The National Organization on Disability

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Every day, the National Organization on Disability (NOD) works toward achieving its mission to expand the participation and contribution of America’s 56 million men, women and children with disabilities in all aspects of life. Learn more about our recent progress toward this goal.


Starbucks Largest Roasting Plant Offers Job Training for People with Disabilities

Image of Starbucks logo When Carol Glazer visited Starbucks headquarters in Seattle last fall to meet graduates from a unique training program at the company’s roasting plant in Carson City, Nevada, she wasn’t surprised to see pride in the faces of those who’d completed the course. What caught her off guard was the gratification she saw in the faces of everyone who encountered the grads.

Glazer, President of the National Organization on Disability since 2008, has been pushing for allies in its efforts to address a severe shortage of work opportunities for people with disabilities. In Starbucks, she believes she’s found a company that appreciates the payoff that comes with employing workers with disabilities.

“Starbucks is the beacon for others in corporate America,” she said. “There are a few companies that are pioneers in this field and Starbucks is one of them. Companies are beginning to understand that all the problem-solving skills and tenacity and persistence it takes to navigate a world that wasn’t built for you are terrific assets.”

Starbucks Program Helps Train Individuals with Disabilities

Image of York Daily Record logo The grads of the program, which Starbucks started about a year and a half ago in Nevada, were recognized Monday during an event celebrating Starbucks 20th anniversary in York. Those participating went through six weeks of training to give them experience in work like shipping and packaging. Instructors for the York program were provided by Crispus Attucks.

Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disability, told the crowd that there are 30 million working-age individuals with disabilities and only 20 percent are working — a statistic that hasn’t changed since the end of World War II, she said.

“It’s not only a historic injustice, it’s a terrible waste of a huge amount of talent that could be enriching the American workforce,” she said.

Starbucks Plant Celebrates 20 Years, Launches Program for People with Disabilities

Image of Starbucks logo Together with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, National Organization on Disability and Crispus Attucks Association, Starbucks Inclusion Academy Program Provides Individuals with Disabilities an Opportunity to Gain Work Experience at its Roasting Plant in York, Pennsylvania

“With more than 56 million Americans living with some form of disability, we need more companies to recognize the untapped pipeline of talent available to corporate America,” said Carol Glazer, President of the National Organization on Disability. “By collaborating on strategic initiatives like the Starbucks Inclusion Academy, NOD is taking its 30-year record of innovation to help launch effective disability employment initiatives. I applaud Starbucks for finding an innovative way to promote disability inclusion in the workplace.”

Employers Take Note: People with Autism Ideally Suited to Fill Critical STEM Jobs

Image of HuffingtonPost LogoHUFFINGTON POST BLOG By CAROL GLAZER, President, National Organization on Disability

Gov. Ridge and I agree one thing companies need to do now is to rethink their hiring strategies to find skilled talent in technology. America is already lagging when it comes to STEM-skilled workers. The U.S. will have more than 1.2 million job openings in STEM - or science, technology, engineering and math - fields by 2018. And by 2020, the McKinsey Global Institute reports there will be a shortage of 95 million skilled workers.

Microsoft and SAP are two companies that are filling this STEM talent gap by hiring individuals with autism. Why? They’ve discovered that these individuals possess in-demand skills in STEM fields, especially jobs that require extreme attention to detail or repetitive tasks, like quality checking software or finding anomalies in data. Remember the character made famous by Dustin Hoffman in the film, Rain Man, who had a remarkable ability to remember numerical sequences? Those same skills can be used to help companies fill critical STEM vacancies.

GOP Should Lead Again on Disability Rights

Image of Sacramento Bee logoThe United Nations estimates that more than 1 billion people live with disabilities worldwide. In many places, they face discrimination, lack of accommodation and even a disregard for their right to exist.

The United Nations General Assembly in 2006 adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Its goal is to “promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”​

“Walking’s Not Everything in Life”

Curb cuts. Braille in elevators. Closed captioning. Signers in public meetings. They ​did not exist when the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990. A reflection on the 25th anniversary of the ADA, which makes a crucial difference for over 50 million Americans with disabilities – and their families.

Kenneth Roman, longtime member of NOD’s Board of Directors and Dartmouth classmate of Alan Reich, founder of NOD, reflects on Reich’s personal experience of disability and the journey it led him on: from the State Department to the United Nations, and ultimately to the founding of the National Organization on Disability.

“When I was in school, I had never seen anyone in a wheelchair. There have been great, positive changes in attitudes toward participation by the disabled. I consider myself fortunate to be able to do the work that I do.” - Alan Reich

CDC: 1 in 5 American Adults Live with a Disability

Image of USA Today logo Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disability, a non-profit dedicated to the disabled community in the U.S., told USA TODAY the findings should be viewed to see how disability affects income and unemployment levels.

The non-profit’s research has found that 20% of people with disabilities have a job, while 69% of people without disabilities are employed. However, younger Americans with disabilities have nearly the same access to education as children without disabilities, Glazer said. Glazer is optimistic that more educated and disabled individuals will lead to more employment among the disabled community.

6 Ways to Be a Better Ally to People Living with Disabilities

Image of Mashable logo When it comes to talking about disability, we don’t.

Nearly one in five Americans reports living with a disability, yet our silence prevents us from aiding in destigmatization, fair access and equal opportunity.​

Along with major forms of social discrimination, such as denying employment to people with disabilities or using the R-word, there are seemingly little things able-bodied people do every day that aren’t so inclusive. And those little things need to change.

Here are six things you should think about in order to be a stronger ally to disability communities.

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DIVERSITYINC WEBINAR: Cultural Competence for National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Tuesday, October 6, 2015 2:00pm EDT

CEO COUNCIL FORUM: Bridging the Gap | Recruiting and Developing Professional Talent Disabilities
Friday, October 16, 2015 9:30am EDT

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Press Releases

President George H.W. Bush Calls Americans with Disabilities Act One of His ‘Proudest Achievements’

July 20, 2015, New York, NY – In anticipation of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, the National Organization on Disability (NOD) is releasing a new video featuring a rare and recent interview with President George H.W. Bush, who signed the ADA into law in July 1990. For 25 years, the ADA has removed barriers and empowered people, promoting equality for Americans with disabilities. In the video, hosted by NOD Chairman Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, President Bush, NOD’s Honorary Chairman, calls the ADA among his ‘proudest achievements’ as President of the United States.

NOD Announces Expanded Advisory Services to Connect Corporate America with New Talent

$1 Million Lead Corporate Grant from Prudential Foundation Kick-Starts New Enterprise Designed to Put More Americans with Disabilities to Work

April 24, 2015, New York, NY – National Organization on Disability (NOD) President Carol Glazer announced an exciting new direction for a non-profit that has for more than 30 years been a leader in advancing opportunities for Americans with all kinds of disabilities. During last night’s DiversityInc awards ceremony in downtown Manhattan, honoring the Top 10 Companies for People with Disabilities, Glazer unveiled NOD’s expanded Corporate Services – a best-in-class suite of advisory services now available to companies across the country who recognize that hiring people with disabilities is good business.

National Organization on Disability Welcomes Jeff Kellan to Board of Directors

Toys“R”Us, Inc. Executive Joins Distinguished Board

Image of Toys February 26, 2015, New York, NY – The National Organization on Disability today announced that Jeff Kellan, VP, Supply Chain Operations, Toys“R”Us, Inc. has been elected to its Board of Directors. The unanimous vote came at NOD’s Board of Directors meeting yesterday afternoon.

“We are pleased to welcome Jeff, a distinguished and accomplished professional, to NOD’s board,” said Gov. Tom Ridge, Chairman of NOD. “Jeff offers unique and personal experiences in disability employment. We are delighted to bring his expertise and perspective to the board, and we thank him for his commitment and continued service to the disability community.”

At Toys“R”Us, Inc., Kellan is responsible for managing global transportation, retail and e-commerce distribution, and oversees how the company’s merchandise is acquired, transported and stored across the supply chain. He also oversees U.S. distribution and fulfillment.

NOD Welcomes New Employers to CEO Council

CEO Council – Employers of Choice for People with Disabilities – Set for Further Growth in 2015

February 11, 2015, New York, NY – The National Organization on Disability has formally announced the companies who joined its CEO Council over the past year. The NOD CEO Council is a body of employers who have distinguished themselves as leaders in diversity and employers of choice for people with disabilities.

Employers that joined NOD’s CEO Council over the past year included Colgate-Palmolive and Northrop Grumman Corporation as President’s Circle members and Cigna, General Motors Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, NiSource and PJM at the Corporate Circle level. These companies joined a group of distinguished corporate leaders that includes The Hershey Company, PNC Financial Services Group and Wal-Mart Stores, among others. ​

“NOD prides itself as being a non-profit that understands and values the contributions of corporate America,” said Gov. Tom Ridge, Chairman of NOD. “By their generosity, ongoing support and insights, our CEO Council members play a critical role in our ability to help connect people with disabilities with meaningful job opportunities. We are very much looking forward to working with these companies in 2015 and beyond to bring recognition to their efforts to promote a diverse and inclusive workforce that includes people with disabilities.”

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