Here are some highlights of this week’s news about disability inclusion in the workforce — and how you can use the information to make your company the best it can be.
1. Diversity and inclusion are meaningless if people with intellectual disabilities are left out
What’s reported: You can’t have diversity and inclusion if you’re leaving some people out. That was the message of this Fortune column by Mary Davis, CEO of Special Olympics. Davis wrote about the need for companies to hire more people with intellectual disabilities in meaningful jobs. She also described a practice they use at Special Olympics called unified leadership. The group trains leaders with and without disabilities on how to create an environment where employees with intellectual disabilities can succeed.
What it means for you: This article is a good reminder to take a look at the people in your organization with intellectual disabilities. Have you hired any, or have you shied away from this crucial group of people? Or hesitated to give them certain roles or jobs? Have you created an environment where they can succeed? This self-reflection is an important piece of true disability inclusion.
2. New private-public partnership seeks to find work for people with disabilities
What’s reported: Delaware Public Media highlights a Wilmington-based information technology company, The Precisionists, Inc., whose employees mostly have disabilities. The firm, which aims to hire 10,000 people with disabilities nationwide by 2025, has begun to have its employees with autism perform consultant work for various agencies of the state of Delaware, including the Department of Health and Social Services. The Delaware Department of Finance is also in talks to participate.
What it means for you: Partnerships between your company and government agencies may be a highly effective way of including people with disabilities among your staff. Think about what opportunities your organization may have as it relates to government work. Understood can help you evaluate the possibilities.
3. Greta Thunberg likened her Asperger’s syndrome to a superpower — and some Fortune 500 employers appear to agree
What’s reported: MarketWatch discusses the many unique talents and skills that people with autism can offer employers. Using the hostile exchanges between climate activist Greta Thunberg and her detractors as a frame of reference, the article highlights the many strengths people with autism can bring to their work.
What it means for you: When hiring people with disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder, focus on their strengths, not their challenges. Just like you would look for great writing skills in a communications person and great math skills in an accountant, think about the specific skills that a candidate with a disability might bring to the table. Allow those candidates a chance to lean into those strengths.
4. Leaders from Intuit, Cisco, other companies pledge to support disability inclusion
What’s reported: The Palm Beach Post covered the Disability Matters Conference in Jupiter, Florida. A number of the business leaders attending — from companies including Froedtert Health, Cisco, and Intuit — took the Chief Diversity Officers for Disability Inclusion pledge, or C4DI. That means they promise that their companies will, among other things: 1) provide a work environment in which employees with disabilities feel comfortable requesting reasonable accommodations; 2) offer disability etiquette training for all employees and; 3) cooperate with other companies that have taken the pledge to help figure out the best ways to accomplish these goals.
What it means for you: Consider joining the growing number of corporate leaders committing to disability inclusion. One way to do this is through the C4DI pledge.
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The Understood Team is made up of passionate writers and editors. Many of them have kids who learn and think differently.