Resourcing Suppliers with Disabilities

Creating business relationships with other companies who have successful diversity and disability programs promotes your own diversity program. Building relationships with suppliers with disabilities may even give you insight on how to strengthen your own disability program.

Boeing has a longstanding relationship with AbilityOne suppliers and their affiliates. Many of their AbilityOne suppliers or NIB/NISH suppliers support manufacturing needs as well as other services. The AbilityOne initiative is comprised of Supplier Diversity personnel throughout the company that are looking for procurement opportunities.

OfficeMax is the largest purchaser of clocks from the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, and also offers Aspire CoffeeWorks coffee in their catalog and website.

In efforts to work with the best and brightest of diverse suppliers, Walmart now partners with the National Minority Supplier Development Council and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. They are also a founding partner of the USBLN Disability Supplier Diversity Program and several other organizations across the country that help identify potential suppliers.

KPMG is a founding partner of the US Business Leadership Network’s Disability Supplier Diversity Program.


By partnering with a company that advocates and supports employees with disabilities, companies send a clear public message about the depth of their diversity and inclusion programs. These companies can give you tips and insights on strengthening your internal disability programming as well.

Since 1998, CSC has been engaged in the CSC/Bender Partnership for Freedom with Bender Consulting Services, Inc. This initiative provides competitive employment to people with disabilities and disabled veterans. CSC has been nationally recognized for its efforts to employ individuals with disabilities.

Fifth Third champions employees with disabilities by serving as an expert in the Project SEARCH model and assisting other organizations internationally to introduce the program. The bank raised over half a million dollars to support Project SEARCH. Fifth Third is a corporate sponsor and supporter of many of the Hamilton County Special Olympics events including their annual awards dinner and summer fundraiser.

In January 2011, the National Organization of Disabilities (NOD) and Sam’s Club entered into an agreement to support a Bridges to Business Program with a consortium of employers in Northwest Arkansas. The program was established to benefit individuals with disabilities by assisting employers in navigating the workforce development system as it relates to candidates with disabilities; assisting service providers to better understand labor force needs; and working with employers to be better equipped to address individuals with disabilities’ employment needs.

OfficeMax is partnering with Walgreen’s, providing input into the development of their Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative (REDI) and hiring graduates of their program. OfficeMax is also acting as business consultant within the College of DuPage as they develop their Associate degree program for individuals with disabilities, teaching life and work skills and providing internships at local companies. This program will be the second of its kind in the U.S. to provide an actual Associate’s degree upon graduation.