DiverseAbility Forum Addresses Hiring and Retaining Individuals With Disabilities

Date: Aug. 17, 2018

Media Contact: Lisa Givens
Phone: 512-463-8556

AUSTIN ⎯ The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), in partnership with the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, University of North Texas and Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Services (TWS-VRS), will host area employers, human resource professionals and employment stakeholders at a DiverseAbility Forum at Embassy Suites in Frisco on Aug. 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The forum will provide an opportunity for discussion on best practices for hiring and retaining people with disabilities; creating a culture of inclusivity through leadership; and the importance of fair and consistent employee relations. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are currently 1.6 million working age (18-64) Texans who have one or more disabilities. Of that number, 85,000 individuals are actively seeking employment.

“As Texas continues to experience rapid job growth, it is imperative that we have skilled, trained employees to fill job positions,” said TWC Chair Ruth Ruggero Hughs. “Creating ongoing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities is one of our main objectives at TWC. We’re confident that this forum and others like it will help us reach our goal of providing more work and career choices for individuals with disabilities, and we want to ensure employers are aware of this talent pipeline.”

“One of the reasons the University of North Texas was recognized by Forbes as one of the top places to work, is its welcoming and inclusive environment,” said University of North Texas President Neal Smatresk. “We value the diversity of ideas, abilities and backgrounds. Our neurodiversity initiative is a prime example of our commitment to creating a culture of inclusivity.”

Participating employers in panel discussions will include AT&T, CVS, Embassy Suites, Ernst & Young and Texas Instruments. In addition to TWC Chair Hughs and TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez, Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney will be among other leaders attending the forum.

“We’re excited that TWC and its partners have chosen Frisco to launch the DiverseAbility Forum,” said Mayor Cheney. “Having a career, a job that helps one build a better future, has a lasting impact on the individual and community. This forum continues the discussion and reaffirms the state of Texas and the city of Frisco’s commitment of employing people with disabilities.”

Representatives from the TWS-VRS Business Relations team also will be on site. The team helps educate employers on disability awareness and establishing practices to recruit, hire and retain employees with disabilities. The team also provides employer assistance with candidate screening, matching and job training. There is no cost to employers who receive services from TWS-VRS Business Relations.

“We’re planning to meet with our peers, TWC staff and share our experiences of this continuing journey of hiring people with Autism,” said Ernst & Young Operations Leader Jamell G. Mitchell. “I encourage all employers, regardless of size, to partner with us in our efforts to fill open positions with workers from an untapped talent pool. A neurodiverse world is a better working world.”

“One important aspect of building a diverse workforce is hiring people with disabilities,” said AT&T Diversity and Inclusion Director Rick J. Wilson. “People with disabilities contribute significantly to their companies when given a chance. We’re happy to share our experiences and learnings as we’ve assimilated individuals with disabilities into our workforce, and we are very appreciative of the value, productivity and perspective that individuals with disabilities bring to work every day.”

To register for the DiverseAbility Forum, visit http://bit.ly/DiverseAbilityForum or call TWC Conference Planning at 512-463-6389. There is a $25 registration fee, which includes lunch.

For more information about TWS-VRS services, contact your local Texas Workforce Solutions Office or visit our Texas HireAbility webpage at texasworkforce.org/partners/texas-hireability.

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The Texas Workforce Commission is a state agency dedicated to helping Texas employers, workers and communities prosper economically. For details on TWC and the services it offers in coordination with its network of local workforce development boards, call 512-463-8942 or visit www.texasworkforce.org. To receive notifications about TWC programs and services subscribe to our email updates.

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