The Arc Begins Affiliation with the US Business Leadership Network to Improve Employment for People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON – Today, The Arc, the largest organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), is announcing it has become  an affiliate of The US Business Leadership Network® (USBLN®).  The USBLN® seeks to help build workplaces where people with I/DD are valued for their talents and contributions.

“It’s partnerships like this one that will help advance employment for people with I/DD.  The Arc aims to be a resource to businesses large and small that see the value in employing people with all kinds of skill sets so that they can contribute to society in a meaningful way and live a fulfilling life,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.

The Arc advocates for and serves people with I/DD, including Down syndrome, autism, FASD, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses.  The Arc has a network of over 700 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

The Arc’s network will help the USBLN®, which is the national disability organization that serves as the collective voice of over 60 Business Leadership Network affiliates across North America and represents over 5,000 employers, advance employment opportunities for people with I/DD.  In this tough economy, with the national unemployment rate at 9%, people with I/DD face huge obstacles to gaining employment in the private sector.  While there are federal programs to help those with I/DD find employment within the federal government, in recent years the percentage of federal employees with disabilities has decreased.

The USBLN®  promotes the business imperative of the preparation and inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace, marketplace, and supply chain while supporting the development and expansion of its BLN affiliates. The USBLN® recognizes and supports best practices in hiring and advancing employees with disabilities, marketing to consumers with disabilities, and encourages contracting with vendors with disabilities through the development and certification of disability-owned business enterprises. To learn more, visit www.usbln.org.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for The Arc to take a step forward in our goal of increasing employment for people with I/DD.  We look forward to what this affiliation will bring across the country to the people we serve,” said Berns.