Workforce, Workplace Disability Summit

Lunch & Learn with us every Wednesday during National Disability Employment Awareness Month

In October, as part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, SDI offers a series of workshops led by professional with disabilities to advance disability inclusion in the competitive workforce. The 8th annual Workforce, Workplace Disability Summit (WWDS), is the culmination of SDI’s 18 years of research and work in disability employment and decades of advocacy in disability and civil rights. This is the perfect learning opportunity for anyone committed to disability inclusion in the workplace.

All registrants will receive the presentation playback and a copy of our actionable, disability inclusion tips! Thanks to our NDEAM sponsors, the entire series is complimentary this year.

Register now and join us every Wednesday in October at 12:00 p.m. Central to dive deeper into disability access, inclusion and equity in the workplace with the disability inclusion experts – professionals with disabilities.

WWDS 2021 Series

Opening remarks from Valerie E. Patton, MA, MSW - Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and President, Greater St. Louis Foundation at Greater St. Louis, Inc.

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October 6, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. CDT Diversity Includes Disability: Infusing Disability Equity into your DEI Strategy


Vincent Flewellen, MSW - Chief Diversity Officer at Webster University

Dawn Higgins, PHR -  Senior Manager of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Nestle Purina

Adewale Soluade, MBA, CDP - Senior Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Centene 

Disability equity has not always been included in diversity and inclusion initiatives. How have companies and institutions successfully folded disability into their DEI strategic goals? What challenges have they encountered and how have they met them? Learn from top DEI practitioners how they work to ensure diversity includes disability in their workplaces.

October 13, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. CDT Strengthening Understanding: Training for Disability Allyship in your Workplace

Presented by Jason Hartsfield, MSW - Career Advisor and Disability Inclusion Consultant, Starkloff Disability Institute

Preparing your employees to work along-side colleagues with disabilities goes beyond simple disability etiquette training. In this workshop, Starkloff Disability Institute Disability Inclusion Lead Consultant Jason Hartsfield will introduce participants to the concept of Disability Allyship, best practices for developing impactful disability allyship training, and discuss ways to maintain the impact of your training long-term.

October 20, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. CDT Building an Accessible Pipeline for Disabled Talent


Jaki Jefferson - Systems Leader, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at SSM Healthcare

Kevin Andert - Executive Director of Career & Technical Education at Special School District of St. Louis County

Pamela Christopher Employment Specialist at National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Center for Employment

Many companies are excited to welcome disabled employees into the workforce but often don’t know how to build a sustainable and inclusive talent pipeline. In this webinar, participants can expect to learn about the benefits of including disability into your DE&I goals, how to connect with disabled talent from youth to adulthood, and how to build a talent pipeline that reflects the needs of your organization. Participants will also hear from guest speakers about their insights and experiences of building successful, inclusive talent pipelines.

October 27, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. CDT The Pandemic and Accommodations


Andrew Metcalf - Partner at Ogletree Deakins

Julie Brinkhoff - Executive Director at Great Plains ADA Center

The COVID-19 Pandemic continues to challenge workplace norms and force employers to think creatively about supporting employees with disabilities. In this webinar, participants will be introduced to best practices for providing reasonable accommodations, maintaining workplace culture in a remote environment, and making decisions about return-to-office policies.

Take Action Now

Tools to help you welcome people with disabilities at work

Celebrate 31 Days of Disability Inclusion at Work with pride using our NDEAM calendar

Download our Ally Action Steps to promote Disability Inclusion in your workplace

Download our Disability Employment Etiquette Guide for quick and efficient guidelines when interacting with people with disabilities.

Check out last year's WWDS events on YouTube

Celebrate and learn about Disability Pride with resources in our Read, Watch, Listen List


Grab one of these shirts to show Disability Pride and support SDI’s programming! Click here to see all of the designs in several colors. Proceeds go directly to fund the programs of Starkloff Disability Institute.

Thank you to our sponsors

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