Archived: Meeting in a Box: National Disability Employment Awareness Month

This Meeting in a Box tool is designed for distribution to all employees. You may use portions of it or all of it. Each section is available as a separate PDF; you can forward the entire document or link to it on DiversityInc Best Practices; or you can print it out for employees who do not have Internet access.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. It is the ideal time to increase your company’s awareness of the untapped talent pool of people with disabilities and educate your company on a variety of disabilities, as well as the best time to learn or re-learn how to successfully bring people with disabilities on board.

It’s also an excellent way to refresh your knowledge on the culturally competent way to recruit, retain, engage and promote this increasing demographic.

This Meeting in a Box is designed to make it easy for you to share the entire package or individual components with your employees. Each element is available in a PDF and is available to download for you and your team to print.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

• Timeline of legislation and events impacting the progress of people with disabilities and their achievements in the United States

• Facts & Figures demonstrating educational progress and continued employment and income inequities

• Our cultural-competence series “Things NOT to Say” focusing on people with disabilities.

This information should be distributed to your entire workforce and should also be used by people with disabilities and allies employee resource group, both internally and externally, as a year-round educational tool.

[CLICK HERE to download a PDF of the full Meeting in a Box.]

1. Historic Timeline

We recommend you start your employees’ cultural-competence lesson on people with disabilities by using this historic Timeline, which documents individual achievements of people with a variety of disabilities, plus legislation, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which changed their legal opportunities for equality.

Discussion Questions for Employees

What are the variety of disabilities applicable under the ADA? Why has it been so challenging for people with disabilities to attain gainful employment?

Discuss the different experiences of people with different types of disabilities. Explain how hidden disabilities can be even more difficult to address when there are inequities.

Explain how your company changed its opinion, accommodation and treatment of people with disabilities. Can more be done?

What are the barriers to hiring, promoting and retaining people with disabilities?

CLICKABLE IMAGE of TIMELINE

2. Facts & Figures

After discussing the Timeline, the next step is to review available data and understand how and why hiring people with disabilities impacts our business.

In 2017, DiversityInc required companies to complete the National Organization on Disability’s Disability Employment Tracker to be on the DiversityInc Top 50 or any of the specialty lists. The Top Companies for People With Disabilities list was selected based on answers to questions on the DiversityInc Top 50 survey about representation, accommodations, recruitment outreach, on-boarding, talent development and employee resource groups for people with disabilities.

Discussion Questions for Employees

As baby boomers retire, the need for skilled workers in the United States is intensifying. The disabilities population is an untapped resource, yet many companies shy away from this group.

How can your company — and you personally — create more awareness of the value of reaching out to the disability community?

How can you mentor and teach people with disabilities, especially those still in college?

How can companies work with disability non-profits to identify and recruit talent?

How can you educate managers and the workforce about cultural competence?

Do you encourage people with disabilities, especially those with hidden disabilities, to self-identify?

What are the benefits of a corporate culture where people can be free to bring their whole selves to work?

CLICKABLE IMAGE of FACTS & FIGURES

3. Things NOT to Say to People With Disabilities

This “Things NOT to Say” was written by Frank Kineavy, a staff writer at DiversityInc. Frank, who is living with cerebral palsy, shares what to avoid in the workplace when interacting with employees with disabilities.

Discussion Questions for Employees

What other phrases have you heard addressed to people with disabilities that were condescending or offensive?

Discuss how these phrases and stereotypes impact office morale and productivity.

What do you do when you hear an offensive comment in the workplace toward an employee with a disability?

After today’s lesson, what would you do if you overheard a colleague make one of these comments?

Continue the discussion with each employee having a plan of action on how to address offensive language.

CLICKABLE IMAGE of THINGS NOT TO SAY

Latest News

5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: June 23

Updated on June 24, 2022.  As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused…

How Feelings of Loneliness Can Affect Employees

As employees begin to return to the office – some part-time, some full-time – a clearer understanding is emerging of how severely COVID-19 impacted mental health. Among the many changes employees said they experienced while working remotely, the most common were feelings of loneliness caused by long periods of isolation….

Champions of Pride Part Two: Entertainers

Pride Month is a time to reflect on the trailblazers, freedom fighters, and history makers who fought valiantly to increase inclusion and representation for the LGBTQ community, and who have paved a way for a better tomorrow for future generations. In Part Two of our four-part series celebrating Champions of…

Marriott International Launches “Bridging The Gap” Hotel Development Program

Originally published at news.marriott.com. Marriott International is a Hall of Fame company.   At the 44th Annual NYU International Hospitality Investment Conference, Marriott International announced the launch of “Marriott’s Bridging The Gap,” a multi-year, $50 million development program that aims to address the barriers to entry that historically underrepresented groups…

Educating Your Workforce on Juneteenth

Even as Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday in 2021, many employers likely have large portions of their workforce who remain unfamiliar with the details of the holiday. This month provides the perfect opportunity to explain the significance of Juneteenth not only for Black Americans but for all Americans. The…