GIOF Annual Meeting • May 19–26, 2022
The Largest Annual Meeting of
 the Global DEI Community

Corporate programs of inclusion for youth with disabilities

May 19, 2022 11:30 AM CET BUY TICKETS

Young people with disabilities are often forgotten when it comes to transitioning to the workforce. It is important that they receive meaningful opportunities and education to prepare themselves for a career. Starting a paid internship at age 14 ½ is key.

Middle schools, high schools, support professionals, even families themselves do not prepare students with disabilities to enter the workforce as adults. A limited selection of internship opportunities, most of them unpaid, sends a message that youth with disabilities are not expected to work in a meaningful career after graduation.

The consequences of limiting opportunities and education are serious. Businesses are losing a valuable pool of job candidates and have lower retention rates. Employees might be unhappy with a business culture that is discriminatory. Employees in management positions are less skilled than those that manage employees with disabilities.

When a company provides an inclusive program that encourages youth with disabilities to one day become a part-time or full-time employee by means of a paid internship, they are improving the company’s bottom line while providing a climate where everyone truly belongs.  

Companies like Essendent, Accenture, and Bargains in a Box are leading the way by offering inclusive programs with fidelity. Hiring tools that decrease unconscious bias for all DEI efforts are key to developing a pipeline of candidates. Companies like Skillset provide software, namely job simulations, that encourage job exploration for the user and valuable HR data for the employer.

Cindy Montgomery Co-Founder at TeachAbility