device.

These communication devices will enable Social Security staff to interact directly and immediately with clients who are deaf or hard of hearing who walk into SSA office for assistance to discuss their SSI/SSDI benefits. Rather than using paper and pen or waiting for a sign language interpreter to arrive, the staff can turn on the UbiDuo and within seconds begin engaging a conversation with the client. This portable communication tool can be carried anywhere within an office, and its self-powered battery provides power when electrical outlets are not available.

The UbiDuo has a full-size keyboard and screen on each half. Communication is instant, with text showing on both halves as soon as it’s typed, there’s no delay like with instant messaging programs.

Its speed and ease-of-use will enable Social Security staff to better meet the needs of its clients who are deaf, hard of hearing, or other communication challenges. For example, clients who can hear but have difficulty speaking because of a tracheotomy or a stroke can use the UbiDuo.

About sComm

sComm, which stands for "simultaneous communications," is a privately-held company in Raytown, MO founded in 2005. sComm was a recipient of the Technology Company of the Year Award by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, and the Inclusion for Universal Design Award from the Governor’s Council on Disability.

More information about sComm and the UbiDuo is available at
The full release is available:

Source: sComm (

USBLN® Announces Launch of a Pilot Mentoring Initiative

In 2008, the USBLN® entered a Strategic Alliance with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP.) Today we are pleased to announce the launch of an exciting product of this alliance, a pilot mentoring initiative. Under this pilot, a selected number of college and university students and recent graduates who are in ODEP’s Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) database will be invited to participate in a mentoring program with private sector company employees.

Each student will be matched with a mentor who is either in a career to which the student aspires or is employed by a company that hires individuals from the student’s field of studies. The mentoring relationship will be nurtured through a variety of electronic tools as mutually agreed upon by the student and his or her mentor. Mentors have been recruited from the USBLN®’s Board of Directors and Corporate Advisory Board and EARN’s Circle of Champions.

For additional information, contact Maggie Roffee at

Source: US Business Leadership Network® (USBLN®) (

JAN Provides Written Senate Testimony Before the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP)

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provided written testimony to the U.S. Senate HELP Committee for its full committee hearing, Stay-at-Work and Back-to-Work Strategies: Lessons from the Private Sector. A longitudinal research study conducted by JAN (JAN Study) shows that a large part of stay-at-work and back-to-work strategies involve changes in how a job is traditionally done. Often these changes are considered workplace accommodations. These accommodations may involve making facilities accessible, restructuring a job, modifying a schedule, purchasing equipment, providing a service, and/or reassignment to another position. Lessons learned from the JAN Study include: .

The full article is available here:
Read more of JAN's HELP Committee Testimony, and learn more about the HELP Committee, headed by Chairman Harkin (D-IA).

Source: Job Accommodation Network (JAN) (

ADVERTISEMENT: Registration is NOW OPEN - join us in Orlando, Florida on October 1-4, 2012! - (

Disability Community News Corner - Upcoming Events

Source: Submissions provided to the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN®) (

ADVERTISEMENT: The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) - (
ADVERTISEMENT: Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) - (

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Releases Articles on Disability Employment Topics

These articles discuss SHRM's Senate testimony on private sector best practices on disability employment issues, and the release of the first in a series of three studies conducted by SHRM with the Cornell University ILR School Employment and Disability Institute.

Current Disability Employment Statistics:

March 2012

Labor Force Participation

Unemployment Rate

Source: Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) ( and
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) (

Call for Disability-Owned Businesses

The USBLN® is pleased to announce the launch of the Disability Supplier Diversity ProgramSM®! This program offers businesses that are owned by an individual(s) with a disability, including service disabled veterans, an exciting opportunity to increase their access to potential contracting opportunities with major corporations, government agencies, and one another. If you or someone you know is a business owner with a disability, and would like to learn more about how to get Disability- Owned Business Enterprise Certification through this program, please contact Patricia J. Richards, DSDP Director at or (713) 304-8950.

Source: US Business Leadership Network

ADVERTISEMENT: Boehringer Ingelheim - (
ADVERTISEMENT: Job Accommodation Network (JAN) - (

USBLN® Annual Conference Partners

The USBLN® is pleased to recognize its partners and their generous support.

Emerald Partners:

Sapphire Partners:

Ruby Partners:

Topaz Partners:

USBLN® Annual Conference Partnership Opportunities

Several levels of Partnership opportunities are available and include Corporate Membership. Customized partnership opportunities are also available for government agencies, non-profit organizations, and small businesses. (DOC | PDF)

To learn more about our upcoming 2012 Annual Conference Partnership Opportunities, please contact Jill Houghton, USBLN® Executive Director at or 954.461.4726.

ADVERTISEMENT: Become a BLN Affiliate - Learn more online at

Become a BLN Affiliate

The BLN is an educational organization. Members engage in networking discussions to increase their knowledge of community outreach, recruiting and interviewing, the accommodation process and barriers to employment. By participating in a business to business dialog, employers learn how to leverage their organizations for success. Being a part of the BLN sends a message to the community that the business is committed to including people with disabilities in the workforce. For more information on becoming a BLN Affiliate, please contact Lynn Kirkbride, Director of Affiliate Relations at (307) 631-0894 or

Source: US Business Leadership Network

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