#RespectTheAbility Campaign Celebrates Model Employers that Demonstrate Inclusive Hiring on All Levels

Campaign spotlights model employers that demonstrate how hiring workers with disabilities benefits the employer, the employee and society

RespectAbilityUSA’s #RespectTheAbility campaign highlights the benefits companies reap when they hire talented people with disabilities. Using the hashtag #RespectTheAbility, the campaign hopes to ultimately erase negative and untrue stigmas associated with hiring people with disabilities.

“Many companies hire the best talent out there, no matter what package that talent comes in,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbilityUSA. “Employers’ focus should be on the abilities an individual brings to the table to better the organization, not any disabilities the individual may have. It is time for all employers to look beyond the disability, and understand the true value of these employees.”

The #RespectTheAbility campaign began in August 2014 with a focus on Ernst & Young LLP as a case study and featured a conference call with Lori Golden, Abilities Strategy Leader from Ernst & Young, on “Disabilities to Diverse Abilities: Changing the Workplace Paradigm.” Th 2015 campaign launched on the heels of the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)’s first Disability Equality Index (DEI) naming 19 companies as DEI Best Places to Work. Developed by the DEI Advisory Committee, a diverse group of business leaders, policy experts, and disability advocates, the DEI is a national, transparent benchmarking tool that offers businesses an opportunity to receive an objective score, on a scale of zero to 100, on their disability inclusion policies and practices.

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#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on Em’s Coffee Company

#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on Iowa

Em’s Coffee Company: Bringing Independence To Independence, Iowa

Emilea Hillman, owner of Em’s Coffee Co.

Emilea Hillman, owner of Em’s Coffee Co.

Independence, Iowa, Jan. 22 – “I like to be the boss.”

That’s one thing Em’s Coffee Co. owner Emilea Hillman likes most about being self-employed.

In a town that has seen several coffee shops go out of business after only two years, Em’s Coffee Co. continues to be a strong, vibrant business since its opening six years ago.  Hillman, who arrives at 6 a.m. to make the coffee and open her business, is seriously committed to her work, her employees, and her customers.

Hillman is well known in Iowa for leaving a segregated workshop and becoming a business owner with the support of her family, the Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services’ Self-Employment Program and other agencies. Born with a congenital condition causing a lack of nerve tissue connecting the left and right side of her brain, her parents were given little hope that she would learn to walk or talk, much less that she would ever be gainfully employed.

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#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on the Spece Brothers

#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on Iowa

Physical Limitations Don’t Stop the Spece Brothers From Making Their Dreams Come True

Independence, Iowa, Jan. 21 – Brothers Jake and Josh Spece may have spinal muscular atrophy and use wheelchairs to get around, but neither allows his physical limitations to get in the way of his dreams.

Josh Spece, Sue Spece, and Sue’s mother, JoAnn Johnston

Josh Spece, Sue Spece, and Sue’s mother,
JoAnn Johnston

While Jake owns Johnston Creek Farms, where he provides customized feeding and tending of baby calves for farms and agribusiness in the area, his brother Josh owns and operates In The Country Garden and Gifts, a garden and gift shop located on the family dairy farm. Josh founded the shop business in 1998 with some artistic collaboration from his mother, Sue Spece.

High expectations and family engagement are key parts of promoting independence and improving employment outcomes for young people with disabilities. It is clear Sue Spece instilled this spirit in her sons from an early age, which is a big factor in ensuring positive results.

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#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on Kwik Trip

#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on Kwik Trip

Kwik Trip’s Retail Helper Program a “Blueprint” for Other Companies

Kwik-Trip-exteriorWashington, Dec. 28 – Officially, Luke Cohran’s title at Kwik Trip’s Store 761 in La Crosse, Wisc. is retail helper. Unofficially? He’s the store singer. Whether he’s cleaning the gas pumps, restocking the coolers or checking inventory, 23-year-old Cochran can be found crooning.

“Our customers get such a joy out of Luke,” says Terry Johnson, the store leader who hired Cochran just over a year ago through the Wisconsin-based company’s Retail Helper program, which employs people with disabilities. Job duties include stocking, cleaning and food preparation, with shifts built around employees’ bus schedules. To start, employees work a maximum of 15 hours a week, a schedule that allows them to continue to receive disability benefits while gaining skills and independence. Once they master their job skills, they may apply for other positions at the stores.

In Cochran’s case, a brain injury has impaired some of his comprehension. Still, he executes his tasks efficiently and, as Johnson notes, always with a smile.

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#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on AT&T

#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on AT&T

Every Voice Matters: Fortune 50 Global Company is a Top Employer of People with Disabilities

Washington, Oct. 21 – “Every voice matters.”

That’s the message Cynthia Marshall, AT&T’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer, has for its employees.

“At AT&T, diversity and inclusion are woven into all our business strategies and are key in achieving our business goals.”

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#RespectTheAbility Celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Won Shin, senior manager in transaction advisory services at EY, speaks with coworkers Alejandra Preciat and Frances Smith Won Shin, senior manager in transaction advisory services at EY, speaks with coworkers Alejandra Preciat and Frances Smith (photo credit POSITIVE EXPOSURE)

Won Shin, senior manager in transaction advisory services at EY, speaks with coworkers Alejandra Preciat and Frances Smith Won Shin, senior manager in transaction advisory services at EY, speaks with coworkers Alejandra Preciat and Frances Smith (photo credit POSITIVE EXPOSURE)

Campaign spotlights model employers that demonstrate how hiring workers with disabilities benefits the employer, the employee and society

Washington, Sept. 30 – RespectAbilityUSA is launching its 2015 #RespectTheAbility campaign in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which begins tomorrow. The campaign highlights the benefits companies reap when they hire talented people with disabilities. Using the hashtag #RespectTheAbility, the campaign hopes to ultimately erase negative and untrue stigmas associated with hiring people with disabilities.

“Many companies hire the best talent out there, no matter what package that talent comes in,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbilityUSA. “Employers’ focus should be on the abilities an individual brings to the table to better the organization, not any disabilities the individual may have. It is time for all employers to look beyond the disability, and understand the true value of these employees.”

The campaign comes on the heels of the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)’s first Disability Equality Index (DEI) naming 19 companies as DEI Best Places to Work. Developed by the DEI Advisory Committee, a diverse group of business leaders, policy experts, and disability advocates, the DEI is a national, transparent benchmarking tool that offers businesses an opportunity to receive an objective score, on a scale of zero to 100, on their disability inclusion policies and practices.

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White House Recognizes Importance of Jobs for People with Disabilities – Embassy Suites Omaha is Prime Example of Progress

Ambassador Judy Heumann and David Scott celebrate the “Champions of Change” event
Ambassador Judy Heumann and David Scott celebrate the “Champions of Change” event
Washington, DC. Today the White House celebrated inclusive employment with a “Champions of Change” event. The official White House event recognized leaders who are making a positive impact on employment for people with disabilities. Longtime leading institutions such as the USBLN, Kessler Foundation, government officials, Manpower, Walgreens and others were in attendance. So too were longtime leaders such as Ambassador Judy Heumann, Andy Imparato and others. But there were some extremely exciting new players, including Shelly London of the Poses Family Foundation, and Jay Ruderman of the Ruderman Family Foundation who has just moved back to the United States from Israel. Both are major supporters of inclusion and of disability employment. Ruderman stated, “I’m very happy to know that administration has put a focus on hiring people with disabilities. This is a very important issue that touches millions and millions of Americans, and time has come to move forward on it.”

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Marking the Start of National Disability Employment Awareness Month

RespectAbility Releases New Bi-Partisan Poll and Highlights #RespectTheAbility Campaign to Focus on How Hiring Workers with Disabilities Benefits the Employer, the Employee and Society

  • 88 percent feel that as a customer it is important “that the companies you do business with do not discriminate against qualified people with disabilities.”
  • Campaign spotlights model employers that demonstrate inclusive hiring can help their bottom line and starts by featuring Ernst & Young LLP

Washington, D.C. – RespectAbilityUSA and POSITIVE EXPOSURE, two non-profits working to change how people see disabilities, have joined forces to create #RespectTheAbility, a campaign to focus on how hiring people with disabilities can make organizations stronger and more successful. The campaign highlights the benefits to employers that look beyond the disability and imagine the possibility when hiring talented employees with disabilities.

The campaign kicked off on with a conference call/webinar with Lori Golden, Abilities Strategy Leader from Ernst & Young LLP (EY), on “Disabilities to Diverse Abilities: Changing the Workplace Paradigm: EY as a Case Study.” 

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#RespectTheAbility Campaign Launched to Focus on How Hiring Workers with Disabilities Benefits the Employer, the Employee and Society

 

Campaign spotlights model employers that demonstrate inclusive hiring can help their bottom line and starts by featuring Ernst & Young LLP

NEW YORK – RespectAbilityUSA and POSITIVE EXPOSURE, two non-profits working to change how people see disabilities, have joined forces to create #RespectTheAbility, a campaign to focus on how hiring people with disabilities can make organizations stronger and more successful. The campaign highlights the benefits to employers that look beyond the disability and imagine the possibility when hiring talented employees with disabilities.

The campaign kicked off on with a conference call/webinar with Lori Golden, Abilities Strategy Leader from Ernst & Young LLP (EY), on “Disabilities to Diverse Abilities: Changing the Workplace Paradigm: EY as a Case Study”. The call is was recorded and you can find it and the powerpoint that goes with it HERE.

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Young people with disabilities help senior citizens: Provide excellent workforce for the future

#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on Project SEARCH

Young people with disabilities help senior citizens: Provide excellent workforce for the future

Project SEARCH intern Haley McCormick-Thompson lends an attentive ear to a resident at United Hebrew New Rochelle (photo credit POSITIVE EXPOSURE)

Project SEARCH intern Haley McCormick-Thompson lends an attentive ear to a resident at United Hebrew New Rochelle (photo credit POSITIVE EXPOSURE)

Haley McCormick-Thompson, 21, spends part of her day transporting senior residents of the United Hebrew from their rooms to their various activities throughout the day. The seniors’ faces light up when they see Haley coming over to help them.

“I really care about the residents,” Haley said. “I like helping them if they’re sad and I like staying late and helping. I am always willing to do extra.”

Haley is a part of Project SEARCH, a program that allows young adults with developmental disabilities to cultivate a set of skills that they can use in the workforce. At United Hebrew, located in New Rochelle, New York, Project SEARCH interns assist the residents in their daily lives. The harmony between the residents and the interns is clear. The interns take their time with each resident, making sure they are comfortable, getting them involved in cheerful sing-alongs, partaking and setting up art therapy, transporting them to and from their daily activities, and lending an attentive ear to residents who just feel like talking.

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