Meeting In A Box: Disability Employment Awareness Month 2019

National Disability Employment Awareness Month takes place in October to educate people about various disabilities and raise awareness about this pool of often-untapped talent. People with disabilities — both visible and invisible — have made strides in gaining visibility but still face discrimination, especially when it comes to hiring. This Meeting in a Box is a valuable resource to help you not only understand, but celebrate, people’s unique abilities and potential in the workforce.

In this packet, we provide

  • A historical timeline outlining the victories people with disabilities have achieved
  • Facts and figures on this diverse demographic
  • An interview with Charles Catherine and Carol Glazer of the National Organization on Disability
  • A company spotlight on Ernst & Young, known for being at the forefront of hiring and supporting employees with disabilities.
  • A primary tool kit outlining some issues at stake in the upcoming 2020 election for people with disabilities.
  • A tip sheet on managing people with disabilities in the workforce will help you support your employees.

Click HERE to download a PDF version of the Disability Employment Awareness Month Meeting in a Box, our diversity-management training and educational tool available only to Benchmarking customers and DiversityInc Best Practices subscribers.

1. Timeline

We recommend you start your employees’ cultural-competence lesson on people with disabilities by using this timeline, which documents individual achievements of people with a variety of disabilities, plus legislation concerning them, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which changed their legal opportunities for equality.

Discussion Questions for Employees:

  • How can our company work to continue this progress and empower people with disabilities? disabilities disabilities
  • What famous figures do you know of who have played an important role in increasing visibility for people with disabilities? Did they change your perception of what it meant to be disabled?

Click HERE to download a copy of the timeline.

2. Facts & Figures

After discussing the history of people with disabilities, the next step is to look at the available data to understand why equality for differently-abled people has profound demographic, financial, educational and business benefits and what we can do to address issues this community faces.

Discussion Questions for Employees

  • Looking at these statistics holistically, what kinds of patterns do you see? How can having other disadvantages, for example, race or socioeconomic status, add to the pressures of having a disability?
  • While some disabilities are immediately apparent, others, like mental and chronic illnesses, are not visible. How can our company work to support and listen to those who have disabilities that we cannot immediately see? How can we accommodate and validate them?

Click HERE to download a copy of the facts & figures pages.

3. Company Spotlight: EY

EY is No. 6 on DiversityInc’s Top Companies for People with Disabilities list this year. It has installed a plethora of programs designed to enhance the disabled community’s footprint within its companies.

Discussion Questions for Employees:

  • How can we build an atmosphere of inclusion for diverse people from different backgrounds?What are some stereotypes we need to dispel?

  • How can we speak out against them? Have you ever heard anyone making prejudiced comments in the office? What are our policies on microaggressions and hate speech in the workplace?

  • What policies does our company have in supporting workers with disabilities? How can we gain insight and ideas from others?

4. Primary Tool Kit: What are the 2020 election issues?

You hear the same 10 words in every election cycle, “This is the most important presidential race in American history.” This time it may be true. There is very little attention being paid to the disabled community, a population that makes up 20% of voters. What are the issues that will drive this group to the polls?

  • What does it mean to consider disability issues as political issues as well?How can empowering people with disabilities through our political choices benefit the U.S. as a whole?

  • How can disability issues intersect with other minority issues? How can we empower these communities simultaneously?

5. Where Do We Go From Here? Interview with Charles Catherine and Carol Glazer, NOD

  • How can our company learn from Glazer and Catherine’s words to join the forefront of the movement of making the workplace more inclusive for employees with disabilities?
  • What are some goals you’d like to see our company set for disability inclusion?

6. Tips on Managing Employees with Disabilities

Educate Staff on Disabilities. You have the duty to ensure that when a new employee with disabilities is hired, their coworkers have the understanding of how to interact with them, empower them and recognize their challenges.

Utilize Assistive Technology. In the world of people with disabilities, assistive technology is the key to their success. It is pivotal that your company tracks the latest advances in technology so that your employees with disabilities can benefit from the advantages that the digital age provides to those that rely on it to communicate.

Be an Easy Access Company. Physical barriers lead to success barriers. Be sure that all employees and future employees can get into the building and up to their office. Having accessible meeting rooms and accessible desks make working easier. Ensure there is ample room in the hallways to maneuver if there are mobility issues.

Get Real. If your employees with disabilities are reliable, good workers, they yearn for constructive criticism, just like any other employee. Keep the lines of communication flowing and treat them as you would any of your other employees.

Click HERE to download the tip sheet. 

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