St. Louis, MO — Starkloff Disability Institute today announced its participation in National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate communities about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.
“The success of our metro region depends on equitable access to economic opportunity for people living on the margins of society. This is where you will find many disabled people,” said Lori Becker, COO of Starkloff. “Our inclusion in the workplace makes products, services, teams, and businesses better because we bring a unique perspective.”
Starkloff Disability Institute builds inclusion where we live, learn, work and play through disability-led training that advances economic independence and transforms lives. The agency tackles the systemic barriers that prevent disabled people from thriving in the mainstream economy at three levels: providing career coaching for adults, internship prep for college students, and self-discovery and job exploration for high school students. All of Starkloff’s programs are rooted in self-advocacy, disability rights, and led by professionals with individuals with disabilities to provide peer mentorship. Starkloff’s Career Academy for professional job-seekers has an 80 percent success rate.
Starkloff also addresses root causes of bias in hiring and access in the workplace through disability-led consulting and training programs for executives and HR professionals.
The 9th annual Workforce, Workplace Disability Summit hosted by Starkloff will take place throughout the month to upskill HR professionals on the most current topics in disability hiring. This year’s Summit includes three webinars focusing sharply on the “how-to” of disability-inclusion, accessibility, and accommodations in the workplace. The Summit concludes with an in-person DEIA Lab (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Lab) where attendees can put their new knowledge into practice.
“Graduates from the Starkloff Career Academy and disabled people across the country are making significant contributions to their workplace, to the economy, and to their community. We are immensely proud of the strides being made. But it is not enough. Too many people with disabilities are still looked over, and excluded from the American Dream,” said Becker. “We won’t rest until everyone has the opportunity to thrive.”
Missourians have famously fought for disability rights and inclusion over the years. In 1945, President Truman established National Disability Employment Awareness Month and issued the first national call for disabled people to access all the opportunities and rewards of work. Max and Colleen Starkloff, founders of the Starkloff Disability Institute, worked with Disability Rights activists from around the country to pass the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and then the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. Because of their efforts, St. Louis was a national leader in making public transit accessible.
“We call on everyone in St. Louis to join our effort building inclusion,” said Colleen Starkloff. “One in four Americans has a disability. This affects all of us. When companies look like the communities they serve, it means better products. When disabled employees are welcomed, it increases economic opportunity and builds stronger communities.”
Resources for National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), including educational videos, Ally Action Steps, 31 Days of NDEAM Calendar, a Disability Etiquette Guide, and more can all be found at Starkloff.org/WWDS.
ABOUT STARKLOFF DISABILITY INSTITUTE
Starkloff Disability Institute was founded in 2003 by Disability Rights pioneers Max and Colleen Starkloff. The mission of the organization is to build inclusion where we live, learn, work and play through disability-led training that advances economic opportunity and transforms lives. Starkloff Disability Institute is a United Way funded agency.