Development and Office Associate
New York, NY
Kevin Bezerra earned his bachelor’s degree from the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo. He earned his degree in Kinesiology and focused on adapted physical activity.
Bezerra volunteered as an instructor with an adapted kayaking program partnering Kinesiology students with people with disabilities in the community for four years. He also worked in the private sector as office manager for a company working in high-end residential and commercial spaces overseeing logistics, customer service, accounts receivable, and vendor relations prior to joining NOD in 2014.
- Closing the Employment Gap for America’s Largest Minority Group
HUFFINGTON POST BLOG By CAROL GLAZER, President, National Organization on Disability
While it never received the attention that came with the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act nearly a quarter century ago, the changes to the rules implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act announced by the U.S. Labor Department last summer, which take effect this Monday, have the potential for far greater impact and scale than even the ADA in terms of employment. Even after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it took Affirmative Action in the decade of the 1970’s to effect measurable change in employment for racial minorities and women.
Similarly, while the ADA accomplished a great deal, it has not gotten the job done on unemployment. The 503 rule change, which includes a seven-percent disability employment goal for those companies who do business with the federal government, has the potential to significantly narrow the persistent employment gap for people with disabilities.
If the nation’s nearly 200,000 federal contractors embrace the historic opportunity before us, not only will more than 600,000 more people with disabilities soon have a job, employers also will reap the benefits of a more diverse, resilient, and creative workforce.
- White House Looks at Disability Issues
NOD Contributes to Discussion on Long-Term Discussion Unemployment
NOD was among a small group of disability organizations invited to the White House to confer with senior officials on both the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and the Obama Administration’s new focus on improving job outcomes for the long-term unemployed. In the latter initiative, over 300 CEOs have signed onto a pledge to take proactive efforts to hire this group, which includes many people with disabilities.
NOD President Carol Glazer discussed NOD’s ongoing partnerships in the business community with Gene B. Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council, and other disability advocates. She was able to point to many companies engaged in NOD’s CEO Council and Bridges program that are working hard to become employers of choice for people with disabilities, and leaders among their corporate peers.
- Vietnam Veterans of America rely on NOD’s Research into Agent Orange and Disability
Local veterans share stories about how chemical has impacted their lives, lives of children
Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange have battled cancer, liver damage and other serious health problems. But their exposure to Agent Orange also has caused birth defects and health problems in their children and grandchildren, according to the Vietnam Veterans of America. The national organization is working to educate Kansans about Agent Orange, a defoliant deployed during the Vietnam War.
The United States sprayed about 20 million gallons of dioxin-contaminated herbicides over nearly 6 million acres of Vietnamese terrain, according to a paper written by the National Organization on Disability, “U.S. Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange: Understanding the Impact 40 Years Later.”
The paper states that among the dioxin-contaminated herbicides was a compound called Agent Orange, named for the orange stripe on its label. The chemicals were used to wipe “out forests and crops that were used by opposition forces for cover and food.”
By the end of Vietnam in May 1975, more than 2.5 million American military personnel had served in Vietnam’s combat zones, the paper stated.
- Best Selling Author Speaks at Booz Allen Hamilton on Parenting Children with Differences
Andrew Solomon Speaks at Diversity Event Hosted by CEO Council Member Booz Allen Hamilton
NOD was pleased to attend Booz Allen Hamilton’s February 27th event featuring, Andrew Solomon, New York Times bestselling author of Far From the Tree – Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, who spoke about the challenges and joys of parenting children with differences.
Solomon highlighted examples of the generosity, acceptance and tolerance of families facing extraordinary challenges, and how those challenges impact us as we rise up to meet them, maintaining that differences are what unite us and shape our character. CEO Ralph Shrader and other Booz Allen senior leaders also shared their thoughts on the firm’s commitment to diversity.
“This event was one more example of Booz Allen Hamilton’s commitment to including people with disabilities as a part of the firm’s commitment to diversity,“ said Erika Byrnes, NOD’s development director, who attended the event. “As the parent of a child with disabilities Mr. Shrader clearly takes that commitment personally. NOD is proud to count Booz Allen Hamilton among our CEO Council of corporate champions.”
- NOD Board Member Dr. Michael Stein First Recipient of $100,000 Award from Ruderman Family Foundation
In continuing its commitment to and advocacy for inclusion of people with disabilities into society, the Ruderman Family Foundation (RFF) announced today that it will award the inaugural Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion to Dr. Michael Stein, Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. The award recognizes an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the Jewish world and the greater public. The $100,000 award is based on past achievements and the potential for future contributions to the field.
An internationally recognized expert on disability rights, Stein participated in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and actively consults with international governments on their disability laws and policies. Stein has also acted as legal counsel to Rehabilitation International, Disabled Peoples’ International and to Special Olympics International. He works with organizations fighting for disability rights around the world and advises a number of United Nations bodies, such as UNDESA, UNICEF, and UNOHCHR, as well as individual national human rights institutions. The National Organization on Disability is proud to have Dr. Stein as a member of its board of directors.
- NOD Shares New Resources for Federal Contractors as Historic Employment Policy Reforms Begin
NOD Salutes Northrop Grumman, ‘Network of Champions,’ and Other Companies Who Are Leading the Way in Hiring Veterans and Others with Disabilities
March 24, 2014, Falls Church, Va. – On the day when significant new policy reforms affecting disability employment begin, the National Organization on Disability today invited federal contractors and other organizations to start working now towards the seven-percent hiring goal for people with disabilities suggested by the U.S. Department of Labor. While today represents the official effective date for the rule change, many companies will not be subject to the changes until early 2015. In an effort to assist employers who may find reaching these new goals challenging, NOD is adapting its services to help businesses to effectively recruit, hire, train and retain job-seekers with disabilities.
“While it never received the attention that came with the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) nearly a quarter century ago, the rule changes that go into effect today have the potential for far greater impact and scale than even the ADA in terms of employment,” said NOD President Carol Glazer, who addressed a conference hosted by global security company Northrop Grumman to share best practices on hiring and employing veterans with disabilities. “Federal contractors like Northrop Grumman and their ‘Network of Champions’ show the good work that can be done in hiring veterans with disabilities. We encourage federal contractors – and all employers – to embrace the historic opportunity before us. If they do, not only will more than 600,000 people with disabilities, veterans and non-veterans alike, soon have a job – but employers will reap the benefits of a more diverse, creative and engaged workforce.”
- Disability Employment Tracker: Benchmarking Begins with Over 50 Companies
NOD reached a significant milestone in January when over 50 employers registered to participate in its new self-assessment tool, the Disability Employment Tracker™, which helps companies - including those seeking to comply with new regulations from the U.S. Department of Labor - assess their disability and veteran employment practices.
The companies who sought out Tracker’s capabilities come from a variety of industries, including healthcare services and pharmaceutical, commercial and professional services, utilities, technology and equipment, food/agriculture, and many others.
“With over 50 employers now on board, critical benchmarking can begin,” said Carol Glazer, President of NOD. “I see these companies as pioneers in a new effort to find more employment opportunities for people with disabilities and veterans. This powerful self-assessment tool for employers will continue to be a much sought-after product that companies are telling us they need.”
- NOD Career Specialists Receive Trauma Certification
Among first veterans’ rehabilitation providers in the nation to undertake specialized training; will benefit Pittsburgh-area veterans receiving services through Wounded Warrior Careers
February 19, 2014, New York, NY - Career Specialists Maggie Casteel and Jesse Putnam, with the National Organization on Disability’s (NOD) Wounded Warrior Careers Program in Pittsburgh, Pa., recently completed training offered by the International Association of Trauma Professionals to augment their services to veterans transitioning from military to civilian careers. Ms. Casteel is now a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, one of the first vocational rehabilitation specialists with this certification serving veterans nationally.
NOD Career Specialists are dedicated to providing intensive vocational support to veterans in the post 9/11 era, many of whom experience post-traumatic stress disorder syndrome (PTSD). Through the training, Casteel and Putnam learned about the individual, contextual, and cultural features of trauma unique to this generation of seriously ill or wounded veterans.
NOD began serving veterans in the Pittsburgh area in October 2012 with support from a coalition of local foundations, including the Heinz Endowments, the Hillman Foundation, Jewish Healthcare Foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and Richard King Mellon Foundation. In an evaluation of the Wounded Warrior Careers released last year, veterans in NOD’s program achieved successful career outcomes at a rate twice that of similarly situated veterans not in the program.
“NOD proudly supports our Career Specialists in their ongoing efforts to offer state-of-the-art professional support to the veterans they serve,” said NOD President Carol Glazer. “These successful techniques are another asset Career Specialists can offer to the veterans of southwestern Pennsylvania.”