That Was a Great Start! Now, What?

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Colleen Starkloff Talks Disability

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) this year was one to remember. I spoke to employees at several top companies and organizations in St. Louis to help them understand why disability hiring matters and what they can do to “empower all” in the workplace.

Now that October (the month we celebrate NDEAM) is nearly over, let’s prepare to continue the conversation. You may ask, “How can I keep the spirit of disability inclusion in my workplace alive?” Below I’ll share a few ways you can take action to ensure your workplace is inclusive and welcoming to all, every day of the year.


Join or create an Employee Resource Group (ERG) around disability hiring

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups that foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with organizational mission, values, goals, business practices, and objectives. However, many companies lack an ERG focused on disability hiring and inclusion. You could join your company’s Diversity and Inclusion committee to advocate for more inclusive hiring practices. If no ERG exist for you to “Talk Disability,” find out how you can create one to be more welcoming to potential or existing employees with disabilities in your workplace.


Create Disability Culture in your workplace

If there are no resources available to start your own ERG, consider being a champion for disability rights on your own! You could create a disability awareness event and advocate changes that will make your company welcoming to talent with disabilities. You can always contact your friends at Starkloff Disability Institute for brochures or posters to hang around the office! Your coworkers with disabilities will recognize that your companies values them and their contributions.


Call Starkloff Disability Institute Consulting for resources and training

I find that many companies want to hire people with disabilities, but have many questions on a variety of topics. A few that I’ve heard many times over the years: “How do I greet someone who is blind?” “What’s proper etiquette when greeting someone with a disability?” “How do deaf people talk on the phone?” If you’re wondering the answers to these questions, call our professional trainers to teach your company how to hire, welcome, retain and promote new talent with disabilities. Our trainers are experts since they have disabilities themselves and speak from personal experience.


Disability hiring is not just a month-long celebration; it deserves attention throughout the year! We’ve been working tirelessly since the 1970’s to integrate people with disabilities into our communities, let alone the workforce. We recognized that access was our biggest obstacle in getting people with disabilities hired in the workforce. With the access we have today, along with of key legislation, technology and diversity and inclusion initiatives, we are able to be included in America’s workforce. This is why I celebrate NDEAM and use my voice to empower people with disabilities every day. I hope you will join me and start “Talking Disability.”

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