5 Steps For Employers To Build A Disability Inclusive Workplace

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Providing accommodations for persons with disabilities is key for diversity and inclusion. GETTY

By Paula Morgan, Forbes

Building a disability-inclusive workplace isn’t just about hiring people with disabilities. To foster a workplace that’s truly inclusive of people with disabilities, employers should ensure every worker has access to equal opportunities to learn, succeed, advance, and receive appropriate compensation. Thoughtful, evidence-based long-term strategies, systems, and support can create an environment where people with disabilities can succeed. An inclusive workplace should align with and help achieve the organization’s objectives.

In our current economy, it will take innovation to make this a reality. Here are 5 steps employers can take to create a disability-inclusive workplace.

Institute Company-wide Training

While it’s true that training needs to come from the top down, and leadership must value it and be on board, it’s likely you’ll need to hire a consultant who specializes in this education. Leaders must be trained about the business case for disability inclusion. It’s crucial for management to receive training on fears about hiring people with disabilities and to dispel any stigma attached. Leadership must also know it’s up to them to provide a safe environment for employees to discuss their concerns. Team members at all levels of the company should be engaged and embrace the initiative as well.

Recruit, Hire and Retain the Best

The goal of your recruitment and hiring process is to attract and identify candidates with the right skills and attributes for the roles available. Employers must ensure that all qualified prospective new hires —including those with disabilities— can participate in the process. Finding qualified candidates starts with community outreach and using a mix of different recruitment sources.

Consider:

  • Reach out to local vocational rehabilitation case managers like those at Allsup Employment Services (AES) who can connect you with qualified candidates in your area.
  • Contacting area career services and disability resource centers at local universities, community colleges, and technical and vocational schools.
  • Sponsoring a charity event to support local organizations, then networking with attendees about employment opportunities.
  • Creating internships that can strengthen and reinforce your hiring pipeline.

Support Employees with Disabilities

You must give careful thought to how you’ll support any new hire with a disability. This can begin in the initial stages of the hiring process. When posting job openings, you can state that qualified candidates with disabilities are encouraged to apply and explain how they can request accommodation.

A solution that is sustainable over time is to create intrinsic support. Managers can partner with HR to collaborate on strategies that support people with disabilities long-term. Here we mean more traditional types of support like technology to assist with job performance.

Communicate Your Disability Inclusion Plan Far and Wide

Be sure your entire staff is receiving consistent messages about your disability inclusion initiative and its importance. An inclusive workplace thrives when employees at all levels of the organization are aware and engaged. Your messaging should connect the inclusion plan with your organizational goals.

Here are some recommendations to get the word out:

  • Presentations from leadership – are crucial to having all employees understand the plan and get behind it.
  • Social media, company intranet, email, and workplace signage or posters.
  • Success stories – share these as they happen.

Once your internal team is onboard and active, social media is a great way to extend your plan and its achievements to an external audience.

Click here to read the full article on Forbes.

Disability awareness company launches new logo to recognise people with non-visible disabilities

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Disability awareness Staff members at Dis-labelled, (L-R) Jo-Anna, Alex, Emma O'Connor, Emily, Jo, Leon and Kelly

By Abigail Beaney, Lancashire Telegraph

Access Ability Community Interest Company, based in Blackburn, has launched a second company, Dis-labelled, creating a logo which they say is more inclusive of all people with a disability.

A logo of the letter D with a tick going through it is being used by the company in place of the wheelchair sign which was designed in the 1960s to make the logo which recognises those who have less visible disabilities. Director Emma O’Connor said: “We have worked with people with disabilities and we listen to the challenges they face with non-visible disabilities. “We decided that lockdown was the perfect time to try and raise awareness around the barriers we have seen people face. “We got together and designed a new logo and T-shirts and badges to raise awareness and funds for activities and projects that people with disabilities and people in the community can access.” Access Ability has been running for 10 years and offers training courses and assistance to those with disabilities find jobs and works with workplaces to make them more inclusive.

Dis-labelled went online in March 2021 to sell clothing and items which raise awareness, promote inclusion and raise money. This is then put back into the company to help them in their work. The company has been established and is run by people who have disabilities that want to work with companies to bring about positive changes.

Click here to read the full article on Lancashire Telegraph.

A man with autism asks future employers to ‘take a chance on me’ in a heartfelt, handwritten viral letter

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Ryan Lowry photographed while holding the telephone in one hand and signaling a thumbs up with the other

By Janine Mack, CNN

A soon-to-be high school graduate started his job search in a unique way — he wrote a candid open letter and posted it on LinkedIn.

Ryan Lowry has autism and wants future employers to understand that while he may learn in a different way, he is worth taking a chance on.

“I realize that someone like you will have to take a chance on me, I don’t learn like typical people do,” Lowry wrote in the letter. “I would need a mentor to teach me, but I learn quickly, once you explain it, I get it. I promise that if you hire me and teach me, you’ll be glad that you did. I will show up every day, do what you tell me to do, and work really hard.”

Ryan Lowry, 20, in Leesburg, Virginia, wrote this cover letter to potential employers.
Lowry, who recently celebrated his 20th birthday, is about to complete a post-graduate high school program for special needs children.

The Leesburg, Virginia, the resident is looking forward to starting the career he always dreamed of being in: animation. Currently, he works at a coffee shop called SimplyBe, but his employment will end once he graduates. So he decided to pen a cover letter to potential employers.

Ryan Lowry is hoping for a career in animation.

“He was going to do it on his computer and his younger brother thought, ‘Why don’t you write it?” said Ryan’s father, Rob Lowry.

His father said they thought posting the letter on LinkedIn would be more effective than sending it in the mail.

The letter struck a chord with employers and job seekers alike on LinkedIn.

Ryan Lowry has received thousands of comments, connections, potential mentors, and even job offers, his father said.

He added that multiple companies have reached out, but the one that stood out is Exceptional Minds, a three-year program designed to teach people with autism about animation.

Ryan Lowry is now busy getting his resume and portfolio together. And he is confident he will find his next career opportunity, his mother, Tracy Lowry, said.

Click here to read the full article on CNN.

NBCUniversal Adopts Guidelines To Audition Actors With Disabilities

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logo of NBC on the wall in copper

NBCUniversal has committed to audition actors with disabilities with each new studio production, joining the roster of organizations pledging to follow guidelines created by the Ruderman Family Foundation to make film and TV more inclusive.

“NBCUniversal remains committed to creating content that authentically reflects the world we live in and increasing opportunities for those with disabilities is an integral part of that,” said Janine Jones-Clark, Executive Vice President, Inclusion – Talent & Content, Film, Television & Streaming, NBCUniversal. “We are proud to join the Ruderman Family Foundation pledge as calls to action like theirs are important and hold the industry accountable of the work we still need to do in order to see systemic change.”

Other media organizations that have signed on to the Foundation’s pledge are CBS and the BBC.

NBC’s This is Us received the Ruderman Seal of Authentic Representation in November 2020,.

“The Ruderman Family Foundation is thrilled to see NBCUniversal commit to our guidelines and dedicate themselves further to casting people with disabilities in their productions,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “By having such an influential entity like NBCUniversal take this bold stand, we hope to continue to see others join us in striving to create more opportunities for people with disabilities in entertainment.”

The Ruderman Family Foundation’s guidelines include, among other items, recognizing that disability is central to diversity, that the disability community comprises one of the largest minority groups in the country, and that people with disabilities face exclusion in front of and behind the camera. The guidelines hold that increasing auditions for actors with disabilities is a critical step towards inclusion.

Continue to the original article at Deadline.

Disability Discrimination In Health Care Under Scrutiny

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Black female nurse listening to music with headphones outside

By Disability Scoop

Federal officials are weighing a rewrite of regulations designed to ensure that people with disabilities do not face discrimination from medical providers amid persistent concerns about unequal access.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights is issuing a request for information on disability discrimination in the health care and child welfare systems.

The move comes as the agency said that it “is aware that

(Image Credit – Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

significant discrimination on the basis of disability against persons with disabilities persists in the nation’s health care system and in its child welfare system.” In addition to reports of discrimination that have surfaced during the course of HHS OCR’s own activities, officials said that they’ve heard about issues from researchers, advocates and disability organizations.

As a result, HHS OCR is reviewing existing relevant regulations and mulling revisions.

Now, the agency is looking for feedback on what any updates should address. Specifically, officials said they would like information about disability discrimination in the context of organ transplants, life-saving or life-sustaining care, suicide prevention and treatment, crisis standards of care, health care value assessment methodologies, child welfare and the availability of auxiliary aids and accessible medical equipment.

HHS OCR said it wants input from people with disabilities, their families, providers, disability advocates, hospitals, child welfare agencies and other stakeholders. In addition to information on discrimination, the agency indicated that it would like to hear about the costs and administrative burdens related to various approaches to tackling the issue.

“We believe that persons with disabilities should not be discriminated against in vital health and human services including organ transplants, suicide prevention, the provision of life-saving care and child welfare,” said Roger Severino, director of HHS OCR. “We believe the American public agrees that persons with disabilities deserve full protection under law and we seek public input on achieving that goal with respect to the most consequential, life-altering contexts.”

Once the request for information is published in the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to submit comments.

Read the full article at Disability Scoop.

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  1. City Career Fair
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  3. 2022 Academic Careers Workshop Apply Today!
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