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Kassandra and Nicole are twins.They have cerebral palsy and use wheelchairs to get around. They are two of more than 3,000 students who are graduating from Daytona State College this spring. It’s an accomplishment more and more people with disabilities are achieving.
In Florida, the number of graduates with disabilities has grown from 2,680 in the 2009-2010 school year to 3,681 in the 2013-2014 school year, according to data provided by the Florida College System.
The statewide trend mirrors the trend nationally, said Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disability. She
believes the increase is due to the creation and constant improvement of the special education system in K-12 schools. More of these students are also graduating from high school, at only an 8 percent lower rate than students without disabilities.
On a panel discussing Kroger’s new disabled worker program, Howard Green, deputy director, corporate programs for the National Organization on Disability, told an audience at the Warehouse Education and Research Council (WERC) annual conference in Orlando last week that at one Walgreens distribution center in Connecticut, more than 50% of the workers are disabled and - get this - there are some 40 deaf fork truck drivers….
A single executive in Kroger’s mid-south or Nashville region heard about these types of program, and challenged managers in the region to see if such a program could be launched, starting with a single major distribution center in Cleveland, TN. This facility was selected in part because at times Kroger has had recruitment challenges there, moving to a high level of case picking automation to compensate for a challenging local labor pool.
The National Organization on Disability (NOD) is making a corporate connection.
Headed in a new direction of corporate services, the organization’s endeavors are supported by a $1 million lead corporate grant from the Prudential Foundation….
“We’re changing a program that’s been funded by mainly philanthropy for the past five years, in which NOD has worked with a dozen Fortune 1,000 companies and we’ve helped them to hire more people with disabilities and better support those already in the workforce,” NOD President Carol Glazer told DiversityInc.
Recent rule changes by the U.S. Labor Department require nearly 50,000 companies who do business with the federal government to create a goal of having seven percent of their workforce comprised of people with disabilities, according to Glazer.
“Propelled by that, we’re taking [Corporate Services] and changing it into a social enterprise,” she said.
Grant will support a new social enterprise that addresses the disability employment gap by preparing people with disabilities for specific occupations and providing additional support services
The grant, provided through The Prudential Foundation, will help cover the start-up costs for Bridges to a Better Workforce, a new social enterprise launched by NOD to help prepare job seekers with disabilities for specific occupations and provide support services to ensure their success in the workplace. NOD anticipates that Bridges to a Better Workforce will serve more than 2,000 job seekers with disabilities by 2019.
“At Prudential, we are committed to using our resources to help underserved individuals achieve financial security,” said Lata Reddy, vice president of corporate social responsibility and president of The Prudential Foundation. “This grant will help people with disabilities, including veterans, prepare for and secure the high-quality job opportunities they need to strengthen their long-term economic outlook.”
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi discusses the remarkable leverage points for change as states seek to implement this legislation.
It has been almost 25 years since the Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law. Fully 70 percent of people with disabilities were out of the workforce back then. Tragically, today, that number is exactly the same despite the fact that the majority of people with disabilities want to work. Meanwhile, during that same time period, women and minorities made important progress. So, the gap in employment between people with and without disabilities has actually increased significantly over these years.
Why? Part of it is stigma. However, a big part is that literally billions of dollars of public investments have been poured down the toilet by continued support of failed programs. Indeed, 95 percent of people with disabilities who have gone on government benefits never got off them.
Trying to land a good job in New York City is tough for anyone. But if you have a disability, the challenges pile on. As part of WFUV’s Strike a Chord campaign on accessibility, Rob Palazzolo looks at what it takes to give everyone a shot at a career.
Annette Feliciano works at the Shake Shack in Battery Park City, and she is a dedicated worker. Just after Hurricane Sandy hit, the Shake Shack still had power—and somehow, she got there to start her shift. Of course, she acted like it was no big deal.
“It’s rough, but we made it.” said Feliciano. “We get there to work.”
Feliciano got her job through Jobpath, and organization that helps people with developmental disabilities find work. Ryan Finger was her case manager.
“I got to work with Annette for several months before the job search began, and during that time I got to know her as someone who has a really strong work ethic, who wants to have a job where she’s appreciated, where she can be kept busy,” said Finger.
Carol Glazer is the head of the National Organization on Disability. They have helped companies like Lowe’s home improvement stores hire up to 150 people with disabilities. And Glazer said these individuals have a lot to contribute to the workplace.
The National Organization on Disability (NOD) announced that Jeff Kellan, VP, Supply Chain Operations, Toys“R”Us, Inc. has been elected to its Board of Directors. The unanimous vote came at NOD’s Board of Directors meeting on February 25.
The National Organization on Disability’s Carol Glazer discusses the progress on providing opportunity to people with disabilities and the benefits of their contributions.
Twenty-two years ago, my first son Jacob was born with hydrocephalus, or water on the brain. Because of that and a series of medical complications early in Jacob’s life, he is both physically and intellectually disabled, and like most parents, I have been his advocate since his birth. For me this included, at a certain point in my career, making the decision to redirect my efforts from civil rights to disability rights, which meant living disability 24/7. It was not an easy decision, but it was the best one I could have made. It has meant working with wonderful colleagues to help turn the wheel of progress for people like Jacob, so they have the lifetime opportunities they deserve and have every ability to fulfill.
To be fair, this wheel was already turning before I joined in the push. In 1973, just over four decades ago, Congress passed the Rehab Act, which prevented discrimination in hiring by any business accepting federal dollars. It established for the first time, the principle that the exclusion and segregation of people with disabilities was discrimination, caused by prejudice and NOT the inevitable consequence of the physical limitations imposed by a disability.
Its message was that disability is a normal part of the human condition, something that any of us could experience at any time. And that all people, including those with disabilities deserved the right and the opportunity to participate in the workforce.
HUFFINGTON POST BLOG By CAROL GLAZER, President, National Organization on Disability
As the leader of a national organization focused on employment for people with disabilities, I routinely have the privilege of visiting places that are doing some remarkable work to advance the issue. My travels of late took me to two notable college campuses: Edinboro University, just outside of Erie, PA, which has committed to excellence in accommodations for students with disabilities; and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in upstate New York, which has dedicated itself to helping students with disabilities access jobs upon graduation, better ensuring their long-term economic security.
Frankly, America’s colleges and universities would do well to examine what RIT and other leaders in career services are doing right, because many, if not most, are getting it wrong. Nationally, students with disabilities take twice as long to secure a job after graduation. And of the 1.4 million college students with disabilities, about 60-percent of them can expect to not find a job when they graduate. Talk about a harsh dose of reality for young people who simply want to contribute.
When I talk with employers, which is just about every day, they tell me their inability to hire new graduates with disabilities is not due to a lack of qualified candidates, but rather a lack of access. We at the National Organization on Disability decided to take a closer look at this issue recently, which resulted in a white paper titled, Bridging the Employment Gap for Students with Disabilities.
In Senator Tom Harkin’s final speech on the Senate floor, delivered last month to a national audience witnessing the retirement of a public figure of cross-partisan admiration, the most poignant words concerned persons with disabilities. It wasn’t surprising, as Harkin was the author of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and he spoke about one of his disappointments:
“How many of us know that the unemployment rate among adult Americans with disabilities who want to work and can work is over 60 percent?! Yes, you heard me right: almost two out of three people with disabilities cannot find a job. That is a blot on our national character.”
It has been said, actually, that despite all of the accomplishments attributable to the landmark ADA legislation, the area of negligible progress over the past quarter-century has been in employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, labor force participation rates and unemployment rates have remained, at best, relatively stable, hardly demonstrating the progress that has occurred in other areas of life for persons with disabilities. The BLS reports that the labor force participation rate for men 16 to 64 with disabilities was 40.6 percent in July of 2008, plunging to 30.0 percent in January of 2014, and rising only to 34.6 percent last month; for women with disabilities, labor force participation was over 30 percent between June of 2008 and December of 2010, but stood at 28.8 percent in December of 2014. That’s well less than half the participation rates of adults in that age bracket without disabilities.