NOD, Corporate Partners Convene Disability Organizations from Across the Country for a Special Meeting with U.S. Labor Secretary Walsh

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 15, 2023) – Recently the National Organization on Disability (NOD) in partnership with corporate members of its Leadership Council, convened their Policy Roundtable for a special meeting with U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh to discuss employment issues critical to people with disabilities.

Comprised of the leading disability organizations from across the country, NOD’s Policy Roundtable members and corporate partners talked to Secretary Walsh and other Labor Department officials about phasing out 14(c) certificates, which allow employers to pay workers with disabilities a sub-minimum wage. The group also discussed enforcing the Section 503-rule change for federal contractors, which sets a 7% target for disability workforce representation.

NOD Chairman, Gov. Tom Ridge, leads discussion with representatives from disability organizations
Photo of 2018 Policy Roundtable meeting, with NOD Chairman Emeritus, Gov. Tom Ridge, and representatives from disability organizations.

On behalf of all participants, NOD’s leadership thanks Secretary Walsh for sharing his time with our Policy Roundtable members to discuss these critical issues regarding the fair and inclusive employment of Americans with disabilities.

We are grateful for the U.S. Department of Labor’s attention to and engagement with these policy and legislative concerns of the disability community.

Roundtable participants gathered at a conference table
Photo of 2018 Policy Roundtable participants gathered at a conference table

The following national disability rights organizations attended the Policy Roundtable meeting:

  • National Organization on Disability: Luke Visconti, NOD Board Chair and Founder, DiversityInc; Carol Glazer, President; Charles Catherine, Director, Corporate and Government Relations; Josef Pevsner, Senior Manager, Research & Innovation Programs; and Charlotte Ohl, Executive Assistant to the President.
  • American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR):  Barbara Merrill, Chief Executive Officer ·
  • Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE): Julie J. Christensen, LMSW, PhD, Executive Director
  • Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD): Cindy Smith, Director of Public Policy
  • Autism Society of America: Kim Musheno, Vice President, Public Policy
  • National Association of the Deaf (NAD): Howard Rosenblum, Chief Executive Officer
  • National Council on Independent Living (NCIL): Jessica Podesva, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy
  • National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS): Bart Devon, Senior Director, Public Policy
  • Ridge Policy Group: Mark Holman, Partner; Becky Wolfkiel, Director of Federal Affairs; Zaida Ricker, Senior Associate; and Charlie Moffat, Legislative Assistant
  • Judith Heumann: Disability advocate

NOD Leadership Council members in attendance included:

  • Charter Communications: Rhonda Nesmith Crichlow, Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer; NOD Director
  • The Coca-Cola Company: Jessica Zielke; Group Director Federal and Diplomatic Government Relation
  • Elevance Health: Merrill Friedman, RVP, Inclusive Policy & Advocacy
  • The Hershey Company: Alicia Petross; Chief Diversity Officer
  • L’Oréal USA: Nicholas Iadevaio, Vice President Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Toyota North America: Javier Moreno, Chief of Staff, Office of the President & CEO

Federal officials in attendance included:

  • Secretary Martin Walsh, U.S. Dept. of Labor
  • Allison Zelman, Chief of Staff, U.S. Dept. of Labor
  • John Towle, Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Dept. of Labor
  • Peach Soltris, Counselor to the Secretary, U.S. Dept. of Labor
  • Taryn Williams, Assistant Secretary for Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), U.S. Dept. of Labor
  • Jenny Yang, Director of Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), U.S. Dept. of Labor
  • Kristen Garcia, Chief of Staff for Wage and Hour Division (WHD), U.S. Dept. of Labor

In 2018, NOD spearheaded the Policy Roundtable, convening the leading the nation’s leading disability rights organizations to speak with a unified voice on issues critical to ensuring meaningful and equitable employment for the 57 million Americans with disabilities.

Focus Atlanta – Hiring Diversity

Tuesday, February 6, 2023

In a recent interview with Focus Atlanta, NOD Chairman Luke Visconti discusses the increase in employment of people with disabilities during the Pandemic, as well as the tapering off of that success as the Pandemic has eased. 

Watch the interview to learn about why self-ID rates of employees with disabilities have recently decreased and what employers can do to help these employees feel comfortable in the workplace. 

Original post at

Navigating Workforce More Challenging For Those With Disabilities, Advocates Say

modernized handicapped sign is affixed to a door at the The Mall at Millenia in Orlando, Fla.

Originally posted January 31 2023 on by Scripps National News

Remote work has opened up more opportunities for people with disabilities but as more companies adopt hybrid work schedules or require people to return to the office, disability advocates are worried about losing the gains made during the pandemic.

They say a big concern is people not feeling comfortable telling their employers about their disability.

“Self-disclosure rates are going down, which to me indicates a diminishing of trust that people don’t trust their employer,” said Luke Visconti, chairman of the National Organization on Disability.

A new report from the National Organization on Disability shows companies tracking retention of people with disabilities are reporting a 40% turnover rate.

The rate of people disclosing their disability decreased by 11% in 2022. It decreased by 15% the year before that.

“It’s not about doing something special for people with disabilities, it’s about being nice, and that transfers to everything you’re doing. Your customers, your suppliers, your investors,” said Visconti.

Disability advocates say it’s on companies, not workers, to build a relationship that will make someone feel comfortable disclosing their disability.

“In my experience of over 40 years in these companies, there’s no downside to this. There’s all upside,” said Doug Conant, a board member with the National Organization on Disability. “And these people are dying to contribute. All we need to do is give them the proper opportunity, and make sure the companies are prepared to follow up and deliver that opportunity consistently.”

Advocates say disabled workers looking for a job can look for signs on a company’s website that indicate it would be a good environment for someone with a disability.

Original post at

Recent Hiring Gains For People With Disabilities Likely To Be Short Lived If Employees Don’t Feel Comfortable Disclosing Their Disability

New Report from National Organization on Disability Details Troubling Trends Within Corporate America; Findings Available for Download

NEW YORK (February 3, 2023) – Despite the recent surge of employment for people with disabilities, due to remote working, a new report released by the National Organization on Disability (NOD), finds those higher employment rates do not tell the entire story when 59% of companies tracking retention of people with disabilities reported a 40% turnover rate.

The 2022 NOD Employment Tracker report, part of a multi-year survey of hundreds of major employers that collectively employ more than 10 million people, reveals that while much progress has been made to improve disability workforce inclusion practices, key metrics like Self-ID tracking rates continue to decline year after year. This trend will likely continue unless employers can create a work environment that allows employees to feel comfortable disclosing their disabilities.

“The report card for disability management in large corporations is measured by Self-ID rates,” said NOD Chairperson Luke Visconti.  “Not only are federal contractors — which employ 25% of America’s workforce — required to track and report Self-ID rates, the rates also provide an insight into how inclusive a company’s culture is and whether employees possess the trust and psychological safety to ‘come out ’ with a disability. Self-ID rates have decreased by 15 percent and 11 percent over a two-year period (2021 and 2022, respectively) and only 72 percent of companies track Self-ID rates for employees with disabilities.  This declining trend is one that we are working hard to reverse in the future for all people with visible and non-visible disabilities.”

In its 10th year, the NOD Employment Tracker, the only free assessment tool that helps companies better understand how their key business practices correlate to improved talent outcomes related to hiring, retention and tenure, helps employers to make disability inclusion part of their overall business strategy and to find the right talent while removing employment barriers for good. According to this latest report, companies that not only track Self-ID rates, but other talent outcome metrics such as promotions of employees with disabilities; improved accessibility from the start of the hiring process; rates of job applications with disabilities; and having a C-level leader disclose their own disability, revealed self-identification rates three times higher than those that only examined Self-ID.

“It’s important to note that while the simple act of measuring does not in itself produce higher Self-ID rates, it does reveal the value a company places on improving at disability inclusion in their workforce,” said NOD President Carol Glazer.  “Employees notice these visible signs and can trust that their employer is indeed ‘walking the talk.’  I would encourage all employers to take advantage of our Employment Tracker to access how they benchmark against participating companies and receive the information they need to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.”

NOD has also kept a pulse on the area of mental health. While companies know this is an area of great concern, they are still in the formative stages of providing the support necessary to be successful in providing employees with the appropriate tools and resources.  Report findings show an increase in companies considering adding mental health ambassadors to their workforce and hiring consultants to educate their employees about this significant topic.

Visconti added, “We know that most corporations are not intentionally trying to exclude people with disabilities from the workforce.  However, we do know from the data we collect in our Employment Tracker survey that all companies are not at the same level of competency. The Tracker survey is open right now, it’s free and you get a free score card — yet we will only have on average 300 companies who take the survey annually.  If your company is not taking the Employment Tracker, you have no excuse for professing ignorance.”

The Employment Tracker, powered by Talmetrix, ranks any size organization in six disability and veterans’ inclusion focus areas including strategy, talent outcome metrics, climate and culture, talent sourcing, people practices and workplace tools and accessibility. The deadline to take the 2023 Employment Tracker and qualify for the NOD Leading Disability Employer Seal Award and the 2023 DiversityInc Top 50 is March 10, 2023.  All participating companies receive a Tracker Scorecard to develop plans and priorities for improving employment practices and policies.

To download a free copy of the complete NOD Employment Tracker report, click here.

NOD Appoints Prudential Head of U.S. Customer Service Roger Putnam to Board of Directors

Roger Putnam Headshot

NEW YORK (January 24, 2023) – The National Organization on Disability (NOD) today announced Roger Putnam, Head of U.S. Customer Service at Prudential, as the newest member to join its Board of Directors. Mr. Putnam, a champion, and advocate for disability rights, will join 15 other civic and corporate leaders from across the country working to increase employment opportunities for Americans living with disabilities.

“The National Organization on Disability is proud to have Roger join our Board of Directors,” said NOD Chairman Luke Visconti. “The disability rights landscape has changed dramatically since our founding in 1982 and we are proud of the great strides we have made in advancing our mission of putting individuals with disabilities to work. Building on that success takes talented individuals such as Roger joining our team. His experience and commitment to championing people with disabilities will help us continue to advance our mission of disability inclusion in the workplace.”

Roger Putnam has been a long-time champion to create opportunities for people with disabilities and led a first-of-its-kind neurodiverse talent program within Prudential’s U.S. Contact Center. He’s a passionate advocate for fully inclusive workplaces that support the development and advancement of diverse talent.

“I’m honored to join the Board of Directors for the National Organization on Disability,” said Roger Putnam. “I believe strongly that Prudential employees should mirror the diversity of the customers we serve and I look forward to bringing that passion for inclusivity to the National Organization on Disability.”

 Roger joins the NOD Board with 30 years of transformative leadership and a unique background of experiences at the intersection of technology, financial services and insurance.  He joined Prudential in 2019 where he is responsible for delivering a world-class customer service experience across all of Prudential’s lines of business as the head of the U.S. Customer Service.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. He resides in Simsbury, Connecticut with his wife Lisa and their two children.

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 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

Funds Support Efforts to Increase Employment Opportunities for Americans with Disabilities



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

Like John Fetterman, I suffered a stroke. Watching him isn’t ‘painful’ – it’s inspiring.

His performance was a courageous example of a person rising above, willing to suffer indignities from people trying to take advantage of his disability as well as simply cruel and ignorant people.

Luke Visconti, Opinion contributor
I was completely ignorant about strokes and stroke recovery – until I had one at age 54.

I had no precedent conditions. My stroke – not unlike the one suffered by Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman five months ago – came out of the blue.

Living in Florida, I can’t say I have been closely tracking Fetterman’s brave campaign against celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz. But I sure took notice last week of their first televised debate and the shameful way the Oz campaign – and many of those who support him – have belittled and bullied Fetterman.

I learned that Oz’s senior communications adviser has said, “If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, then maybe he wouldn’t have had a major stroke and wouldn’t be in the position of having to lie about it constantly.”

I’ve also learned that his campaign, upon Fetterman initially declining to debate Oz in September as he worked to regain his ability to speak with authority, released what is clearly a mocking list of concessions they would make to get Fetterman to debate. It’s shameful.

Fetterman is stronger than most

As I watched Fetterman’s debate performance, I did so with great pride and admiration.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Fetterman is clearly stronger than most people. Average people are often crushed by the circumstances he’s fighting to rise above. I don’t think it was “painful” to watch him in his debate, as some have suggested. It was a courageous example of a person rising above an obstacle in his path, willing to suffer indignities from people trying to take advantage of his disability as well as simply cruel and ignorant people.

Democratic Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman participates in the Senate debate in Harrisburg on Oct. 25, 2022.

Equating an auditory processing disorder, or what others might describe as aphasia, with a lack of intelligence or cognition is commonplace and bigotry. This type of bullying cannot be accepted. The fact that anyone would leverage a widely held misconception for political gain, especially a medical doctor, is disgusting.

The sad truth is that ignorant criticism of Fetterman’s disabilities are bound to intimidate others with disabilities. The loss of their productivity already has a demonstrable impact on our gross domestic product. People with disabilities have the lowest labor participation rate of any group.

At the National Organization on Disability, we collect data from hundreds of companies to help improve human capital management of people with disabilities. Our mission is to help people with disabilities who want work to find it – and to help their employers maximize the potential, productivity and innovation of their entire workforce.

Helping people with disabilities move forward

Inhospitable work environments, transit and building facilities as well as belittling or bullying people with disabilities cause low labor participation rates of people with disabilities. It also destabilizes families. Gaining an advantage by expressing an “opinion” borne of ignorance (purposeful or not) is not harmless – it’s cruel and inexcusable.

It takes hard work to overcome a stroke, especially if there are visible signs and/or pain. It’s not hard to imagine why many people give up, and indeed, half of stroke survivors don’t return to work.

With almost 200,000 Americans under 65 having a stroke every year, this is not only a tragedy for those people and their families; it’s a major economic problem.

John Fetterman has demonstrated himself to be a fighter – a man with courage, drive and a remarkable lack of self-pity. He also must have a great support system around him, especially a supportive and loving family. I couldn’t have come back without my family, especially my wife, and my then chief operating officer, who is now my CEO.

No matter how one feels about his political opinions, I think having leaders who have overcome substantial challenges with enough humility to expose themselves to public scrutiny encourage and embolden others who face challenges. Even if the Senate candidate doesn’t win on Nov. 8, Pennsylvanians should be proud of Lt. Gov. Fetterman – a leader with grit.

People have told me that I’m a nicer person since my stroke. I certainly know I’m more perceptive and empathetic. Don’t we all need more empathy?

Luke Visconti, the founder of DiversityInc., is chairman of the National Organization on Disability. 

NOD President Carol Glazer Recognized  as One of Women’s eNews 21st Century Honorees for 2022

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

NEW YORK, NY (October 26, 2022) – Today Carol Glazer was named one of Women’s eNews ‘21 Leaders for the 21st Century’ honorees for 2022 for her innovative leadership while serving as president of the National Organization on Disability (NOD), which champions disability-inclusive diversity in the workplace, marketplace, and communities.  Ms. Glazer, along with 20 other honorees, received the award on behalf of NOD at a Gala held at The United Nations in New York City.

Carol seated speaking into a microphone     Carol posing with award winners

In addition to celebrating this year’s honorees, the Gala included, for the first time in Women’s eNews’ 22-year history, a series of panel discussions addressing some of the most important issues impacting women and girls today including disability, health, business, diversity, leadership, and philanthropy.  Glazer, along with other industry leaders and disability activists, participated on a disability awareness panel entitled Redefining Disability.

“Women’s eNews selected these 21 individuals and organizations for their unwavering and pioneering support for gender equality from the health, technology and business sectors to the voting booth,” says Lori Sokol, PhD., Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief.

“I am truly honored to be recognized by Women’s eNews, especially during National Disability Employment Awareness Month.” said NOD President Carol Glazer. “I am a firm believer in emphasizing what individuals with disabilities can do instead of what we can’t do, especially as it relates to employment.  It is society’s obligation to make sure everyone can be an active and contributing participant in the world we live in.”

Under her leadership as NOD President, Ms. Glazer has transformed NOD into the country’s premier resource and ambassador on disability inclusion with an employment-focused agenda. As a result, NOD partners with corporate America to create new career opportunities for the sixty percent of Americans with disabilities, including our wounded veterans, that are not in the workforce. She continues to be an advocate and change leader for Americans with disabilities and all underrepresented groups, working diligently to foster greater opportunities to be part of our culture and community.

Ms. Glazer shared the vision for the future of disability inclusion: “Our mission is to change the paradigm of people with disabilities from deficit requiring charity, to talent requiring opportunity.”

Finally, Ms. Glazer urged others to spark change, saying, “My call to action is two words: ’Come out!’ Let people know you have a disability. It demystifies and destigmatizes disability.”

For more information about Women’s eNews, the award-winning, non-profit global news organization, click here.


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

For Disabled Workers, a Tight Labor Market Opens New Doors

With Covid prompting more employers to consider remote arrangements, employment has soared among adults with disabilities.

Kathryn Wiltz, wearing glasses, looks straight at the camera from the doorway of her home.
Before the pandemic, Kathryn Wiltz repeatedly asked her employer to let her work from home because of her disability, but was denied. Credit: Sarah Rice for The New York Times

Ben Casselman |Oct. 25, 2022

The strong late-pandemic labor market is giving a lift to a group often left on the margins of the economy: workers with disabilities.

Employers, desperate for workers, are reconsidering job requirements, overhauling hiring processes and working with nonprofit groups to recruit candidates they might once have overlooked. At the same time, companies’ newfound openness to remote work has led to opportunities for people whose disabilities make in-person work — and the taxing daily commute it requires — difficult or impossible.

As a result, the share of disabled adults who are working has soared in the past two years, far surpassing its prepandemic level and outpacing gains among people without disabilities.

Share employed, change since Jan. 2020

Note: Includes workers between 18 and 64 years old. Data is not seasonally adjusted. Source: Current Population Survey, via IPUMS. By The New York Times


In interviews and surveys, people with disabilities report that they are getting not only more job offers, but better ones, with higher pay, more flexibility and more openness to providing accommodations that once would have required a fight, if they were offered at all.

“The new world we live in has opened the door a little bit more,” said Gene Boes, president and chief executive of the Northwest Center, a Seattle organization that helps people with disabilities become more independent. “The doors are opening wider because there’s just more demand for labor.”

Samir Patel, who lives in the Seattle area, has a college degree and certifications in accounting. But he also has autism spectrum disorder, which has made it difficult for him to find steady work. He has spent most of his career in temporary jobs found through staffing agencies. His longest job lasted a little over a year; many lasted only a few months.

This summer, however, Mr. Patel, 42, got a full-time, permanent job as an accountant for a local nonprofit group. The job brought a 30 percent raise, along with retirement benefits, more predictable hours and other perks. Now he is thinking about buying a home, traveling and dating — steps that seemed impossible without the stability of a steady job.

“It’s a boost in confidence,” he said. “There were times when I felt like I was behind.”

Mr. Patel, whose disability affects his speech and can make conversation difficult, worked with an employment coach at the Northwest Center to help him request accommodations both during the interview process and once he started the job. And while Mr. Patel usually prefers to work in the office, his new employer also allows him to work remotely when he needs to — a big help on days when he finds the sensory overload of the office overwhelming.
“If I have my bad days, I just pick up the laptop and work from home,” he said.

Workers with disabilities have long seen their fortunes ebb and flow with the economy. Federal law prohibits most employers from discriminating against people with disabilities, and it requires them to make reasonable accommodations. But research has found that discrimination remains common: One 2017 study found that job applications that disclosed a disability were 26 percent less likely to receive interest from prospective employers. And even when they can find jobs, workers with disabilities frequently encounter barriers to success, from bathroom doors they cannot open without assistance to hostile co-workers.

Workers with disabilities — like other groups that face obstacles to employment, such as those with criminal records — tend to benefit disproportionately from strong job markets, when employers have more of an incentive to seek out untapped pools of talent. But when recessions hit, those opportunities quickly dry up.

“We have a last-in, first-out labor market, and disabled people are often among the last in and the first out,” said Adam Ozimek, chief economist at the Economic Innovation Group, a Washington research organization.

Remote work, however, has the potential to break that cycle, at least for some workers. In a new study, Mr. Ozimek found that employment had risen for workers with disabilities across industries as the labor market improved, consistent with the usual pattern. But it has improved especially rapidly in industries and occupations where remote work is more common. And many economists believe that the shift toward remote work, unlike the red-hot labor market, is likely to prove lasting.

More than 35 percent of disabled Americans ages 18 to 64 had jobs in September. That was up from 31 percent just before the pandemic and is a record in the 15 years the government has kept track. Among adults without disabilities, 78 percent had jobs, but their employment rates have only just returned to the level before the pandemic.

“Disabled adults have seen employment rates recover much faster,” Mr. Ozimek said. “That’s good news, and it’s important to understand whether that’s a temporary thing or a permanent thing. And my conclusion is that not only is it a permanent thing, but it’s going to improve.”

Before the pandemic, Kathryn Wiltz repeatedly asked her employer to let her work from home because of her disability, a chronic autoimmune disorder whose symptoms include pain and severe fatigue. Her requests were denied.

Kathryn Wiltz, wearing a gray graphic T-shirt, sits at a desk in front of a laptop.
Ms. Wiltz’s new job allows her to work from home permanently. Credit…Sarah Rice for The New York Time

When the pandemic hit, however, the hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich., where Ms. Wiltz worked in the medical billing department sent her home along with many of her colleagues. Last month, she started a job with a new employer, an insurance company, in which she will be permanently able to work remotely.

Being able to work from home was a high priority for Ms. Wiltz, 31, because the treatments she receives suppress her immune system, leaving her vulnerable to the coronavirus. And even if that risk subsides, she said, she finds in-person work taxing: Getting ready for work, commuting to the office and interacting with colleagues all drain energy reserves that are thin to begin with. As she struggled through one particularly difficult day recently, she said, she reflected on how hard it would have been to need to go into the office.

“It would have been almost impossible,” she said. “I would have pushed myself and I would have pushed my body, and there’s a very real possibility that I would have ended up in the hospital.”

There are also subtler benefits. Ms. Wiltz can get the monthly drug infusions she receives to treat her disorder during her lunch break, rather than taking time off work. She can turn down the lights to stave off migraines. She doesn’t have to worry that her colleagues are staring at her and wondering what is wrong. All of that, she said, makes her a more productive employee.

“It makes me a lot more comfortable and able to think more clearly and do a better job anyway,” she said.
The sudden embrace of remote work during the pandemic was met with some exasperation from some disability-rights leaders, who had spent years trying, mostly without success, to persuade employers to offer more flexibility to their employees.

“Remote work and remote-work options are something that our community has been advocating for for decades, and it’s a little frustrating that for decades corporate America was saying it’s too complicated, we’ll lose productivity, and now suddenly it’s like, sure, let’s do it,” said Charles-Edouard Catherine, director of corporate and government relations for the National Organization on Disability.

Still, he said the shift is a welcome one. For Mr. Catherine, who is blind, not needing to commute to work means not coming home with cuts on his forehead and bruises on his leg. And for people with more serious mobility limitations, remote work is the only option.

Many employers are now scaling back remote work and are encouraging or requiring employees to return to the office. But experts expect remote and hybrid work to remain much more common and more widely accepted than it was before the pandemic. That may make it easier for disabled employees to continue to work remotely.

The pandemic may also reshape the legal landscape. In the past, employers often resisted offering remote work as an accommodation to disabled workers, and judges rarely required them to do so. But that may change now that so many companies were able to adapt to remote work in 2020, said Arlene S. Kanter, director of the Disability Law and Policy Program at the Syracuse University law school.

“If other people can show that they can perform their work well at home, as they did during Covid, then people with disabilities, as a matter of accommodation, shouldn’t be denied that right,” Ms. Kanter said.

Ms. Kanter and other experts caution that not all people with disabilities want to work remotely. And many jobs cannot be done from home. A disproportionate share of workers with disabilities are employed in retail and other industries where remote work is uncommon. Despite recent gains, people with disabilities are still far less likely to have jobs, and more likely to live in poverty, than people without them.

“When we say it’s historically high, that’s absolutely true, but we don’t want to send the wrong message and give ourselves a pat on the back,” Mr. Catherine said. “Because we’re still twice as likely to be unemployed and we’re still underpaid when we’re lucky enough to be employed.”

Disability issues are likely to become more prominent in coming years because the pandemic has left potentially millions of adults dealing with a disability. A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimated that close to two million working-age Americans had become disabled because of long Covid.

Employers that don’t find ways to accommodate workers with disabilities — whether through remote work or other adjustments — are going to continue to struggle to find employees, said Mason Ameri, a Rutgers University business professor who studies disability.

“Employers have to shape up,” he said. “Employers have to pivot. Otherwise this labor shortage may be more permanent.”

Ben Casselman writes about economics, with a particular focus on stories involving data. He previously reported for FiveThirtyEight and The Wall Street Journal.

2022 Leading Disability Employers


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
  • 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

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