Disability Employment Etiquette National Conference Session

Individuals with disabilities bring unique talents, skills, and perspectives to the workplace. The benefits of including more individuals with disabilities in the workforce are numerous, including higher workplace morale, a more inclusive workplace culture, improved operational performance, productivity, creativity, and profitability, and a reduction in turnover, not to mention more financial stability and other benefits to the worker with disabilities. However, sometimes employers and policymakers may not be adequately tapping into this skilled pool of employees due to a lack of knowledge on how to engage and work with individuals with disabilities.

On Friday December 11, 2020 at 2pm ET, The Council of State Governments (CSG) will host a “Disability Employment Etiquette” session as part of the CSG 2020 National Conference REIMAGINED.

During this webinar, panelists will discuss general best practices for communicating and working with individuals with disabilities, including how state agencies and employers can incorporate the principles of inclusivity into their policies and practices and how states can increase the employment of individuals with disabilities by promoting and ensuring inclusive workplaces. The session will bring together a wide range of industry experts to collaborate and serve as a resource to answer difficult questions, including how to turn good intentions into well-received actions.

Participants will be guided through three different layers of engagement, including 1) interpersonal communications, 2) employer-based interactions, and 3) state policy and legislation. The webinar will address the following questions:

Are you ever afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing when interacting with an individual with a disability?

Christina Espinosa Bard and Jason Jones from the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute (HDI) will present on ways to overcome such fears. Through real-life personal accounts, our presenters will share attitudinal barriers faced by people with disabilities in all aspects of life and attendees will learn how to recognize and avoid creating these challenges. Participants will also learn the basic etiquette of interacting and working with individuals with disabilities.    

How can states and other employers develop inclusive workplaces?

Implementing practices to develop an inclusive workplace benefits the employer as well as current and potential employees. Anne Hirsh, Co-Director for the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), will provide training on how to increase comfort, confidence and competence in working with individuals with disabilities. Further, her presentation will help participants understand how states and employers can make accessibility and inclusion a priority in their policies and practices.

How can states incorporate these lessons into policy?

Bobby Silverstein, considered the architect of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Legislative Council for the State Exchange on Employment & Disability (SEED), will discuss how state policy has changed over time regarding individuals with disabilities, the distinct definitions of disability, and the goals and benefits of shaping state policy with a lens focused on inclusion.

This event is a collaboration between The Council of State Governments and the State Exchange on Employment & Disability, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.