Frequently Asked Questions

“A Network of Rhode Island Employers who champion best practices to promote employment and retention of persons with disabilities”

What is the Business Leadership Network? (BLN)

  • The BLN is an employer-led venture of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy that promotes best practices to enhance employment opportunities for candidates with disabilities.
  • All BLNs are committed to a diverse marketplace that includes people with disabilities as both customers and employees.
  • There are currently 38 State BLN chapters and all are business-led initiatives.
  • All BLNs serve as a clearinghouse for busy employers who are interested in hiring qualified employees with disabilities or retaining employees who recently may have acquired a disability.

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What will the Rhode Island Business Leadership Network Do?

  • Share best practices.
  • Serve as an employer-to-employer network of small, medium and large employers.
  • Keep current on useful resources, developments and information.
  • Effectively utilize community-based resources.
  • Work collaboratively on common issues.
  • Focus on Return on Investment for businesses and concern for the bottom line.
  • Provide a trusting environment for businesses to turn to.
  • Ensure all BLN products and services are business focused.
  • Provide business-to-business networking, outreach and education.
  • Encourage personnel policies that include people with disabilities and hiring practices that target candidates with disabilities.
  • Provide data and evidence to address and refute commonly expressed myths and concerns associated with employing people with disabilities.

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How will businesses benefit from hiring people with disabilities and providing greater public access?

  • Gain valuable employees, diversify workforce, and increase state revenue.
  • Gain customers through enhancing accessibility to goods and services for people with disabilities / gain access to an untapped market for goods and services.
  • Increase aggregate consumer spending.
  • Can receive tax credits for businesses providing reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities and those hiring targeted low-income groups (e.g. Supplemental Social Security recipient and individuals referred by vocational rehabilitation agencies) and eligible youths.
  • Part of solution to the problem of workforce shortfall – official national forecasts indicate that by 2006 there will be 10 million more jobs to fill than qualified workers.
  • Have access to various state and private rehabilitation and training organizations.

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All Rhode Island businesses are welcome to join the RI BLN.

“Once an overlooked talent pool, people with disabilities are contributing to the American economy in ways never imagined…” – Thomas J. Donahue, President & CEO of US Chamber of Commerce