WIB Inclusion Forum kicks off Disability Awareness Month

inclusion forum 2016Service providers and employer partners came together to put on the first Inclusion Forum for Southwest Missouri celebrating Disability Employment Awareness Month for October.  About 60 employers, educators, and workforce and economic development professionals attended the event on Oct. 4 at the new Advanced Training and Technology Center in Joplin.

The Joplin Globe newspaper praised the forum and its efforts in its editorial feature October 6th. “We applaud the efforts to understand the needs of different people, even as efforts are made to diversify the workplace.”

Dana Brodeur, manager of disability inclusion for Mercy Health System, delivered the keynote address.  She described the workforce inclusion model her company uses, dispelled some myths about hiring people with disabilities, and presented several testimonials from employees. Watch the keynote presentation online at the WIB’s Vimeo Channel.

The group also heard a presentation about the Talent Acquisition Portal, administered by Vocational Rehabilitation, and participated in a question-and-answer session with a panel of local employers.  The employers described including people with disabilities in their hiring process and how easy it is to make many accommodations for employees. Watch the T.A.P. presentation online at the WIB’s Vimeo Channel.

Due to the positive feedback from people who attended, the forum planning committee already is discussing making this an annual event and exploring ways to improve it.  Organizers for the upcoming Job Fest 2017 hiring and resource fair also plan to host a special section for job seekers with disabilities. The WIB appreciates  all who either donated their time or products, were involved in planning, or who presented at the forum.

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