NACE Article on Working with Students with Disabilities

The article emphasizes the importance of expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to include accessibility, particularly focusing on individuals with disabilities. The main points include:

  1. Current DEI Efforts: The article mentions that many organizations focus their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts on aspects like race or gender, but there is a need to broaden the scope to include accessibility.
  2. Significance of Disability Inclusion: Dr. Bruyère emphasizes that disability is a part of the human condition that affects a significant portion of the global population, and there is a need to address the inequity faced by working-age people with disabilities.
  3. Recommendations for Employers:
    • Conduct internal accessibility assessments for physical facilities and information systems.
    • Adopt a universal design approach for facilities and technology.
    • Establish an actionable and transparent accommodation process.
    • Create inclusive job descriptions.
    • Ensure organization-wide buy-in and education about disability diversity.
    • Utilize mentoring and employee resource groups to foster a disability-inclusive culture.
  4. Internship Programs: The article suggests that internship programs are effective for increasing disability diversity, with research indicating that offering internships for people with disabilities makes organizations more likely to hire them.
  5. Online Outreach and Recruitment: The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) conducted research on effective online outreach and recruitment. Features such as diversity and inclusion statements, flexible work arrangements, and descriptions of disability-focused programs can attract workers with disabilities.
  6. Meeting Expectations of Students with Disabilities: Students with disabilities look for visible commitment from organizations, hiring initiatives, relationships with community partners, clear accommodation processes, and testimonials from employees with disabilities to consider an employer’s commitment seriously.
  7. Focus on Individual Contributions: Organizations are encouraged to focus on the unique talents and characteristics of individuals with disabilities, matching them to the right job, to create motivated and high-performing employees.
  8. Call for Building a Culture of Inclusion: The article concludes by stressing the importance of building a culture that sincerely invests in the well-being of employees, highlighting the potential benefits of disability diversity, including creativity, innovation, and improved productivity.

Lastly, the article provides disability inclusion resources from the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN).

By Jessica Pugliese
Jessica Pugliese Assistant Director, Employer Relations