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The Nuts And Bolts Of How To Make Your Workplace Meeting Accessible

Jessica Miller-Merrell is a globally recognized HR and talent acquisition consultant and Founder of Workology, a workplace resource.

With so many employees being thrust suddenly into the remote workforce because of Covid-19, an entirely new challenge has been brought to the forefront around workplace accessibility. In order to accommodate all employees in this new environment, including those with disabilities, there are specific features we want to look for in the tools and applications we use to meet and connect remotely.

Considering that the majority of your employees may be working from home for the first time, ensuring that they are able to be productive and understand how to use remote tools and applications is imperative. It’s also important to choose platforms and technology that set a higher bar when it comes to meeting accessibility requirements for people with disabilities — especially when you consider that 30% of white-collar workers in the United States have a disability.

Regardless of whether you’re working together in person or virtually, organizations should make every effort to ensure that tools are accessible to all employees to promote workspaces that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. One area to focus on is presentations and meetings. Virtual co-workers have scheduled or unplanned meetings to check in on the status of assignments and projects, just as they would in an in-person or face-to-face meeting. Presentations, both for small and large groups, are held online to share knowledge and information.

In this recent Forbes article, Jessica Miller-Merrell outlined the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology’s (PEAT’s) seven steps to make your virtual meetings accessible. These include:

• Do research. Identify accessibility features of the online platform you intend to use for remote working, including messaging, virtual meetings, presentations and information sharing.

• Get a sense of everyone’s needs. When inviting employees to join a virtual presentation, encourage attendees to share their accommodation needs in order to engage effectively, such as recording the presentation for reference and sharing materials.

• Implement systems. Arrange captioning, and prepare to record your presentation. Secure sign language interpreters, if necessary. 

Get more information about the steps above, and read all seven steps in PEAT’s blog post: 7 Steps to Make Your Virtual Meetings Accessible

Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT): Podcast: Accessibility, Training and Job Creation

The most recent episode of the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT)’s Future of Work podcast features Shane Kanady, Vice President of Workforce Development at Source America, as he discusses Accessibility, Training and Job Creation for people with disabilities.

The Future of Work podcast is developed in partnership with as part of the PEAT’s Future of Work series, which works to start conversations around how emerging workplace technology trends are impacting people with disabilities.​

During the interview, Workology’s Jessica Miller-Merrell notes that 2020 is the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and she asks Shane what emerging workplace trends or technologies he thinks will have the biggest impact on people with disabilities in the next 30 years. Here is what Shane said:

“I think this is a great question. And I really thought a lot about it as I was preparing. But I’d like to approach it really in the context of current events and you know comparing that to historical trends. So, as we come through the COVID-19 crisis and navigate this period of economic recession or impact, it’s important to recognize that diverse groups have different experiences with social and economic disruption. It’s not the same across the board. And historically, persons with disabilities have seen significant declines in employment following recessions and periods of recovery, which speeds up long term trends that we see in detachment from the labor market. So kind of putting it in that context, before we had this experience with the COVID-19 outbreak, we saw an increased attention to hiring persons with disabilities as a result of the historically low levels of unemployment that we had over the past couple of years. And there are several issues with that topic that I explore in some of my other reports. But there is also just the positive aspect of having that increased media attention on that topic. But there’s a reason to be concerned that that momentum that was built up over those 10 years of economic recovery, around diversity and inclusion around persons with disabilities might be lost because of this next recession. So the trend that I hope to see is a continuation of that attention and the promotion of hiring persons with disabilities, not just as candidates of last resort, when employers are struggling to fill jobs in good economic times, but as talented contributors with lived experiences that offer new perspectives to propel businesses forward. We can talk about different aspects of technology and increases in remote options and the gig economy and those sorts of things. But a decrease in public awareness and recognition of the value of persons with disabilities might really kind of undermine the potential of what could be experienced through any of these new options and new emerging things that we’re all taking for granted.”

Listen to the complete interview with Shane on the PEAT website.

AAPD Statement on the Passing of Cheryl Sensenbrenner

The American Association of People with Disabilities mourns the loss of Cheryl Sensenbrenner. The wife of Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner and former AAPD Board Chair, Cheryl’s leadership was critical to the advancement of AAPD and the cross-disability rights movement. She was particularly passionate about AAPD’s internship program and developing the next generation of disability rights leaders. Cheryl, who was a self-advocate, sibling-advocate, and parent-advocate, was a tireless champion for inclusion. Her tenacity and advocacy were critical to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008. In addition to her passion, she will be remembered for her humor and her charisma.

“Upon the recent passing of Cheryl Sensenbrenner, the global disability rights community lost one of our leading activists and agents for social reform and equal rights. Cheryl was a force of nature for positive change both on Capitol Hill and her native Wisconsin, where she hosted me for a whirlwind advocacy tour across the state, proving that our odd couple, Democrat and Republican, tag team can, in fact, be friends, work together, and collaborate and unite behind basic principles of justice and inclusion for all Americans. She never took “No” for an answer in her quest to build a society in which people with disabilities are valued equally and can participate fully – and I will be forever inspired by her example.” – AAPD Board Chair Ted Kennedy Jr.

News for NGLCC

NGLCC logo

In our recent email blast we shared that NGLCC will always continue to work for you and our communities. We ask all stakeholders to check NGLCC’s social media pages for updates on business development webinars and trainings; online matchmakers, both B2B and corporate; support with drafting capability statements and RFPs; and much, much more to help our businesses and community stay strong and ready for the year ahead.

We encourage all stakeholders to regularly check our landing page for Coronavirus relief and other essential updates: NGLCC Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). There you will find resources from the Small Business Administration, as well as NGLCC Corporate Partners, to assist small businesses with their recovery.

Additionally, many NGLCC local affiliate chambers have regional information an economic recovery opportunities available. To find your closest local affiliate, click here.

Special Resources:

1) NGLCC COVID-19 Resource Hub for the LGBT Business Community

2) LGBTBE Business Webinars And Video Resources During Covid-19




This page is dedicated to our network of exceptional, innovative Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® (Certified LGBTBE®) suppliers in the NGLCC network. Here you will find information on business development webinars and trainings; online matchmakers, both B2B and corporate; support with drafting capability statements and RFPs; and much, much more to help our businesses and community stay strong and ready for the year ahead.

For funding and economic relief information, please visit our hub: NGLCC Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Additionally, many NGLCC local affiliate chambers have regional information an economic recovery opportunities available. To find your closest local affiliate, click here.

NMSDC – A Message From The President

Like everyone in the network, NMSDC’s national office is innovating every day to keep our mission and our work moving forward during the COVID-19 virus emergency.

Take a look at this new update from NMSDC President/CEO Adrienne C. Trimble about how the NMSDC is working in this environment – and how that is reshaping our plans for 2020.

NMSDC is mobilizing on the virtual level. Our national office and our regional affiliates are all operating remotely, in safety and security, but we are still conducting business as usual. We are here for you, as always.

We hope you are participating in our new, weekly virtual Town Halls – online every Thursday afternoon. Join us this week for our live stream on YouTube: How CPOs Are Responding: The Corporate Perspective on the COVID-19 Business Challenges.
Technology is allowing NMSDC to keep the conversation going between MBEs and corporate members, even as we are all isolated. Engagement so far in the Town Halls has been vigorous, thought-provoking, and helpful in these difficult days. Stay tuned to your email and social media for more information on these can’t-miss events.

Sadly, as you know, the health emergency has forced the postponement of Leadership Week and the Leadership Awards gala. We hope to reschedule or otherwise make the planned content and meetings available to you.

We are also monitoring developments to see how they might affect our “destination” events later in 2020 – notably, the Program Managers’ Seminar July 14-16 in Orlando, and the annual Conference and Business Opportunity Exchange October 25-28 in Phoenix.

We will keep you apprised of developments as they occur.

Staying in touch is vital during this crisis. Never has it been more important for all of us to remember that, even from a distance …

Health Care HR Week 2020 Sponsored by ASHHRA

Health Care Human Resources Week will be observed March 16-20, 2020. It is designated to recognize human resources professionals in health care organizations across the nation for their important role across the continuum of care.

For more information visit