As institutions seek to leverage the benefits of diversity, application pools for faculty positions have become increasingly diverse, inclusive of faculty with disabilities who bring unique and valuable perspectives and talents to the workplace. However, the inaccessible design of the employment application process, as well as many campus facilities, software tools, services, and online resources, continue to erect barriers to some applicants and employees with disabilities, including those who are also members of other marginalized groups.
Companies benefit from having interns and employees with disabilities. These individuals enrich companies in ways that include the following.
There are a variety of strategies that companies can use to support employees with disabilities. Taking such actions may help to ensure that employees with disabilities have the same opportunities for advancement and professional development as all employees. Some of these strategies may be similar to strategies used to support other underrepresented groups, such as women and racial/ethnic minorities. To support employees with disabilities companies can:
Research findings comparing the experiences of neurodiverse employees with neurotypical employees at a large company revealed differences between the two groups. In the study “neurodiverse employees” were defined as individuals with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and/or learning disabilities. “Neurotypical” employees were defined as individuals without one of these disabilities.
When employees across a company – in engineering, design, and development roles – have an understanding of accessibility, rather than just a handful of employees in an accessibility department, it can lead to improved accessibility of products developed and services offered by the company. To achieve this goal, Teach Access is encouraging employers to include in job descriptions required or preferred skill, knowledge and/or experience about accessibility. This strategy raises awareness of job seekers of the importance of these skills.
A large portion of individuals with ASD are unemployed although many of them are capable of working. Students with ASD often find it difficult to communicate in a traditional interview format. Some companies, both in the US and abroad, have enacted programs to specifically recruit employees with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Examples of these recruitment efforts and programs include: