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Recession or boom, business leaders consider finding and keeping the right talent a constant challenge. Executives spend significant amounts of time and money recruiting, retaining, and promoting the employees they think have the talent to secure success. Leveling the Playing Field: Attracting, Engaging, and Advancing People with Disabilities, a report from The Conference Board that is based on a year’s worth of research by the Research Working Group for Improving Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities, explores how people with disabilities, including recent veterans, can be part of the talent solution—both as a source of talent and a spur to make organizations better places to work. People with disabilities may even be a bellwether of changes in the workplace for all employees. As demonstrated in a case study about Walgreens in the full research report, employers who foster the employment of people with disabilities often see benefits for all employees and the organization as a whole.

Employers may become more motivated to attract, engage, and advance people with disabilities in coming years. For one thing, the proportion of the workforce with disabilities will increase as the population ages. Improvements in technology and work design will also make access to work and the work itself easier for all employees, making it simpler to accommodate existing workers and hire people with disabilities. These employment strategies may even result in new opportunities for developing competitive advantage.