Response to COVID-19/Coronavirus
The National Organization on Disability is closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19/Coronavirus. During this time, we remain committed to ensuring the well-being of everyone in our community. Some immediate measures we have taken as an organization are to:
- Cancel our in-person events in the months of March and April and transition to virtual gatherings.
- Ensure our staff are working remotely for as long as necessary. At this time, we know one of the most effective and powerful measures is to adopt social distancing and we are fully supportive of this strategy.
- Remain in close contact with our partners and community members. We understand that COVID-19/Coronavirus may have a greater impact on persons with disabilities and remain committed to doing our part to ensure that persons with disabilities in the workforce and in the community are supported during this time.
Our leadership team will be in touch to share any changes in our regular calendar of events as and if applicable. We will appropriately account for all new developments, so as to safeguard all our clients, funders, partners and staff members.
The National Organization on Disability
September 09, 2019 | BEST PRACTICES: Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
When it comes to college recruiting, there are several common missteps or “missed steps” that employers commonly make in terms of recruiting students with disabilities. Felicia Nurmsen, managing director of employer services for the National Organization on Disability (NOD), says the thing she hears most from employers is that they want to understand how to find this talent.
“However,” Nurmsen says, “results from our 2019 Disability Employment Tracker show that while there was some growth in university recruitment, through NOD’s Campus to Careers program, we know that often there is a disconnect on campus with disability services and careers services.”
As a result, she adds, students with disabilities—particularly those who require accommodations—are not fully participating in the services offered through the career services offices and are not informed of the employment opportunities with companies interested in them as a large untapped talent pool.
“The common mistake is for companies to assume that they have access to students with disabilities through their existing contacts on campus,” Nurmsen says.
“Companies need to inform career services they are interested in hiring students with disabilities and expect to interview them while they are on campus.”
She says that having a recruiter with a disability on the campus recruitment team is also a clear indication the company hires people with disabilities. Furthermore, it allows students with disabilities to feel comfortable disclosing their disability and asking for an accommodation, if needed.
Nurmsen recommends that employers also provide training to their recruiters and staff on interview skills, disability awareness, and accommodations to empower them to feel confident in all interview situations.
“Recruiters must understand there are some guidelines on how to handle certain situations,” Nurmsen says. “Clearly establishing fit for a position must be their top priority with all candidates—including students with disabilities.”
She explains that if companies are not working with career services to distinguish students with disabilities as an important diversity segment for their business, they will miss out on this talent pool entirely.
“Research shows that the number of students with disabilities attending college has doubled in the last 10 years, with more than 40 percent of young adults with disabilities attending a college or university within four years of leaving high school,” she says.
However, Nurmsen continues, this statistic, paired with data from the 2016 American Community Survey showing adults with a disability and a college degree have an employment rate that is 10 percentage points lower than all adults with a high school diploma or less, and 27 percentage points lower than all adults with a college degree.
“Clearly, this indicates that a strong campus recruitment program will allow employers to take advantage of this large untapped talent pool,” she points out.
“The benefits of this targeted recruitment strategy continue to be highlighted as a best/emerging business practice.”
It makes good sense. Nurmsen points to a NOD/Kessler Foundation survey and recent Accenture research that indicate companies realized several benefits when hiring people with disabilities. These include:
- A larger labor pool;
- Lower turnover;
- Reduced recruiting costs;
- Positive diversity impact; and
- Better retention rates.
NOD’s 2019 Disability Employment Tracker data show that the two most effective channels for disability recruiting are community partners and existing channels, such as recruitment agencies, websites, and others.
“On the other hand, use of job boards has gone up 5 percent, but the success rate stayed pretty flat at 48 percent reporting they hired through this source,” Nurmsen explains.
“University hiring is also interesting. There was some growth in use—up 4 percent to 54 percent—with 57 percent reporting they hired through this source.”
Still, even with college recruiting for students with disabilities growing, many employers struggle with outreach and recruitment, and require support from organizations like NOD to help identify the best local recruitment resources, with plan design and employee education, and provide overall support.
“This challenge may be mitigated by colleges and universities understanding the value of this sought-after population for employers,” Nurmsen says.
It is also important to understand what students with disabilities want from the employers they are considering for employment. This includes:
- A clear understanding of the specific requirements their roles;
- Support and accommodations that are easily requested and provided;
- The ability to see themselves in the existing employee population; and
- Opportunities for growth.
“Salary is important,” Nurmsen says, “but the overall experience, values, and culture need to align with their own values.”
Watch Highlights: “Shifting the Talent Paradigm: Inclusive Cultures for a Modern Workforce”
September, 2019, Washington, D.C. – More than 200 diversity and inclusion leaders from companies around the country gathered at the National Organization on Disability’s (NOD) Annual Forum and Dinner, entitled Shifting the Talent Paradigm: Inclusive Culture for a Modern Workforce. Sponsored by Lead Partners PwC and Spectrum, the all-day forum explored the best change management tactics that corporate leaders can deploy to create a more diverse and inclusive culture. Senior managers heard from executives and experts on the most effect tools and tactics to create an inclusive culture, as well as the leadership skills and personal attributes needed to lead a culture change.
Corporate Leadership Council Members: See more video and access exclusive resources in the Members’ Only Portal.
Not a member of the Council? Find out about the many benefits of joining today!
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES (IDPWD):
Since 1945, the United Nations (UN) has outlined and reiterated its commitment to calling for the creation of inclusive, accessible and sustainable societies and communities – most notably with the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Over time, the UN has honed its focus on promoting the well-being and welfare of people living with disabilities, and in 1992 called for an international day of celebration for people living with disabilities to be held on December 3 each year.
NOD Founder and first Chairman, Alan Reich, played an important role in the UN’s focus on disability issues, including as the first wheelchair user to ever speak before the General Assembly in 1981.
The International Day of People with Disabilities is not owned by the UN – it is owned by everyone: people, organisations, agencies, charities, places of learning – all of whom have a vital role to play in identifying and addressing discrimination, marginalization, exclusion and inaccessibility that many people living with disabilities face. International Day of People with Disabilities is one day on the international calendar, yet it symbolizes the actions we should take every day, in order to create diverse and accepting communities.
WHAT IS IDPWD FOR?
- Reflection – to look at our own past individual and collective actions, and to identify our goals for the future;
- Celebration – to recognize and value the diversity of our global community, and to cherish the role we all play, regardless of our abilities;
- Learning – to understand and learn from the experiences of people with living with a disability;
- It is a day for optimism – to look towards the future and the creation of a world where a person is not characterized by their disabilities, but by their abilities;
- Action – where all people, organisations, agencies and charities not only show their support for International Day of People with Disabilities, but take on a commitment to create a world characterized by equal human rights.
How you can get involved:
• Use #IDPWD, #thefutureisaccessible, and #LookCloser to engage in the global conversation on social media. Share your stories as people with disabilities and allies at work or in the community
By Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY | Published 9:56 p.m. ET Oct. 7, 2019
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to not hear Domino’s petition on whether its website is accessible to the disabled is considered a loss for the pizza giant and a win for disability advocates.
The case was one of a long list of those the Supreme Court announced it wouldn’t hear, and as is usual the high court made no comment in declining to take the case. Monday was the Supreme Court’s first day of arguments after its summer break.
The order to not hear the case keeps in place a January ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that Domino’s and other retailers must make its online services accessible. It also means the case is expected to go to trial.
“Although Domino’s is disappointed that the Supreme Court will not review this case, we look forward to presenting our case at the trial court,” Domino’s said in a statement posted on its website Monday. “We also remain steadfast in our belief in the need for federal standards for everyone to follow in making their websites and mobile apps accessible.”
Photo courtesy of Domino’s Pizza
Guillermo Robles, who is blind, claimed in U.S. District Court in California that the pizza maker violated the federal disability requirements because he couldn’t order a pizza on his iPhone: The website didn’t work with his screen-reader software.
“In today’s tech-savvy world, blind and visually-impaired people have the ability to access websites and mobile applications using keyboards in conjunction with screen access software that vocalizes the visual information found on a computer screen or displays the content on a refreshable Braille display,” the lawsuit argued.
In January, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Domino’s and other retailers must make its online services accessible.
Robles’ attorney, Joe Manning, said in a statement to CNBC Monday that the Supreme Court’s decision was “the right call on every level.”
“The blind and visually impaired must have access to websites and apps to fully and equally participate in modern society – something nobody disputes,” he said. “This outcome furthers that critical objective for them and is a credit to our society.”
Domino’s along with the National Retail Federation and Retail Litigation Center urged the Supreme Court to hear the case because the appeal court’s ruling “stretched the definition too far by deciding that websites and mobile applications must be judged as public accommodations rather than just considered as one of many ways in which a consumer might access a retailer’s offerings.”
According to the pizza company, a customized pizza can be ordered in-store, by phone, text, social media and voice-activated devices like Alexa and Google Home. Domino’s says it is developing a proprietary voice-ordering digital assistant, Dom.
Domino’s said in its statement that a nationwide standard would “eliminate the tsunami of website accessibility litigation that has been filed by plaintiffs’ lawyers exploiting the absence of a standard for their own benefit.”
Michele C. Meyer-Shipp, Esq. is a diversity leader, who has built a track record of success by using D&I strategies to drive business results at Prudential Financial. As vice president and chief diversity officer, Michele is responsible for leading and directing all diversity initiatives for Prudential and ensuring ongoing compliance with federal and state equal employment opportunity/affirmative action laws. And, as a person with a disability and parent to a child with a disability, Michele is working hard to promote disability inclusion in the workforce, including serving on the National Organization on Disability’s (NOD) Board of Directors.
The National Organization on Disability recently sat down with Michele to find out what drives her passion for workplace inclusion—and learn more about her strategies for success.
1. What led you to choose a career in diversity inclusion?
I began my career as an attorney, specializing in employment and labor issues, and was later appointed to serve as the lead equal employment opportunity and affirmative action officer for the State of New Jersey by its then governor. So, when this job as Chief Diversity Officer became available, it was a natural fit for me. I have a passion for equality in all shapes and forms, am an advocate and work tirelessly for the underserved. Working to raise awareness of workplace diversity and inclusion issues, and being a catalyst for change, has been the opportunity of a lifetime.
2. Why has Prudential made disability a central part of its inclusion efforts?
Prudential is proud to be known as a leader in the disability inclusion space. We were recently informed that Prudential’s percentage of employees who have self-identified as having a disability is above the average found in NOD’s annual corporate survey, the Disability Employment Tracker™, which we can attribute in large part to our “Count Me In” campaign. “Count Me In” is about building awareness, trust, and appreciation, and these are the same ingredients that are important to engaging our workforce in general. “Count Me In” has helped some of our employees find their voice and share their full identity in a way they had not previously done at work.
We have a disability strategy in place and have partnered with NOD on a Disability Inclusion Accelerator™ briefing, which allowed us to go deeper in our benchmarking, assess progress against our plans, and identify new actions we need to incorporate into our future plans. Prudential is deeply committed to this work, and we are not resting on our success – we are looking to raise the bar even higher.
3. What elements of your strategy have been most instrumental in building a culture of inclusion at Prudential?
We have done a lot to communicate our commitment to disability inclusion – our ADAPT Business Resource Group is very active and has held numerous events to create awareness about disability in the workplace.
We track a wide-array of metrics that help us tell an evidenced-based story – we have built the business case and secured the commitment and investment needed to make change across the organization.
Also, I believe that the engagement of multiple leaders in this journey has been extremely instrumental in building a culture of inclusion at Prudential. This includes both senior business leaders and partners across corporate HR (Staffing, Employee Relations, Learning and Development and Health & Wellness to name a few). We have been able to bring these partners to the table to help us improve our ability to provide accommodations – and they all recognize the business case for creating an inclusive environment that allows Prudential to attract and retain the best talent.
4. What are you most proud of regarding your efforts at Prudential and elsewhere?
One of the things I am most proud of is the executive level support we’ve gotten for D&I efforts across the company. The high level of real-time commitment to the work of D&I by our senior leaders and corporate partners is extraordinary. They understand that D&I is not merely the work of the D&I professional, but the work of ALL. We have a terrific team of dedicated people working to drive inclusion and diversity and are making progress.
I am also proud of external recognition that Prudential has received for its diversity and inclusion efforts. While it is evidence of our commitment and progress, it is not why we do it. We do it to attract, hire and retain the best talent and to create a fair and inclusive work environment.
5. What drew you to want to serve on the board of the National Organization on Disability?
As a leader and change agent, it was a chance to advocate for those in need. Being on the board is an opportunity to lend my knowledge, skills and experience to help create awareness and more opportunities in terms of recruiting, retaining and providing an inclusive work environment for people with disabilities.
As a person with a disability, and the mom of a son with a disability, it is personally meaningful for me to support this community.
CO-PRESENTED BY THE NOD CORPORATE LEADERSHIP COUNCIL & CAREER OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES (COSD)
On November 17, 2016, leaders and practitioners in campus recruiting, diversity & inclusion, human resources and compliance gathered in Cambridge, MA for Reimagine Recruiting. The annual NOD Corporate Leadership Council forum offered attendees an exclusive opportunity to network with peers and learn about leading practices in recruiting and hiring college students and recent graduates with disabilities.
Attendees gained insights from prominent employers, including NOD Corporate Leadership Council member EY, JPMorgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, State Street and ULTRA Testing, as well as from the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services, Work Without Limits, and Working Mother. In addition, students with disabilities, student veterans, and college representatives shared ways employers can effectively tap into talent on campus.
Welcome remarks by NOD President Carol Glazer
Welcome from David D’Arcangelo, Director of Massachusetts Office of Disability
Welcome from Michael Stein, J.D., Ph.D., Executive Director, Harvard Law School Project on Disability
NOD Directors, John Quain and Luke Visconti of DiversityInc
Pete Rutigliano, Sirota and Barbara Spitzer, NOD present “A Data Driven Approach to Accelerating Disability Inclusion”
Reimagine Recruiting Attendees
Robert O’Brien, Lockheed Martin; Mark Estrada, State Street Bank; Andrea Shkane, JP Morgan Chase; and Lori Golden, EY speaking during “Disability Inclusive Diversity Roundtable Employer Discussion”
Sue Meirs, NOD moderates “Disability Inclusive: Diversity Roundtable Employer Discussion”
Keynote speaker Frank Kineavy, staff writer for DiversityInc and Villanova University Graduate
Carol Glazer, NOD, with Krista Carothers, Working Mother, presenting “Experiences of Disability in the Workplace”
Career Services and Disability Services Directors from Ball State, University of California Riverside, Southern Connecticut State University, and Northeastern University presenting at “Higher Education Best Practices” panel
Francisco Urena, Secretary of Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services during the “Veterans in the Workforce” panel
Doc Massard, Northrop Grumman, participates in the “Veterans in the Workforce” panel
Student Veterans Jessica Mack and Marshall Ireland speak during the “Veterans in the Workforce” panel
“Campus to Careers: A Boston Pilot” with Sue Meirs, NOD; Alan Muir, COSD; and Kathy Petkauskos, Work Without Limits
ULTRA Testing’s Brian King presenting on Aspergers inclusion during “Opportunity Makers: Employment and the Neurodiverse Workforce”
Dr. Ernst VanBergeijk, Lesley University, presents during panel discussion on “Finding and Developing Partnerships that Foster Employment for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities”
Dan Rivard and Kelsie Salas participate in “Finding and Developing Partnerships that Foster Employment for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities”
Jessica Mack speaks during Student Led Discussion Group “Authentic Answers to Unspoken Questions”
Kelly Molloy in “Authentic Answers to Unspoken Questions”
Justine Weatherman in “Authentic Answers to Unspoken Questions”
Alan Muir, COSD, with David D’Arcangelo, Director, Massachusetts Office of Disability
Margaret Ling, NOD’s Event & Administrative Associate, received a citation this week for her work while Vice Chair of City University of New York’s Coalition for Students with Disabilities (CCSD).
The citation is an acknowledgement of New York residents who dedicate their efforts to advocating and serving the disability community.
Michael Miller, Michael Simanowitz, and Aravella Simotas, representatives from the New York State Assembly, awarded Ms. Ling and the CCSD executive board members with the citation. In addition, Dr. Christopher Rosa, Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, City University of New York, was in attendance at the ADA anniversary event, held at Queens College.
Photo includes: Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and NOD’s Margaret Ling.
Photo includes: Michael Miller, Michael Simanowitz and Aravella Simotas of the New York State Assembly, with Samantha Wong, Chair of CCSD, and Dr. Christopher Rosa, Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, City University of New York.
Photo includes: Executive board and members of CCSD with members of New York State Assembly and Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, City University of New York.