May 16, 2024 - Business

Disability groups prioritize communication trainings

 Illustrated collage of an outstretched hand, eyes, pulse rates and an ear.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Disability:IN, a nonprofit organization that encourages inclusion in the workplace, has launched trainings to help people with disabilities better tell their personal stories during the job seeking process.

Why it matters: Even as companies continue to prioritize inclusion, only 4% of businesses incorporate people with disabilities into their workplace initiatives, according to the most recent report by Return on Disability.

The big picture: As the legalities of race- or gender-based hiring and promotion practices come into question, companies are reframing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives (DEI).

  • Instead of DEI, terminology like "inclusion" and "culture of belonging" is being used. This includes employing people with disabilities.

State of play: The employment rate for Americans with disabilities reached a record high in 2023 according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • In response, employers across industries are incorporating more accessible communications.

Yes, but: First, they need to land the job.

  • Disability:IN's offerings includes a session on personal branding, social media presence and sharing your disability story in formal and informal settings.
  • Other communication-specific courses focus on in-person and virtual presentation and a guide to professional networking.

What they're saying: Honing communications skills as a person with a disability — from navigating networking as a person who is blind, to preparing presentations as someone on the autism spectrum — can be quite different, especially because of biases, said Jill Houghton, president and CEO of Disability:IN.

  • Disability:IN hopes this training will "empower individuals to embrace their identity while mastering essential skills [that allow for] personal growth and career advancement," Houghton added.

Go deeper: Greater demand for accessible communications

Go deeper