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Assistance for Small Businesses Hiring People with Disabilities
U.S. Department of Labor and Small Business
Historic Signing Ceremony -
Janet D. Fiore, Guest Speaker
(December 11, 2003) - Guest speaker, Janet Fiore, CEO of The Sierra Group, joined with Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao and Administrator Hector V. Barreto of the U.S. Small Business Administration in Washington, DC for the signing ceremony that launched an Interagency Initiative designed to assist small business owners looking to hire workers with disabilities. This strategic alliance is entitled "The New Freedom Small Business Initiative" and will also reach out to assist individuals with disabilities who wish to start their own small businesses.
The signing ceremony was held in the Department of Labor's Great Hall with over one hundred leaders from the disability community in attendance. Janet Fiore shared her experiences as an entrepreneur with a disability who launched her company, The Sierra Group to accommodate her own limitations while helping others to do the same. Recalling her own need for technology and physical accommodations while working for a large insurance company, Fiore stated: "These simple accommodations were so unheard of in 1991 that I almost lost my job. What I lost instead was my tolerance - I realized if these straightforward accommodations were difficult for an otherwise great employer to deal with - then how could people with more severe disabilities ever find and keep a job."
Janet Fiore serves as CEO of this 13 year old national consulting firm based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Fiore employs a diverse team of professionals consisting of 80% people with disabilities. "In my practice I assist others with disabilities to gain work or become entrepreneurs". Sierra Group's assistance reaches both business owners and potential employees covering every aspect of training, diversity planning, recruiting, accommodating, corporate disability management, and placement for people with disabilities.
The Sierra Group will launch its Washington D.C. operation in 2004.
Janet Fiore keeps connected to resources in the government, business and rehabilitation communities through her local and national consulting and training work as well as board positions and speaking engagements.
For more information on The New Freedom Small Business Initiative and The Sierra Group, Inc., please visit the following web sites: www.dol.gov/odep or www.sba.gov and www.thesierragroup.com or by phone at 1.800.973.7687.