Working Group Discussion Summaries
Discussion points made during group collaboration are presented below.
What barriers exist in recruiting employees and interns with disabilities? How can these challenges be overcome?
- Inaccessible websites—which can be overcome with more promotion of website accessibility.
- Connecting with the right people in higher education for recruiting students with disabilities; we’ve often had problems with the disability resource services not sharing our information to students or connecting us to interested prospects.
- Finding the right social agencies to work with—We could connect with Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Veterans Service offices, as well as Centers for Independent Living. The American Association for the Advancement of Science EntryPoint! Internship program also has opportunities to connect students with internships.
- Creating an environment that is welcoming and where students feel comfortable disclosing their disability can attract more students with disabilities to consider us as an employer.
- Finding students to apply can be hard—hosting a career fair or a special hiring program specifically for students with disabilities can create more opportunities to connect with those students and showcase a welcoming and accessible environment.
- Inaccessible job applications that make it impossible for a person with a disability to apply.
What can companies do to support interns and employees with disabilities and ensure they have access to equal opportunities (e.g., promotions)?
- Offer job training and opportunities for all employees, emphasizing that opportunities are open to all.
- Have a central fund for accommodations because it separates the cost of accommodations from the actual departmental costs. This allows a person with a disability to not feel like a drain on their team.
- Have a strong mentor circle can be important—facilitating that mentorship and integration into the work culture allows people to reach out and move up in a company. Having a good relationship between an employee and a manager makes the employee feel comfortable about discussing job opportunities.
- Promote employees taking professional development and attending workshops.
- Make sure all internal products are made accessible so people within the company don’t get kept from information or passed up for a promotion because they weren’t able to access the same resources.
- Train employees and managers on unconscious bias and create a culture around helping each other.
How can interns and employees with disabilities serve to enrich a company?
- Having an employee with a disability makes it more normal for people to acknowledge their weaknesses and open up to each other about strengths and weaknesses.
- People with disabilities often think outside the box and think up different solutions to problems that may not be seen otherwise.
- It can promote a culture of accessibility and diversity.
- It allows people to feel more comfortable being adaptable and take on different roles.
- People with disabilities often create a better safe place for sharing thoughts and ideas.
- Opening the conversation up around disability encourages all design processes to be accessible and to include accessibility in all external products made.
- It makes a statement that your workplace adapts accessible culture and supports people with disabilities.
What resources would better enable you to recruit and retain interns and employees with disabilities? How can AccessComputing support these efforts?
- Create a package that showcases what AccessComputing is and ways to support people with disabilities in the workplace. Create an ad for becoming a partner for AccessComputing.
- Help companies learn about reasonable accommodations and provide information on website accessibility.
- The AccessComputing knowledge base that has Q&As for higher education should include more resources for company culture and hiring people with disabilities.
- Hold workshops and panels of professionals with disabilities to teach companies about accessibility or how to hire people with disabilities.
- Offer opportunities to connect with other companies on accessibility and build relationships across companies about accessible products and hiring.
- Create a webinar geared at HR and recruitment where individuals can engage and ask questions.
- Encourage people to communicate online to keep the conversation going.