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 The mission of the "Your Mark on the World Center" is to solve the world's biggest problems before 2045 by identifying and championing the work of experts who have created credible plans and programs to end them once and for all.
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Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

Changing Minds and Changing Lives: Connecting People with Disabilities with Career Opportunities

This is a guest post from Kris Foss, the Managing Director of Disability Solutions at Ability Beyond.

One in five people in the United States have some type of disability and are facing challenges in getting hired. Some disabilities are visible, such as physical disabilities, and some are hidden; including mental health conditions, medical conditions, learning and cognitive disabilities. We also have a large population “aging into disability” for the first time and veterans with disabilities returning to the civilian workforce.

Ability Beyond is a non-profit pioneer serving people with disabilities throughout Connecticut and New York states for more than 60 years. Over the years, we encountered many companies eager to include jobseekers with disabilities in their overall talent strategies, but cited uncertainty about how to get started and a desire to not “reinvent the wheel” as challenges. Our solution was to create Disability Solutions, an employer-focused consulting service that has been an avenue for Mission impact across the globe!

Our service was founded on the principle that bringing together the most knowledgeable disability inclusion consultants would create a catalyst for true change in the workplace.

Utilizing our proven approach, Disability Solutions (DS) consultants work with companies of all sizes to develop and deploy a personalized strategic approach to filling workforce needs. They then develop talent partnerships and connect companies directly with qualified jobseekers, provide training and support communication to strengthen a diverse work culture, leverage hiring incentives, and help employers respond to a changing regulatory environment.

We set out to reduce the high unemployment rate among jobseekers with disabilities and have seen real results including:

  • Partnering nationally and globally with major corporations committed to disability inclusion such as PepsiCo, Synchrony Financial, American Express, Staples, and most recently launching work with Aon Global, and Aramark;
  • Connected talent and talent partners with our clients to build much needed pipelines, resulting in over 300 employees with disabilities being hired in full and part-time jobs to fill talent needs from entry to leadership level;
  • Our client companies are seeing real business results including key Human Resource metrics:
    • An average 14% higher retention rate in the same roles;
    • 33% decrease in interview to hire ratios, saving talent acquisition professionals valuable time while decreasing time to fill;
    • An average 53 percentage points higher rate of self-disclosure and a range of diversity within disability including 21% veterans with disabilities;
  • Facilitated interview prep and soft skills training courses to prepare hundreds of jobseekers and organizations for success; and
  • launched a national online career center to bring top employers and top talent together and to source talent directly for their corporate clients. More than 400,000 people with disabilities visit the site each month to find the next career opportunity.

We truly work each day with the motivation that we are ‘changing minds and changing lives’ and working with employers across industries and sourcing talent for roles from the mailroom to the Board Room. The companies we are working for are seeing positive business results and are leading that change.

Founded in 2012, Disability Solutions is the national non-profit consulting division of Ability Beyond headquartered in Bethel, Connecticut. To learn more visit: http://www.disabilitytalent.org/ or for more information about the Career Center, please visit www.disabilitysolutionstalent.org


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