Funds Support Efforts to Increase Employment Opportunities for Americans with Disabilities

NATIONAL ORGANIZATION ON DISABILITY IS RECIPIENT OF $5M GIFT FROM PHILANTHROPIST MACKENZIE SCOTT

 

NEW YORK, NY (November 15, 2022) |  The National Organization on Disability (NOD) announced today it received a $5 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. NOD is a nonprofit organization that envisions a world where all people with disabilities enjoy full opportunity for employment, enterprise, and earnings. The donation is the single largest contribution the organization has received from an individual donor in its 40-year history.

This transformational investment will advance NOD’s mission to increase its impact on employment prospects for more than 60 million people with disabilities in America today. The organization will expand its work with employers through programs such as the Leadership Council and Employment Tracker™ and grow the organization’s research capabilities, all with the goal of identifying practices that lead to greater talent outcomes and influencing changes in public policy and perception.

NOD’s President, Carol Glazer, noted that, “While America still has a long way to go, the disability rights landscape has changed dramatically and much has been accomplished since our founding in 1982. NOD is proud to have been dedicated to this progress throughout our forty-year history. This funding will help us make even greater advancements in the decades ahead. We are honored to be selected for this generous support and want to thank all our funders and supporters who made, and continue to make, our journey possible.”

About National Organization on Disability (NOD)

The National Organization on Disability (NOD) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to increase employment opportunities for working age Americans with disabilities who are not employed. To achieve this goal, NOD offers a suite of employment solutions, tailored to anticipate, and meet leading companies’ workforce needs. NOD has helped some of the world’s most recognized brands be more competitive in today’s global economy by building or enriching their disability inclusion programs. For more information about NOD and how its portfolio of professional services, Leadership Council and Employment Tracker™ can help your business, visit www.NOD.org.

2022 Leading Disability Employers

THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION ON DISABILITY ANNOUNCES THE 2022 LEADING DISABILITY EMPLOYERS AT ANNUAL FORUM CELEBRATING 40 YEARS OF DISABILITY INCLUSION PROGRESS

Fifty-Two Companies Recognized for Commitment to Building an Inclusive Workforce

NEW YORK, NY (October 3, 2022) – At the National Organization on Disability (NOD)’s Annual Forum, entitled NOD at 40: Honoring the Past; Innovating the Future, fifty-two organizations were honored as 2022 NOD Leading Disability Employers.  Now in its eighth year, the NOD Leading Disability Employer Seal recognizes companies for measuring and achieving strong talent outcomes for people with disabilities. With this recognition, NOD shines a light on those employers that are committed to building an inclusive and diverse workforce by adopting exemplary employment practices for people with disabilities.

“For the past forty years, we have envisioned a world where all people with disabilities enjoy full opportunity for employment, enterprise and earnings and employers know how to make the most of their talents,” said NOD President Carol Glazer.  “I congratulate these fifty-two organizations for their leadership and commitment to hiring and retaining people with disabilities. Together we can reimagine the future by harnessing the power, creativity, and innovation of disability-inclusive diversity in the workplace, marketplace, and communities across America.”

The 2022 Leading Disability Employers are as follows:  

  • Accenture
  • American Heart Association
  • American Water
  • AmerisouceBergen Corporation
  • Bell Textron Inc
  • Capital One Financial Corporation
  • Centene
  • CircuSense/Omnium Circus
  • Colorado Springs Utilities
  • Comcast NBCUniversal
  • Consumers Energy
  • Dow
  • DXC Technology
  • Endeavors Unlimited
  • EY
  • First Busey Corporation
  • FirstEnergy
  • The Hershey Company
  • Hilton Worldwide
  • Idaho National Laboratory
  • Independence Care System
  • KeyBank
  • KPMG LLP
  • Leidos Inc.
  • Lockheed Martin
  • L’Oréal USA
  • M&T Bank Corporation
  • Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Oshkosh Corporation
  • PRIDE Industries
  • PSEG
  • Puerto Rico Industries for the Blind, Corp.
  • Randstad
  • Reed Smith LLP
  • Regions Bank
  • Roche Diagnostics Corporation,
  • Sanofi US
  • Sempra
  • TD Bank
  • Tennessee Valley Authority
  • T-Mobile, USA
  • S. Bank
  • Unum
  • Vectrus
  • The Viscardi Center
  • VSP Vision
  • Walgreens
  • WeCo Accessibility Services
  • Wells Fargo & Company
  • W.W. Grainger, Inc.

The than 300 corporate partners, disability rights advocates and civic leaders in the nation’s capital.  The Forum, emceed by Michael Smerconish, veteran political commentator, and host to programs on both CNN and SiriusXM, paid tribute to fellow Pennsylvanian, outgoing NOD chairman Governor Tom Ridge for his tireless commitment fighting for the rights of people with disabilities. The Forum featured two keynote speakers: Dr. Anjali Forber-Pratt, Director of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) in the Administration for Community Living, disability activist, and a two-time Paralympian and Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, the nation’s largest historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization.  In addition, special messages were given by Michele Buck, CEO of The Hershey Company, Christopher J. Nassetta, CEO and President of Hilton Worldwide, and many more.

In addition, attendees were invited to two dynamic roundtables entitled: Honoring the Disability Rights Movement Over the Last 40 Years and Focusing on the Future with Innovators in the ADA Generation whichincluded distinguished and talented professionals including Judy Heumann, Disability Rights Leader and Principal of the Oscar-Nominated Higher Group Netflix documentary CRIP CAMP, Taryn M. Williams, Assistant Secretary for Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor, and Day Al-Mohamed, Disability Policy Director, White House Domestic Policy Council.

About the NOD Leading Disability Employer Seal + Employment Tracker

The NOD Leading Disability Employer Seal is a selective award given to companies demonstrating positive outcomes in recruiting, hiring, retaining, and advancing people with disabilities in their workforces. To see current and past winners of the NOD Leading Disability Employer seal, visit www.NOD.org/seal.

Winners are determined based on data provided by companies on the NOD Employment Tracker™, the onlyassessment tool available that focuses on the workforce, to help companies evaluate their disability inclusion policies and practices. Organizations wanting to compete for the NOD Leading Disability Employer Seal voluntarily opt in to be considered. Those companies’ responses are scored, considering both disability employment practices and performance. Scoring prioritizes practices that are associated with increased disability employment outcomes over time, and companies receive additional points based on the percentage of people with disabilities in their workforce. At NOD’s Annual Forum, the cohort of winners are revealed by name; no specific scoring or ranking is disclosed.

To be considered for the 2023 NOD Leading Disability Employer Seal, companies must complete the annual Employment Tracker survey during the qualifying window. Sign up to be notified when the 2023 Employment Tracker opens this November.

About National Organization on Disability (NOD)

The National Organization on Disability (NOD) is a private, non-profit organization that seeks to increase employment opportunities for the 60-percent of working age Americans with disabilities who are not employed. To achieve this goal, NOD offers a suite of employment solutions, tailored to anticipate, and meet leading companies’ workforce needs. NOD has helped some of the world’s most recognized brands be more competitive in today’s global economy by building or enriching their disability inclusion programs. For more information about NOD and how its portfolio of professional services, Leadership Council and Employment Tracker™ can help your business, visit www.NOD.org.

NOD Celebrates 40 Years of Disability Inclusion Progress

 

NOD at 40 logo

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

NATIONAL ORGANIZATION ON DISABILITY AND ITS CORPORATE PARTNERS SEND A STRONG MESSAGE OF HOPE TO DISABILITY COMMUNITY AT ANNUAL FORUM: NOD AT 40: HONORING THE PAST; INNOVATING THE FUTURE

 

NOD Celebrates 40 Years of Disability Inclusion Progress in the Workplace and Honors Long-time NOD Chairman Governor Tom Ridge and President Carol Glazer

 

NEW YORK, NY (October 3, 2022) – The National Organization on Disability, along with its title sponsors The Hershey Company and Prudential, disability rights advocates, civic leaders and corporate global partners and sponsors convened at 101 Constitution Ave. in DC for NOD’s annual Forum: NOD at 40: Honoring the Past; Innovating the Future on September 29, 2022. More than 300 attendees celebrated 40 years of NOD and the accomplishments of the disability rights movement and specifically the advancement of disability employment rights in this country; explored the future being built by ADA Generation innovators; and honored the man who has served as NOD’s Chairman for the last 16 years, the nation’s first Secretary of Homeland Security, Governor Tom Ridge, as well as Carol Glazer who has served as NOD’s president for the last 13 years.

A sense of hope permeated throughout the day as attendees witnessed messages from Hershey CEO Michele Buck, Christopher J. Nassetta, CEO and President of Hilton Worldwide, Dr. Forber-Pratt, Director of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) in the Administration for Community Living, disability activist, and a two-time Paralympian and Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, as well as energizing and innovative roundtable discussions led by industry leaders including Disability Rights Leader Judy Heumann, Day-Al Mohamed, Disability Policy Director, White House Domestic Policy Council and Xian Horn, Founder of Give Beauty Wings and Changeblazer, ForbesWomen Contributor.

“Hope is a simple idea, but is truly the steppingstone to resilience,” said NOD President Carol Glazer.  “When NOD began, we were filled to the brim with hope that we could make the world a better place for people with disabilities. For the last 40 years we have focused on being a catalyst for driving a positive perception and shattering misconceptions about people with disabilities in the workplace, marketplace, and communities across the United States. Today was an amazing day as colleagues and friends reflected on the past, but it was also a time to dive into the challenges that the disability community still faces in the years to come. Together I believe we can continue this journey of progress with perseverance, innovation, and hope.”

The celebration continued into the evening on the Roof Terrace with a beautiful tribute to Governor Tom Ridge for his 16 years of service as NOD Chairman, given by Michael Smerconish, the Forum’s emcee, and SiriusXM/CNN Host.  In addition, fifty-two organizations were honored as the 2022 NOD Leading Disability Employers.  Now in its eighth year, the NOD Leading Disability Employer Seal recognizes companies for measuring and achieving strong talent outcomes for people with disabilities. With this recognition, NOD shines a light on those employers that are committed to building an inclusive and diverse workforce by adopting exemplary employment practices for people with disabilities.

“I am partially paralyzed and a member of the disability community. Here it is simply: We have a right to go to work,” said incoming NOD Chairman Luke Visconti. “People with disabilities have the lowest labor participation rate of any group because most companies won’t hire us. I am proud of NOD for capturing data on corporate best practices and helping progressive companies, like the ones who sponsored this event and others who attended, to manage their human capital at peak performance. I am thankful to take the chair from Governor Tom Ridge who led this organization and board to its current wonderful shape.”

About National Organization on Disability (NOD)

The National Organization on Disability (NOD) is a private, non-profit organization that seeks to increase employment opportunities for the 60-percent of working age Americans with disabilities who are not employed. To achieve this goal, NOD offers a suite of employment solutions, tailored to anticipate and meet leading companies’ workforce needs. NOD has helped some of the world’s most recognized brands be more competitive in today’s global economy by building or enriching their disability inclusion programs. For more information about NOD and how its portfolio of professional services, Leadership Council and Employment Tracker™ can help your business, visit www.NOD.org.

Disclosing a Disability to an Employer: Your Rights

Elana Gross, Monster contributor | Wednesday, March 16th 2022

 

Black and white headshot of a smiling woman with shoulder length hair wearing glasses

 

If you’re among the 12.7 percent of Americans that have a visible or invisible disability, you may have some questions about disclosing a disability to an employer in your resume, cover letter, or during the interview process—especially if you know you will need accommodations at some point during the hiring process and/or when you start work.

But do you have to disclose your disability by law? Should you? If you do mention your disability, when is the best time to bring it up?

You’re busy applying to jobs, so we did the research for you and spoke to experts to address some of the questions you may have.

By Law, Do You Have to Disclose Your Disability to an Employer?

No. You are not legally required to mention your disability while you’re being considered for a job. You do not need to disclose your disability on your resume, cover letter, or other application materials, or during an interview.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prevents eligible employers from discriminating against qualified job applicants and employees if they have a disability. (The law applies to state and local government employers and private employers with 15 or more employees.)

Under the law, someone is considered to have a disability if they have, have a record of having, or are perceived to have a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity” such as walking, hearing, seeing, speaking, learning, or completing manual tasks.

Reasonable Accommodations

To be protected under the ADA, a candidate must meet the job requirements and be able to complete the “essential job functions” with or without a “reasonable accommodation.”

A reasonable accommodation is a change or modification to the work environment or way things are done that makes it accessible. For example, you could request for the employer to modify the hiring process by hosting the interview in an accessible space, providing an American Sign Language interpreter or reader, or offering you written materials in accessible formats.

You are not required to self-identify a disability on a job application or during an interview, even if you later disclose that you need reasonable accommodations.

An employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations unless they can show that it is an “undue hardship,” meaning there would be a “significant” difficulty or cost. However, they can’t refuse to provide a requested accommodation if there is some cost involved, and they must provide an alternative accommodation.

How Does the ADA Apply to the Hiring Process?

The law prohibits employers from asking “disability-related questions” or requiring medical examinations until they have made you a conditional offer. However, if you disclose that you have a disability or have a visible disability, an employer can ask for more information, but there are limits.

Employers are prohibited from asking invasive questions about your disability and should only ask questions about the accommodations you need and whether you’ll be able to complete the essential job responsibilities.

In those instances, the employer can ask you whether you can complete the essential job responsibilities with or without reasonable accommodations and for you to demonstrate or describe how you’d do it. Employers can’t refuse to hire you if you can’t complete nonessential job responsibilities.

There’s a Disability Question on a Job Application. What’s That About?

If you see a disability question on a job application, that’s not entirely unusual. Some companies have Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) survey questions at the end of an application to collect data that they are required to submit to the EEOC. The survey typically asks about the applicant’s gender, race, and whether they have a disability. The form should say that it is voluntary and provide you an option to decline answering.

Should You Disclose Your Disability to an Employer During the Hiring Process?

You know you don’t have to disclose, but should you? Granted, this might not be a choice for everyone. If you require a reasonable accommodation during the hiring process, the employer can ask why you need an accommodation and what you need. The employer may ask for “reasonable documentation.”(Check your state’s laws to see how much information employers can request.)

Jinny Kim, the director of the disability rights program at Legal Aid at Work, says the nonprofit legal services organization counsels clients to only disclose a disability:

  • if you need a reasonable accommodation during the hiring process, such as when you are invited to an interview
  • when you start the job
  • at any point during your time at the company

Legal Aid at Work recommends that clients consider the potential benefits and downsides of disclosing. The benefits include receiving necessary accommodations and gaining support and, depending on the workplace, downsides may include a risk of stigma and harassment and a loss of privacy.

What Are the Best Practices for Disclosing a Disability to an Employer During the Hiring Process?

Typically, you only need to tell the employer that you have an ADA-protected disability and share the reasonable accommodations you are requesting. Some states may allow employers to ask you or your medical representative for a specific diagnosis.

Eve Hill, a disability rights attorney at the law firm Brown, Goldstein and Levy, says to explain to the employer how you’ll do the job, your past accomplishments, and that the accommodations you need are not difficult to implement.

What Are Some Ways to Tell If an Employer Is Inclusive?

Moeena Das, the Chief Operating Officer of National Organization on Disability, a nonprofit that increases work opportunities for people with disabilities, suggests checking whether the company website is accessible and includes an accessibility statement. Similarly, she recommends checking whether the company has an employee resource group (ERG) focused on disabilities and whether they have partnerships with disability organizations.

Start the Hiring Process with a Free Resume Review

Now that you know more about your rights and the process of disclosing a disability to an employer, you’re ready to begin preparing for the job search. Want some help with that? Start by polishing your resume with a free resume review from Monster. We can show you how to improve it so that you have a better chance of getting interview requests. It’s quick and easy (and did we mention free?) and can really make a difference.

This article is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice. Always seek the professional advice of an attorney regarding any legal questions you may have.

Originally Posted at https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/disclose-disability-on-resume

How Americans with Disabilities are Underrepresented as Managers and Professionals, in One Glaring Chart

 

 

A man in a wheelchair is smiling and looking at a book he is holding open on a table. Next to the man is a woman sitting with a folder on her lap

 

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics released 2021 data about the employment situation of people with disabilities.
  • Of employed people with disabilities, 36.5% work in management, professional, and related occupations.
  • That is less than the share for employed people without disabilities working these jobs, at 42.7%.

 

People with disabilities can be great job candidates, but their labor force participation was still low in 2021 and unemployment remained high compared to those without disabilities.

The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics highlights the employment situation of people with and without disabilities in 2021. Only 21.3% of Americans age 16 and over with disabilities were working or actively looking for work, far below the 67.1% rate for Americans without disabilities.

The latest release also highlights the kinds of jobs people with disabilities are working in compared to those without disabilities:

“Persons with a disability were less likely to work in management, professional, and related occupations than those without a disability,” BLS wrote in the news release, where 36.5% of employed Americans with disabilities worked in those occupations, well below the 42.7% of employed Americans without disabilities.

People with disabilities may face discrimination that can make it difficult to land a job — or even get through the application process if applications aren’t accessible.

Workers with disabilities face barriers reaching management positions

Charles Catherine, director of corporate and government relations at the National Organization on Disability (NOD), told Insider that the gap in management and related roles could be due to a few reasons.

“One is people with disabilities are on average less educated than the average population,” Catherine said. “And that’s because of a lot of reasons — discrimination, difficulty to access education, low expectations.”

“So when you’re looking to hire people at the managerial level for companies,” he added, “it is objectively difficult to find qualified candidates with disabilities.”

Another problem is companies may have a hard time finding people who self-identify as having disabilities because of discrimination. Catherine said there could be more managers out there with disabilities but they might not feel comfortable disclosing this.

“On the employer side, some of them are forward-thinking and know that there is an untapped talent pool there and they want to hire people with disabilities,” Catherine said. “And we at NOD work with many of them. But, they don’t necessarily find that talent of people who self-identify because we know that there is discrimination against people with disabilities.”

He cited a study that highlights this problem. The study looked at made-up applications written by the researchers to over 6,000 accounting positions where a third of cover letters didn’t mention a disability, a third noted a spinal cord injury, and a third mentioned Asperger’s Syndrome. The authors found that the “fictional applicants with disabilities received 26% fewer expressions of employer interest than those without disabilities, with little difference between the two types of disability.”

One of the main results the authors found was the “disability gap in employer interest is concentrated among experienced applicants, indicating that higher qualifications do not erase the labor market disadvantages associated with disability.”

Employers can improve their practices and be more accommodating for workers with disabilities during the interview stages, in addition to once workers land the job. Employers can also make more of an effort to recruit this talent pool.

“When it comes to getting employed, there are barriers in the recruitment, hiring, and retention phase of employment,” Josh Basile, community-relations manager at accessiBe, previously told Insider.

Catherine said it’s on the employers to reach out and better recruit and promote this talent pool of workers.

“Building accessibility and improving the inclusive hiring process is not only a compliance issue,” Basile said. “It’s smart business, and it’s the right thing to do.”

Originally published on Business Insider

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge Gives First On-Camera Interview Since Suffering Stroke

December 28th, 2021 | Lori Burkholder, Anchor

Watch the interview here

He shared his journey following a health scare over the summer.

“I’m getting better every day by increments. I can tell. I’m doing great. Fabulous. Better than I was a couple months ago, that’s for sure,” he said.

In his first on-camera interview since he had a stroke in June, Ridge described what his life has been like.

“A good day is when you wake up in the morning and see the sun shining. I say, ‘Thank you, God, another day to hopefully do better than I did the day before,'” he said.

The stroke affected his left side.

“I can’t do everything I want to do because of some limitations. And the good news is once the therapy is completed, I’ll be able to get back and do everything I was doing before. That’s the goal,” he said.

Ridge goes to Niagara Therapy in Erie three days a week, working on getting back what the stroke stole.

He gets special help from Hope, a dog who was named for what she gives people like Ridge.

“She’s very popular. She’s very entertaining, sometimes a bit stubborn. She’s been great. He really does love working with her,” occupational therapist Markelle Blair said.

“If I can walk out of therapy session today feeling better or stronger or more agile or better prepared for tomorrow, then I’ve had a good day in therapy,” Ridge said.

Ridge continues to improve and said it’s all about the three Ps.

“It takes patience, perseverance and practice. Part of it’s a mindset, and I hope people who watch this would say, ‘Hey, Ridge can do it, I can do it. No big deal.’ You can restore a semblance of a normal life. You can do it. You can just do it,” he said.

Ridge hopes his journey inspires others, just like those who inspired him.

“I think of my condition. I think of Bob Dole, who had very limited use of his right arm. Incredible story – one of my personal heroes. I was honored to be invited to the celebration of his life and his legacy,” he said.

When asked what Ridge wants his legacy to be, he had this answer: “I’ve been privileged to serve my community and my country in multiple ways. I just want people to know I’m grateful for the opportunity for that service and hope they take a look back, regardless of political persuasion, and say, ‘Ridge might not have been the brightest light bulb in the chandelier but we know he worked hard and we’re grateful for that.’ I hope that’s it.”

Ridge said he’s thankful for all the people who have reached out to him since his stroke. He also encouraged stroke survivors to take advantage of all the resources available because he’s proof that those resources make a difference.

Gov. Tom Ridge Attends Funeral of Sen. Bob Dole; Salutes His Legacy on Disability Rights

Friday, December 10th 2021

 

Gov. Tom Ridge, chairman of the National Organization on Disability, was in attendance today at the funeral of former U.S. Senator Bob Dole at the National Cathedral in Washington.

“Any discussion about the opportunities that exist today for people with disabilities in America must include the heroic contributions of my friend Bob Dole,” said Gov. Ridge. “Himself a World War II veteran who returned home with a disability, Sen. Dole wielded his power and influence in the Senate to advance the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, signed into law by another World War II veteran and friend, President George H.W. Bush. Sen. Dole, who at the time was the minority leader, used his bipartisan influence to push the legislation forward. It is not hyperbole to say that the ADA likely never would have passed without his support and advocacy amongst his colleagues. In fact, Sen. Tom Harkin has referred to Sen. Dole as the linchpin to the Republicans as they advanced the final language in the bill.

“Bob Dole is from America’s Greatest Generation, and his contributions are too many to count. For those of us who spend time in the disability field, and for me personally, who was privileged to cast an affirmative vote for the ADA as a congressman, his legacy will forever be remembered. And I hope that it is equally appreciated by millions of his fellow Americans who access the rights provided in the ADA every day of their lives. Myself now included.”

NOD Rallies for Companies to Commit to More Diverse and Inclusive Workforces in 2022

Annual Employment Tracker Reveals an Increase in Hiring People with Disabilities, While Self-ID Rates Decrease

 

NEW YORK (December 8, 2021) – The National Organization on Disability (NOD) is encouraging all companies to look closer at the 80-percent of working age Americans with disabilities who are not employed and to make disability inclusion part of their overall business strategy in 2022. While recent reports and results from NOD’s annual Employment Tracker are trending positive with an increase in people with disabilities entering the workforce over the last 12 months, self-identification (self-ID) rates have decreased from 4.09 in 2020 to 3.68 in 2021.

The NOD Employment Tracker is the only free assessment tool available that focuses on the workforce, to help companies better gain a deeper understanding of how their key business practices correlate to improved talent outcomes related to hiring, retention and tenure. Companies can access the free NOD Disability Employment Tracker here.

“I am cautiously optimistic and encouraged by the latest reports that show the labor force participation rate for working-aged people with disabilities has increased by 11.3 percent over the past year,” said NOD President Carol Glazer. “This is tremendous progress for the disability community and for that we need to celebrate.  However, we can’t stop here. There is more work to be done to ensure that all people with disabilities feel comfortable identifying with a disability, no matter their type of disability or the environment within which they work.”

In its ninth year – and with companies who together employ more than 10 million Americans already taking the annual survey – the NOD Employment Tracker assists companies to make disability inclusion part of their overall business strategy and to find the right talent while removing inclusion barriers for good.  According to the 2021 Employment Tracker report, employers that track not only self-ID rates, but other talent outcome metrics, such as promotions of employees with disabilities, demonstrated self-identification rates three times higher than those that only examined self-ID.

The Tracker data also showed NOD’s Leadership Council members performed better and were more effective at implementing best practices, programs, and policies. Specifically, these members have 38% higher self ID rates and are better than non-members at adopting the most effective disability inclusion practices.

Glazer added, “I would encourage all employers to take advantage of our Employment Tracker to access how they benchmark against more than 200 participating companies and receive pertinent information to create a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

For 2022, NOD will continue to partner with Talmetrix, a national employee feedback, research and insights company. By using recent market research, the two organizations created a dynamic disability benchmarking tool that provides companies with the cutting-edge, outcome-based data metrics they need to build a more inclusive workforce, which is proven to enhance innovation and increase engagement with employees and customers.

Companies who complete the Tracker by March 11, 2022 will receive a free Scorecard report, benchmarking their performance against all other participants in key workforce inclusion areas: (Strategy, Talent Outcome Metrics, Climate & Culture, Talent Sourcing, People Practices, Workplace Tools & Accessibility, and Veterans (optional). The 2022 Scorecard reports will be available for participating companies in early summer 2022. In addition to receiving this powerful benchmarking tool, top performing companies are eligible to compete for NOD’s annual Leading Disability Employer Seal.  A list of the 2021 Leading Disability Employers can be found here.

 

ABOUT NATIONAL ORGANIZATION ON DISABILITY 

The National Organization on Disability (NOD) is a private, non-profit organization that seeks to increase employment opportunities for the 80-percent of working age Americans with disabilities who are not employed. To achieve this goal, NOD offers a suite of employment solutions, tailored to meet leading companies’ workforce needs. NOD has helped some of the world’s most recognized brands be more competitive in today’s global economy by building or enriching their disability inclusion programs. For more information about NOD and how its professional services, Leadership Council and Employment Tracker™ can help your business, visit www.NOD.org.

In Return to Campuses, Students with Disabilities Fear They’re Being ‘Left Behind’

Many are having to press their universities for accommodations — or drop classes entirely

Jessica Chaikof, 29, and her service dog, Jigg, are seen on campus at American University in D.C. on Oct. 19. Chaikof, who has Usher syndrome, is a master’s student in sociology. (Amanda Voisard for The Washington Post)

It was her first in-person class, and Chaikof had set up a second laptop and a school-provided microphone near her professor and her socially distanced classmates to transcribe the conversation in real time. She squinted to read the resulting words, but even as her three classmates got out of their seats and shouted into the microphone to try to help, the transcription service picked up little.

“It’s affecting my learning. It’s affecting my ability to do well in class,” said Chaikof, whose hearing and visual impairments are caused by Usher syndrome. “Overall, it’s been really frustrating.”

Many students welcomed the return to in-person learning, but the change has revived pre-pandemic difficulties and created new ones for some students with disabilities. Some lamented the reduction of online instruction, which allowed them to read closed captions during lectures in real time, turn their cameras off when needed, and watch recorded lectures at home and at their own pace, among its benefits.

Losing that flexibility, Chaikof and others said, has brought them physical and mental distress — and the feeling that they’re being forgotten.

“I have to work 10 times harder than my classmates just to be able to succeed, and yet I’m not being supported,” Chaikof said.

American University’s sociology department, she stressed, was helpful, but the university response has frustrated her, she said. Chaikof requested an in-person transcriber for real-time captioning, she said and had spoken with the university on multiple occasions to acquire one for her required course. An American University spokesperson said the school could provide Chaikof only remote captioning services because of a shortage of in-person transcribers and a growing demand for them.

Zandy Wong, 19, a student at Johns Hopkins University who is hard of hearing, attends a food, environment and society class Oct. 20 in Baltimore. (Amanda Voisard for The Washington Post)

Experts estimate that 1 in 8 U.S. college students have at least one disability, according to Scott Lissner, the public policy committee chair at the Association on Higher Education and Disability. Some of those students, including those with attention-deficit-related disabilities, say they found online learning harder. But overall, the return to in-person learning presents a pervasive challenge for students with disabilities as well as for every college across the country, said Felicia Nurmsen, the managing director of employer services at the National Organization on Disability.

The challenge is heightened, Nurmsen said, in state schools that have high percentages of students with disabilities and few resources. Nurmsen said most of the universities with which she has worked are still figuring out how to increase opportunities for online classes as a disability-related accommodation.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this,” she said. “Every college has students with disabilities. We all need to think about how to support our students with invisible and visible disabilities.”

Zandy Wong, a second-year neuroscience student at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore who also has a hearing impairment, also has struggled to keep up with her classes.

“The pandemic showed me that environments can be made fully accessible in a virtual or hybrid environment with little cost to the school,” Wong said. (Amanda Voisard for The Washington Post)

She requested clear face masks for the discussion section of her calculus II class from her university’s disability services so that she could read the lips of her socially distanced instructor and classmates. But the instructor and the class stopped wearing the clear masks after a week, Wong said, and she was reluctant to self-identify as having a disability at every class meeting to remind everyone to wear them. As a result, she said, she had difficulty keeping up with the course material.

“I worry, with the transition back to in-person learning, that disabled students like me will be left behind once again,” Wong said. “The pandemic showed me that environments can be made fully accessible in a virtual or hybrid environment with little cost to the school.”

A Johns Hopkins representative said that the university has provided more online and hybrid offerings in programs that were primarily in-person before the pandemic, and that the university is considering how to use technology to make classes more inclusive and equitable.

Wong has requested that clear masks be worn in select larger classrooms so that she can read the lips of her classmates and instructors, but she did not request the extra help in this room because of its smaller size. (Amanda Voisard for The Washington Post)

Many universities are figuring out the same, experts said, and finding ways to make learning more equitable, including through simulations for labs, video platforms and hybrid learning tools for asynchronous learning.

“The technology has been fleshed out, and the logistics are now understood,” Lissner said. “And now there is a much larger pool of people who could benefit.” The pandemic, he added, has given students with disabilities leverage to press for more change in the educational system.

But challenges remain. At Stanford, third-year math and computational science student Poojit Hegde said online learning was a benefit for him, drastically boosting his levels of physical and mental energy every day. Hegde has chronic fatigue syndrome and received a diagnosis of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, in 2018; POTS limits his mobility and strains his health when his body temperature fluctuates.

While he was attending classes remotely, Hegde could forgo trekking across Stanford’s campus, which covers more than 8,100 acres. But since he has returned to in-person instruction, he said, he has resumed worrying about having the energy to make it to class. Normally, he would use the campus’s golf cart service, which provides transportation between locations on campus for those with disabilities or certain health conditions at the university. But Hegde said he has had a hard time getting to use that facility this year because of increased demand. A Stanford spokesperson said the university increased the staffing of the transportation service at the beginning of the academic year because ridership had climbed from four passengers daily last school year to 50 a day this fall.

In September, one of Hegde’s classes spontaneously decided to meet outside in the early afternoon when it was 80 degrees, and he was not prepared. Normally, he said, he would have brought a cooling vest, a portable fan and water.

“By the end, I really regretted going to class. It impacted the rest of my day and the day after,” Hegde said. “Because my disability is invisible, if I don’t advocate for myself enough, people won’t listen to me.”

“I have to work 10 times harder than my classmates just to be able to succeed, and yet I’m not being supported,” American University student Jessica Chaikof said. (Amanda Voisard for The Washington Post)

Liza Mamedov-Turchinsky, a senior at the University of California at Berkeley who has completed six years for her undergraduate degree, said she had to drop half her courses this year because she did not want to take any in-person classes. Mamedov-Turchinsky, who is studying rhetoric and anthropology, is immunocompromised and has chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain disorder, asthma and ADHD.

A Berkeley spokesperson said students with disabilities are allowed to participate remotely if doing so does not fundamentally change the nature of the courses involved. In addition, if remote learning is not an option, the university will work with the students to find appropriate accommodations.

But Mamedov-Turchinsky’s department is small and did not offer many virtual courses, she said, and her request could not be accommodated. As a result, partly to avoid the threat posed by the novel coronavirus, she will have to take another year or possibly two to graduate.

“I can’t choose between my life and my degree. It’s a very difficult position for me to be in,” she said. “What’s been the most painful and heartbreaking about the pandemic is seeing that the world, at the flip of the dime, was able to restructure itself when it came to abled people needing those accommodations. And now it’s become even more difficult to be an equal among my peers.”

Alex Chand, a fifth-year Lawrence University student of physics and English who has autism, said she enjoyed Zoom learning because she felt she could understand social cues better: She did not need to ask others to join their groups because the professor could automate breakout rooms, she could easily leave her hand raised in the queue, and she generally felt less anxious to attend class.

Returning to in-person learning on the campus in Appleton, Wis., has been stressful, Chand said, because she has had to put in far more energy to fight for accommodations. She saw a psychiatrist this fall for medication to help with her anxiety.

“For a while after returning to campus, I was afraid to leave my room,” Chand said. “It’s been really stressful for me, because it’s hard to decode what’s being said in between the lines.”

Barbara Hong, the dean of Texas A&M International University’s University College and a professor in special education, suggested that the difficulties that students are facing could have been avoided if schools considered reopening in smaller phases.

Hong recommended that instructors and administrators take this school year to reconsider how they teach and assess knowledge in the classroom.

“The pandemic has demanded faculty to be more creative and learn how to use new technology,” Hong said, “and none of this goes away.”

Article originally sourced from https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2021/11/01/colleges-return-students-disabilities/