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October 3, 2013

Celebrate Disability and Employment Awareness Month with the Indianapolis Business Leadership Network on October 8

Two office workers one in wheelchair.jpg[Today's article is written by guest author Attorney Juli Paini, Director of the Office of Disability Affairs of the City of Indianapolis, publicizing an event hosted by the Indianapolis Business Leadership Network. Our thanks to Scott Beauchamp of Indianapolis Yellow Cab, a member of IBLN, for letting us know about it. The presence of the article on our blog does not in any way imply an endorsement of Smith Rayl by Juli, the City, IBLN, Scott, or Indianapolis Yellow Cab, and none of them is our client. -- MS/SRLO]

Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, individuals with disabilities have enjoyed the right to equal access in employment as well as barrier-free participation in our communities, from dining in a restaurant to exercising the right to vote. Unfortunately, twenty three years after passage of the ADA, individuals with disabilities continue to experience low rates of employment and high rates of underemployment. According to the United States Department of Labor, this past June only 17.8% of people with disabilities were employed, compared to 63.6% of people without disabilities. This gap remains constant even for college graduates, who experience a 50.6% employment rate compared to that of 89.9% for college graduates without disabilities. (John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development and the Kessler Foundation, 2012).

Enter the Indianapolis Business Leadership Network (IBLN), a like-minded group local employers convened by the City of Indianapolis Office of Disability Affairs. The IBLN, based upon a national model, uses a business-to-business approach to further the employment of persons with disabilities and to promote the benefits and contributions of a diverse workforce. Its goal is to create employer awareness through strong partnerships and collaboration, connecting Indianapolis employers with the resources they need to successfully employ individuals with disabilities. The IBLN Steering Committee, with representation from the City of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Yellow Cab, Eli Lilly, WellPoint, Teachers Credit Union and the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, hosts networking and educational opportunities for central Indiana employers to share best practices and information regarding the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the diversity planning process.

On October 8, from 8:30-10:30a, the IBLN is hosting "Strategies for Recruiting College Students with Disabilities" for human resource and diversity professionals. The event, held at the Central Library, is free with 1.25 HRCI credits pending. The event will feature national expert Alan Muir, University of Tennessee, Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities, as well as local experts Greg Fehribach, attorney and Fellow at the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University, Larry Markle and Donnelle Henderlong of Disability Services at Ball State University, and Michele Atterson of Student Disability Services at Butler University.

To learn more about this event and register, contact Juli Paini, Director, City of Indianapolis Office of Disability Affairs, at 327-3798 or jpaini@indy.gov.

May 23, 2012

Happy "National Small Business Week!"

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As a mild spring finally melts into the heat of summer, perhaps you'll soon take a moment to enjoy a small cup of lemonade from a small business on a sidewalk near you. After all it is National Small Business Week.

But while you enjoy your refreshment, consider taking the moment to pay homage to small business and ponder the following questions: What is so unique about a small business? What is it about some small businesses that set them above the rest? When it comes to the legal aspects of business, how can business owners be active rather than passive and what are the payoffs? What are the legal considerations inherent to owning and operating a small business? What about a grown-up's small business can ensure it is any less transient than the venture which sold you your beverage?

If you are a prospective or current small business owner, you likely know first-hand the value of answering such questions earlier rather than later. During the creation of a company and after it is formed, the legal concerns which come into play should be dealt with head-on. Like the rest of a savvy entrepreneur's endeavors, the legal tasks of business organization and transactions, when accomplished both properly and skillfully, are their own reward.

Without a doubt, small businesses are the workhorse of the U.S. economy, representing 99.7 percent of all employer firms and generating 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years (Source of data: U.S. Small Business Administration). The benefits small businesses render to local economies are no joke. An organization we support, The 3/50 Project, recognizes this reality and is setting out to "save the brick and mortars our nation is built on" in a way that is turning heads. No matter what your relation may be to the wonders of small business ownership, consider celebrating the week by exposing yourself to the simple mission of The 3/50 Project and learning in under a minute how you can very practically help to "save your local economy."

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January 26, 2011

Indiana Businesses Submit Proposals for Goshen's Brownfield Project

iStock_000012580925XSmall.jpgLast October the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that twenty-three communities around the country had been selected to receive grants to develop area-wide plans for putting brownfield properties back into use. (Brownfield properties are areas with environmental contamination, or at least potential contamination, that discourages prospective buyers or developers. They are often abandoned industrial sites.) One of those communities, the only one in Indiana to receive a grant, was Goshen, which had submitted a proposal to redevelop brownfield areas in its Ninth Street Corridor.

Goshen, in turn, solicited proposals for putting the $175,000 grant into action. On Monday, the City's Board of Public Works and Safety opened thirteen proposals from companies and their partners from ten states, including Indiana businesses from Fishers, Zionsville, Indianapolis, Munster, Elkhart, South Bend, Mishawaka, Fort Wayne, and, of course, Goshen. More details are available in this article from the Goshen News.

The grant arises from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a cooperative effort started in 2009 between the EPA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. However, Goshen began its work much, much earlier.

In 2004, Goshen published its Comprehensive Plan that established its visions and goals for the next ten years, including plans for revitalization and redevelopment. One of the specific areas targeted for redevelopment was the Ninth Street Corridor, an industrial area with at least 61 brownfield properties, surrounded by residential areas and schools. As a direct result of Goshen's advance planning and the Sustainable Communities grant, the community, the state, and probably some Hoosier businesses will likely benefit.

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