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Business Leadership Network


US Business Leadership Network logo and slogan, 'Every employer recognizes and benefits from the best practice of including people with disabilities in their workforce and marketplace'.

The Business Leadership Network (BLN) is an employer-led venture initiated by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), which promotes best practices to enhance employment opportunities for candidates who happen to have disabilities. ODEP was formerly the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (PCEPD).

The US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) is the national non-profit organization, incorporated in 2003, that supports development and expansion of BLNs across the country, serving as their collective voice. USBLN is a national program led by employers that engages the leadership and participation of companies throughout the United States to hire qualified job candidates with disabilities. The USBLN recognizes and promotes best practices in hiring, retaining, and marketing to people with disabilities. ODEP supports the USBLN concept of business-to-business mentoring and has provided financial support for its Annual Summits.


At a time when unemployment of the general population is very low (about 6 percent), unemployment of people who want to work and who happen to have disabilities is disproportionately high at over 50 percent (by some estimates, over three-quarters). In order to lower this unacceptable level of unemployment, the BLN seeks to promote two primary personnel policies: diversity policies that include people with disabilities and hiring practices that target candidates with disabilities.


Started in 1994, this program hinges on a fundamental business principle - success breeds success. When employers discuss the success and benefits to their organizations of hiring job candidates with disabilities, then other employers are inspired to do the same. There are 43 State BLNs in 36 states including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico currently engaged in BLN activities (as of April 2006).

How it Works

Participating employers, in partnership with state Governor's Committee representatives and or other community services professionals, identify specific hiring requirements so that referral and placement services can be customized to meet those needs. Employers complete a brief survey indicating position vacancies, identifying disability employment concerns, and requesting information on specific disability topics. Participating employers: hire and promote workers with disabilities; attend business forums that provide information on critical disability employment issues; conduct job seeking skills sessions for candidates with disabilities; serve as mentors to postsecondary students with disabilities; recruit at disability employment fairs; provide summer, internship and co-op work experiences to enable students with disabilities to gain related work experience; and market the BLN to other employers.

Benefits to Participating Employers

Employers who participate in BLN activities:

 Gain access to a pool of qualified candidates with disabilities

 Obtain pertinent disability information

 Share information with other employers

 Contribute to human resource training and employment issues

 Gain access to an untapped market for goods and services

BLN Membership Information

BLN members believe that disability friendly strategies in the workplace are essential for success in a global economy, and that success in the global economy hinges on a workforce that represents all sectors of the population, including workers who happen to have disabilities. If you are an employer and feel uncertain about the disability arena but want to hear what other employers are doing, contact the USBLN to find out how you can get involved.


Employers whose corporate policies include workers and customers with disabilities participate in the BLN. If you are just getting acquainted with this arena and want to develop best disability practices, the BLN is a great starting point. Members want to give back to the communities where they do business by allowing their staff, during regular work hours, to participate in local activities that will enhance education, training, and placement of candidates with disabilities.

Participation in BLN activities yields many benefits:

 Recognition for disability friendly practices

 Access to an underutilized labor pool

 Pertinent disability information

 A network of employers who share information

 Improved access to customers with disabilities

How To Get Involved

Contact the BLN in your state. Refer to the national directory (see below) for contact person(s), email addresses and phone numbers.

Network and Membership


Information about individual State BLN programs and additional Internet links to them is available online at:

You can also download the complete national BLN directory. Organized by State, it lists Lead Companies and State Liaisons and provides complete contact information.

Additional Information

The USBLN maintains lists of links to documents, topics, and other information that are of particular interest to employers, job applicants with disabilities, and service providers. Each reflects the perspective of the various groups.

Resources for Employers

Resources for Job Applicants with Disabilities

Resources for Service Providers

See Also:

Business Leadership Network - Acronym Listing

Iowa Business Leadership Network

Massachusetts Business Leadership Network

Oklahoma Business Leadership Network

South Dakota [Sioux Falls] Business Leadership Network

Virginia Business Leadership Network


Information for this topic was drawn from the USBLN website at:

Additional information was drawn from the DOL website at:

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