Product Demo

Beyond Higher Education: Accommodations in the Workplace

Thank you for your interest! Please enjoy our Higher Education training below.

Live Demo Transcript

Tiffany Meehan 0:00
My name is Tiffany, I lead marketing at Inclusively. And thank you so much for joining us today for Beyond Higher Education: Accommodations in the Workplace. So I first wanted to start that we’re recording today’s session and making it available for everyone after, we’ll send it out an email. And also we’ve enabled live captioning if you want to turn that on as well. And we also have two ASL interpreters joining us today Isabella and Jen. And after the presentation today, we’re going to take audience questions, so please feel free to submit your questions and drop them in the q&a section on the toolbar below.

Tiffany Meehan 0:35
Let me introduce our speaker today, Ross Barchacky is the Director of Partnerships at Inclusively, the workforce inclusion platform driving inclusion and opportunities for people with disabilities in the workplace. Before starting inclusively, Ross operated as a team Sergeant for a small Special Operations team in the US Army, obtain a master’s degree in Strategic Studies and worked with the US State Department, nonprofit organizations and local governments. After suffering a traumatic brain injury while on an airborne operation Ross was medically retired from the service and struggled to find a meaningful occupation that included his needed accommodations. Ross then found Inclusively and we’re proud to say he is the first job seeker to be hired through our platform. Ross now leads partnerships and amplifies the work of nonprofits, universities, vocational rehab, and government agencies. So Ross, I’ll let you take it from here.

Ross Barchacky 1:29
Thanks so much, Tiffany. I appreciate it. Let’s go ahead and dive in. Thank you all again for coming. So the training objectives that we’re going to talk about today are pretty straightforward. First of all, we want to teach you about the accommodations process in the workplace, how it works, and how it compares to the process you might already be familiar with in higher education. To equip you with the information you need to look beyond accommodations to the actual type of culture that you want to look for in an employer. And then we’ll also be focusing on universal design, what it is and how it can help you. And finally, we want this webinar to empower you to choose opportunities where you’re going to be valued and supported. So let’s get started. So first, let’s review the accommodations in the higher education. And we’re going to start with disclosure. The first step towards obtaining reasonable accommodations and higher education is oftentimes disclosure, usually to a designated disability service office. And this can be in the form of submitting an application in which you disclose or discuss that you have a disability or in maybe an attending a meeting, it’s important to understand that the student is responsible for initiating the process and higher education. So if the student doesn’t disclose, meaning if they don’t contact the Disability Services offices and then follow through with the application process, then they’re probably not going to receive reasonable accommodations, even if they’ve received similar services and accommodations in their prior K through 12. Education. The disability service office handles the process from disclosure through approval and then on to implementation, which means that even if you have discussed issues with a professor or a TA, they’re likely not going to be able to make any modifications or accommodations unless and until you’ve gone through the application and approval process with the separate Disability Services Office. And then once approved, professors and other parties necessary to accommodate implementation are notified of the approved accommodations, but not the specific disability issue. Usually, there’s a letter that’s requested by the student and then generated by the disability service office that goes to the professors that lists out the approved accommodations. So what are typical accommodations in higher education? Well, they generally focus on access to physical and digital spaces, and modifications to testing. Examples would be time and a half a smaller, less distracting environments for exams. The use of assistive technologies accessible textbooks offer a few examples, in a key difference between higher education and K through 12 Is that in most instances, for higher education, the content of the course or program is not actually modified or adjusted. So you need to take the same courses have the same prerequisites as any other student. And there’s usually no reduction in the number of problems to be completed, for example, or the numbers of papers to be written. Instead, the focus is on providing access through accommodations. And since there’s a limited understanding by a lot of professors, and other instructors of disability issues, because remember, they’re not informed of the disability issues in the letter they received from the disability services office. There can be some misunderstandings about accommodations, and that’s often there’s often not much flexibility, your creativity and figuring out exactly what accommodations would really work for this specific student in this specific course. In Final Students may be hesitant still, even when there’s been so much progress toward progress towards understanding disability. Students may be hesitant to request accommodations because of a fear of stigma, which is still a really, really still a very, really, still a very real thing. In terms of documentation, which is usually required for accommodations in higher education, it’s important to note that evaluations can be very time consuming and costly. Some students may have had evaluations throughout their academic career, but many students may not have a history of diagnoses or a disability or have a history receiving accommodations. So documentation requirements can be burdensome. College is expensive to students and their families. And they might simply not have the resources to get newer updated documentation, in essence, preventing eligible students from accessing appropriate and reasonable accommodations. And we know that many students with chronic disabilities, which are not expected to change may not be in regular treatment. So think of someone with a learning disability. students with autism students with ADHD. Still, they can be expected to seek and pay for treatment and evaluation simply to support an ongoing accommodation. Compliance in higher education is an important issue because it’s an acknowledgement that accommodations and accessibility are not just nice things to have, but legal requirements, but colleges and universities often focus primarily on compliance on the legal requirements rather than the universal access, we think of compliance is really the ground floor the minimum requirement. So if we move beyond compliance beyond the legal minimum requirements, we focus on designing environments, programs and materials with accessibility in mind in order to be fully accessible. Think of accessibility as the blueberries and blueberry muffins. If you try to put the blueberries in the muffins after the muffins have already been baked, it’s a little hard to make it work. And it’s much easier to put the blueberries in at the beginning. And the same follows for designing programs with accessibility in mind, the easier it’s much easier to do if you plan for accessibility straight from the beginning, as opposed to trying to implement it later on when you already have all your processes in place. Compliance mandates the minimum what the institution must provide and not what they need to address to actually build the universal accessibility for all students. And we know that colleges and universities vary in their own commitments to accessible accessibility and universal design. Some are making efforts to build accessibility into their programs, their practices, sites, digital content, live events, and some aren’t. So I’d like to take everyone just take a moment and pause to consider what your own higher education experience has been like. Think of your introduction to the university, your living experiences, your first discussions with the disability services office, your first semester, the exams. If you use accommodations, Were there times when the accommodations process was smooth. Was it easy to understand from the beginning, was the process for notifying instructors clear and laid out. Now Were there times when the process was more difficult? Or were there times when you felt like you did not receive appropriate accommodations? I’d like you to keep those lived experiences in the back of your mind as we shift the conversation to the workplace and workplace accommodations. So recently, there’s been an increased interest by organizations in making accessibility a key part of the diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Much of that work goes beyond the compliance based approach to reasonable disability related accommodations that’s found in most college and university settings, and instead looks to establish an inclusive culture for colleagues and customers with disabilities. This shift in perspective is changing from a focus solely on individual accommodations for employees who disclose a disability, to creating environments and processes, which are designed from the beginning to be accessible to all. This shift can be better understood, if we look at two different models that we’re going to go over here on the next slide, the social model of disability, and the medical model. So many people think of disability primarily as a medical issue using a medical model of disability. But we’re seeing a shift a recognition that disability is a social issue, best understood by using a social model of disability. So what does all that mean? Well, in the medical model, disability is a deficiency or an abnormality. While in the social model disability is a difference. In the medical model, disability is a negative. In the social model, being disabled in and of itself is neutral, neither good nor bad, just different In the medical model, the remedy for any disability related problems is the cure or the normalization of the individual, in essence getting rid of the disability. In contrast, in the social model, the remedy for any disability related problems is a change in the interaction between the individual and society. So not a change to the individual, but a change to the interaction between the individual in the environment in between the individual and other people. Is the agent of remedy in the medical model is a professional, or an expert who affects the arrangements between the individual and society. You can think of a doctor or therapist or an evaluator who makes professional recommendations where the accommodations administrator and the university disability services offices who provides an approved accommodations but in the social model, the agent of remedy can be the individual themselves. The person with a disability can be an advocate, or it can be anyone who affects the arrangement between the individual and society, anyone. And finally, in the medical model, the goal is remedy or remediation. The goal is fixing the person, the individual with a disability. Whereas in the social model, the goal is access access to services work experiences. So in the social model, we are primarily focusing on accessibility.

Ross Barchacky 11:30
So let’s take a look at disability as an asset. First things first, remember that you’re not alone, there has been an increased access to students with disabilities and higher education across the board, including graduate and professional schools, resulting in more and more students with disabilities with all types of disabilities now prepared to enter the workforce. And many of these students have had a history of accommodations and know what they need to be successful. And while there’s much work to be done, we can definitely take a moment to acknowledge that the disability rights movement has resulted in greater representation for people with disabilities and media, in the workplace, and in almost all aspects of society. And dei initiatives have started to include accessibility, resulting in hiring initiatives focusing on disability inclusion, along with other dei issues. We can also acknowledge that the progress that has been made in education and employment for people with disabilities at the same time that we acknowledged that disability is one of the most underserved markets despite being the largest minority population in the world. When we’re thinking of markets, we’re thinking of the labor market is in the number of qualified people with disabilities who are employed or seeking employment. But we’re also thinking of the customer base the purchasing power of people with disabilities. Companies don’t want to lose out on the business opportunities created when they build inclusive cultures and products. Remember that one in four people have or will experience disability during their working years. And 62% of employees with disabilities have non apparent disabilities, it’s very likely you’re working alongside many people right now that have disabilities that may or may not be be accommodated for them. So you need to remember that you’re an asset right now as you prepare to enter the job market. It’s essential that you remember and fully understand that your perspective and talents and experiences as a person with a disability are part of what makes you an asset to your future employer, not in spite of your disability, but because of your disability. So ask yourself, how does your experience and your perspective as a person with a disability add value to you as a prospective employee? Do you know what you need to be successful? What are your strengths? Think of problem solving abilities, focus, determination, grit? You want to reframe your disability as an asset rather than a problem? What do you bring to the table? What does your experience and perspective as a person with a disability allow you to do that other people might not be able to do or may not be able to do as well? So let’s look at a few examples and begin to frame disability as an asset for you and for your future employers. Let’s take a look at autism. How is autism an asset? Autistic people are often able to learn a great deal about subjects or areas of intense interest to them. They can become subject matter experts in these areas often at early ages. And people with autism are frequently known for their straightforward language, in honest direct interactions with other people. If you have autism, you can describe how you give direct clear feedback and you don’t generally engage in underhanded or insincere office politics. That’s an asset to employers. Similarily individuals with autism often have a strong added ability rather to identify patterns and complex data. Along with being able to process and understand details. These are key assets to a future employer, so make sure that you understand them and highlight them in your interviews. Similarily a hallmark of ADHD is creative outside the box problem solving. You want to have creative problem solvers at the table to minimize groupthink and to come up with new solutions. And people with ADHD can show great focus on areas of interest or on interactive tasks. Often students with ADHD have difficulty maintaining focus in a classroom, but are able to maintain focus at a high level once they move into an internship or a clinical setting where they’re more actively involved rather than sitting and listening. And there’s a clear connection between people with ADHD and entrepreneurship, again, showing this connection between ADHD and creativity and problem solving. We see a consistent connection between dyslexia in this whole list of positive attributes including creative problem solving, the ability to see the big picture and making connections with others. And yet many people still focus primarily on the challenges of dyslexia. Think back on the medical model versus the social model. They see these Dyslexia as a disability related to learning to read, but don’t at the same time recognize that there’s a whole list of positive attributes connected to dyslexia. And research continues to confirm that dyslexia itself can foster creativity, invention, and discovery. So Ross, how do you do all of that? How do you tell your own story and make sure that your framing disability is an asset and that story? So I’d say you remember to highlight how your own experience gives you a unique perspective on how to connect with what we know is a diverse workforce and a diverse customer base. Think about empathy and your connections with others? Do you feel that you have greater empathy for others and understanding of diverse perspectives? Are you an out of the box thinker? Think of how you problem solve? Have you had to be creative to learn how to navigate inaccessible environments or inaccessible processes? And how has your experience as a person with a disability, that you have the perseverance and grit to succeed in the workplace? Employers are starting to learn that there’s a return on investment for companies with Inclusive workforces in terms of increased productivity, loyalty of employees, creativity and empathy. It’s also very important to go and do your own research to find out about the values and culture of potential employers. Is the company committed to diversity inclusion? Does the company’s mission statement reflect a commitment to inclusion? does it mention disability inclusion? Specifically? Do they have an employee resource group or a business resource group dedicated to employees with disabilities? Is there a mentorship program or mentoring opportunities, and look through the company literature website to see indicators that the company openly highlights and supports employees with disabilities are people with disabilities represented in management? Because that representation can make a huge impact on overall culture. You want to look and see if information about the process of requesting accommodations is included right on their job posting or any other company communications, you really want to have an idea of the company’s commitment to inclusion before you accept the job offer. So the process for requesting accommodations in the workplace is often very similar to the process in higher education. It usually starts with a disclosure to either human resources or to a supervisor that you identify is a person with a disability. And it usually requires some type of documentation, identifying the diagnoses, or providing information related to the function or issues in the workplace. And similar to higher ed, the process for obtaining accommodations in the workplace is interactive and should be included, or it should include a clear appeal process along with periodic reviews to ensure that the accommodations are appropriately implemented, and that they’re effective once implemented.

Ross Barchacky 19:15
It’s also important to remember that you can request accommodations in the hiring process and interview process. You want to be able to present yourself in the best possible manner and it’s important that your possible employer has the opportunity to accurately assess your qualifications, which may mean that you have accommodations in place for the entire process. should focus on the position in what do you need to be successful. It might be as simple and straightforward as periodic breaks. Or maybe you have a service animal or changes to the interview schedule. You may require ASL translating services or accessible furniture or digital platform. Remember that you’re entitled to reasonable accommodations under the ADEA if you need the accommodations, but don’t ask for them. You really not providing the employer with an accurate under Standing of your potential.

Ross Barchacky 20:06
So let’s take a moment to talk about universal design we talked about a little bit at the beginning. So we’ve talked about how organizations are starting to look beyond individual accommodations. Think of the medical model two, a way of creating a more accessible environment. From the start, let’s look at Universal Design and how it’s helping to build environments that are inclusive for all. So first of all, what is it? Well, at its heart Universal Design is simply the process of creating products, services, and presentations that are accessible to people with a wide range of abilities, disabilities and other characteristics. Think back to the example of making blueberry muffins is similar to making accessible environments, very difficult to add the accessibility or the blueberries. At the end of the process, it’s best to plan for accessibility from the start, it’s a lot easier. We come across a lot of examples, a lot of examples of Universal Design in our day to day life right now. Think about curb cuts, which are designed to provide access for wheelchair users, but which are used by people every day for pushing strollers or grocery carts or people you know, going for a run. Siri on your phone was also initially developed for use for people with disabilities. But it’s now commonly used by lots of people without disabilities. Speech to text software was used by people with disabilities who are unable to manually input data. And now they’re commonly used by doctors to quickly add progress notes, or by students drafting a paper, there’s millions of uses that are not directly related to a disability. In the workplace, we see similar evidence of universal design, including accessibility options for digital platforms, physical and environmental changes, such as ramps and accessible workplaces and options for workplaces to provide for reduced distractions. And universal design doesn’t just focus on accessibility, but also on usability and dignity, which are very important is an example imagine a workplace where there’s an accessible entrance, but the entrances around the back of the building, maybe near the garbage or the trash. So most employees enter the place of work by walking through a Grand Lobby, but somebody who uses a wheelchair might have a very different experience. So we’re looking to provide not just accessible options, but also usable in dignified options. A couple other questions to ask about would be whether or not the environment is supportive of growth and success. What do they do prefer professional development? And is the culture in the organization welcoming for people with disabilities, and by this we mean more than an accessible front door. So let’s shift gears a bit to talk a little bit about specifically how we heard Inclusively are working to change the way that disability hiring and workplace accommodations are conducted. So here, Inclusively, candidates have access to job postings with companies that are already truly committed to disability inclusion and providing accommodations throughout the hiring process. We call accommodations and Inclusively success enablers. Candidates can identify the success enablers they need right from the beginning, the focus is on transparency, access and dignity. The companies that list their jobs on inclusive list platform have made a commitment to disability inclusion and accessibility, and are already engaged in training on inclusion and universal design. Our approach is based on a social model of disability where everyone has responsibility for building an inclusive work culture with a focus on accessibility, usability and universal design. In the inclusive platform creates community and candidate networking opportunities along with ongoing opportunities for learning. Because candidates from inclusively will already have been identified as a person with a disability, we are making sure that the process of putting reasonable accommodations or success enablers in place happens at the beginning of the hiring process. We also have a success enablement team available to help companies with questions about accommodations in the workplace. Additionally, companies are trained on creating inclusive and accessible interview and hiring processes to ensure that candidates with disabilities have an opportunity to compete and level the playing field for all candidates. So inclusively is really working towards solving underemployment and unemployment of people with disabilities with a focus on access to success enablers, ongoing company training, and a commitment to meaningful disability inclusion throughout the entire process, from job postings through production. companies receiving training on the use of universal design to build inclusive workplace environments and cultures, and focusing on the importance of planning for access from the beginning and not as an afterthought. We match care Let’s with companies who can offer what they need in terms of success enablers, and workplace accommodations. So in essence, we’re working towards the creation of one front door open to all. All right, I would definitely like to open it up to any questions that anyone might have on any of the content that we went over today. So I will hand it back over to Tiffany.

Tiffany Meehan 25:27
Great, great, we have quite a few questions coming in, which is amazing. So we’ll start with the first one here. Someone asked about finding work from home options while adjusting to a newly acquired disability, how can they get started?

Ross Barchacky 25:43
Sure, I think that question or the answer, rather, is definitely going to depend on where you are in your career journey. You know, if you’re a student, or you’ve taken a break from a workplace, or maybe you’re trying to enter into a new field, if the maybe the career field you had prior to did not offer remote work, like maybe I want to say like nursing, but even I think there’s opportunities for nurses as well nowadays, but it would really depend. So we have really the full scale. So if you want internship opportunities, we offer internships that are nationwide, they don’t have state restrictions on them. For you know, a multitude of different areas that you might want to get involved in. We also have training and upskilling opportunities, if you’re just getting into a new career. So say you’re getting into tech, and you want to learn to code or something like that you could, you know, work with one of inclusive lease partners to help get certified in what you need. We offer full time positions and part time positions from work. So depending on whether or not you’re collecting disability, and maybe you can only accommodate part time work, we have those offers as well. So it really depends on you know, what it is that you’re looking for career wise, but we have plenty of opportunities. remote work is the number one requested accommodation on exclusively, I think, to the surprise of no one. Great question.

Tiffany Meehan 27:08
So the next question, and we had two questions from people here without autism. So our so this person asked, I’m autistic and you clear on instructions and job duties. I asked for written instructions and also an org chart but haven’t received it? How do I didn’t get adequate onboarding. So despite, despite starting in August, I’m still finding out things they should have told me before. So I guess this is more of a two part, how would you go about asking for accommodations as someone with autism? And then also, what accommodations would you request?

Ross Barchacky 27:45
Sure, that’s a great question. And one that I get asked a lot, because a lot of the times when you are going to the workplace, there’s there’s still people having that that fear that that bias from people with disabilities, and so they might not feel comfortable disclosing their disability until later on, until they know they have the job, until they know that, you know, it’s a place where they can trust their direct leadership. And so it really differs for everyone. Other disabilities also might be late onset, you know, you might be 20 years into a career and get into a car accident or, you know, gain any other type of disability and have to request accommodation. So my my first recommendation would be ask for help. Today, you know, go go down to you know, your HR and say, I would like to disclose my disability. And you’ll be able to point you in the correct direction as far as who you need to go and what forms you need to go. requesting an accommodation in the workplace isn’t something that has to happen during the hiring process. It’s something that we promote to happen here inclusively during the hiring process, because we enable our employer partners to understand the benefits of doing that. But not all employers do. So I would definitely say HR is your first best step towards getting that. And then I would also bring it up if you feel comfortable to your direct supervisor as well, just so that they can better understand.

Tiffany Meehan 29:11
Hey, awesome, and I know that our team was talking a little bit about this before having some accommodations, like noise cancelling headphones and things like that. So if you maybe could share some things, some examples for everyone.

Ross Barchacky 29:27
So some success enablers for individuals that might have autism. Yes, that Yeah. So, you know, another I hate to be dodging all these questions. But you know, autism is one of those things where it is a spectrum and you know, it can be different for everyone, but some of the more common ones like you said, noise cancelling headphones, reminders for the interview process that might be getting the interview questions ahead of time so that you have time to prepare, it might be not doing a panel interview and instead doing one on one Um, it might be having a quiet place within the office to where you can conduct work if necessary. You know, being able to bring sensory friendly items to work, there’s a whole list and it would depend on really the the industry that you’re in, right, your accommodations, if you work construction will be a lot different than if you, you know, work from home. But we definitely have a really good listing on our website of all the different success enablers on there, so that you can get some ideas. And then we also have a community page, to where you can talk to other individuals who utilize similar success enablers and get ideas from them of hey, what worked? What didn’t work? What would you recommend? Things like that?

Tiffany Meehan 30:43
Great, thank you. Let’s see another one. So this one is many companies, including the one I work for are tiny with less than 20 employees, they do not have an HR department, let alone a disability office. So how would you go about getting accommodations?

Ross Barchacky 31:00
Sure, yeah. Well, I guess that would depend on the organization, but whoever it is, that would represent, you know, within your organization, legal payroll, or anything like that. So if it’s a close knit organization, it would probably be the CEO, if they don’t have anybody directly under him, that would be the next place to go. You know, regardless of the size of the organization, if it’s 50,000 people across the globe, where you and one other person, that other person is still required to give you reasonable workplace accommodations. So you know, definitely, without knowing the specifics, I would definitely say, you know, whoever it is that that holds the decision making ability within your organization that it wouldn’t be unreasonable for you to go up and interact with and, you know, if, if this didn’t answer your question, by all means, Tiffany is gonna put my contact information in the end. So I’d be happy to talk more specifics with you to help you out as well.

Tiffany Meehan 31:57
Awesome. Um, let’s see another one. What is the best? What is the best time to disclose a disability? And what are some pros and cons of disclosing during an interview? Yeah.

Ross Barchacky 32:13
I guess it would depend on the employer, right, and the culture. So as I mentioned before, you know, the employers that we work with here at inclusively we specifically work with to help them understand the importance of having that transparent conversation upfront, so that everyone can be set up for success, right from the beginning, accommodation we brought on board, there’s no, there’s no delay of oh, you’ve been there three weeks, and now you’re requesting an accommodation, it’s going to take two months to get. So we definitely recommend doing it right away. That being said, every employer is different. And so if you have an employer where you’ve gone, you’ve researched them and you feel sort of on the fence about whether or not this is a safe place to disclose, well, then that’s going to be a personal call a personal column, whether or not that’s the type of excuse me organization that you want to work for, or to if you know, maybe that’s one of your only options, and you need to work for that organization. I guess that that would probably be a judgment call. But, you know, I definitely understand the desire for wanting to wait till later in the process to address you know, what accommodations you need in the workplace, you don’t want to be weeded out. And so I would say still, the latest that you can do it without implementing or without interfering with its implementation, right? If you need a screen reader, the day to tell them that you need screen reading software, the day that you’re telling me to ergonomical desk or a handicap parking space isn’t day one when you show up to work. So as soon as you feel comfortable to where disclosing isn’t going to negatively impact you in any way with an employer, I would say would be the best recommendation.

Tiffany Meehan 33:59
Okay, great. Let’s see. There’s a bunch of questions coming in. So let me see really quick for partners. Let’s ask What does inclusively look like for partners?

Ross Barchacky 34:13
Sure. So great question. So inclusively. We partner with all different types of organizations, universities, nonprofits, governmental organizations, vocational rehabilitation, veteran service organizations. Essentially, if there’s someone out there providing career services or resources to individuals from this community, inclusively offers them the opportunity to post any of their available opportunities within our site. We help with marketing we also help with individuals that their job seekers to be able to come on create a free platform or a free account rather with inclusively to where they can be connected with these employers where they don’t have to worry about situations like that the when should I disclose and whatnot. There’s also a place where they can come on and share things in our community portal. So we really look at ourselves as a connective hub are the connective tissue between all these organizations across the country that are doing this great work. And we can be sort of the Nexus where they interact with employers.

Ross Barchacky 35:21
If there are, if there’s anyone out there representing an organization that we don’t already partner with, I’d be happy to, you know, you can send me an email when Tiffany puts my contact information in the chat. And I’d be more than happy to sit down and talk specifics, depending on what type of organization it is that you’re representing.

Tiffany Meehan 35:39
So there’s a question in here, I work best with natural light, but I haven’t worked where there are any Windows is natural light, something you can ask for as an accommodation?

Ross Barchacky 35:47
Sure. Yeah, definitely. I mean, if it’s if it’s directly related to, you know, your your disability, so for instance, maybe a mood disorder or some other, you know, mental health concern, or vitamin D deficiency, I’m not really sure. You know, what it is that you would be referring to, but if it’s something that can directly alleviate sort of your disability, or help to accommodate it, by all means, ask for it. And, you know, I don’t think depending on the industry, I don’t think that’d be something that would be unreasonable. For sure, I would say, and I didn’t mention this in the talk, but sometimes it’s a give and take when requesting accommodations. So they might say, we don’t have a place where you know, there’s no offices with windows in this organization. You might be able to come back and say, Okay, well then what about like a modified schedule? You know, what if for one hour a day I go work out, if I go to the park with my laptop, you know, are getting a break every hour to go and take a 10 minute walk outside, stretch your legs, get some sunlight, right? So when you’re advocating for yourself in the workplace, it might be necessary to not look at it in terms of black and white of either you accommodate me with this or you don’t it might be a matter of how can we work together to make this amicable for both of us to work out for both sides?

Tiffany Meehan 37:15
So the next question is, are there opportunities for non tech jobs? I’m autistic, but not a techie, I would like remote work, but not. But for not remote work. I would like to be a public speaker and bnmc.

Ross Barchacky 37:28
Sure, definitely. I mean, you know, remote work in the tech industry, I think goes hand in hand, because there’s some of the original remote roles. And I think for individuals from that part of the community, generally, there’s a lot of recruitment that happens in those larger tech agencies, for sure. But there are so many jobs that can be remote on our on our platform, you know, whether you wanted to get into finance, or marketing or talent, or you know, anything, as far as public speaking opportunities, while we, we don’t advertise things like that as full time jobs on our platform, I don’t think we currently have anything. One good place for that, if you’re looking for like paid speaking opportunities would probably be within the community. It’s free to people who set up an account here on exclusively, and you can go on there and you know, you can network with individuals and you know, say this is my area of expertise. This is the area that I you know, look for public speaking opportunities and, and make yourself available. But for sure, if that’s the sort of industry they’re interested in, we do have ones that are related to it, you know, maybe things in communication, or public relations or partnerships, you know, where you’d be able to utilize your community, your communication skills, in a more full term capacity.

Tiffany Meehan 39:00
Thank you, and I’m gonna drop right now some links in the chat for everyone to check out. And so there was another one on here one second. There’s so many questions, which is great. Thank you, everyone, for dropping your questions. I’m going to save these so we can probably get we can reach out to you directly after two minutes. So there’s a question about how are we kind of working with the companies to ensure that they don’t discriminate, and how do we pick the jobs? Or how do they pick the jobs that they have on inclusively? So kind of more of that process?

Ross Barchacky 39:46
Sure. Great questions. So when we start working with an employer, we have different phases that we bring them through and the initial phase is really laying the groundwork for becoming an inclusive organization specifically around discipline. So we offer them training, we do coaching and consultation, we look at their accommodations process, we look at what applicant tracking system that they use, you know, how do people request accommodations right now, when they’re looking for a job? How do people that work at your company already, that develop a disability or decide to disclose it get accommodations? Do you have an erg? So there’s a lot of things that we walk through with the employers pulling upon best practices from across all industries. And help them really find something that works organically with their specific organization and industry. What was the last part of that? Question, Tiffany?

Tiffany Meehan 40:41
Um, just like how, how do we make sure that we have, like, a good diverse selection of jobs?

Ross Barchacky 40:48
Oh, sure. Yeah. So it’s, it’s, it’s a process, right? Disability Inclusion is something that has been looked at from this compliancy model for a long time. And so a lot of organizations are structured like that. So a lot of the times when we bring out a new partner with inclusively, when we’re working with them, is, you know, any good organization will do, we’ll do a small pilot program, or we’ll do something we’ll work with a specific entity within the organization, to develop the processes to develop the plan for the rollout, and make sure that everything is working well, before they move it out to the larger organizations, many of the organizations we work with are fortune 1000 companies, their giant global conglomerate. So it’s, it’s it’s a slower moving machine. But we do not put limitations. It’s, in fact, it inclusively, we highly recommend that they make all of their jobs available, because that’s exactly what we don’t want is for people’s unconscious bias to come into play when they’re when you know, there are sites out there that offer, you know, post 10 jobs for three months, you know, and it’s this this amount of money. But what that does is it causes the employer to say, Well, what do my jobs are best for someone with a disability, which is a situation nobody wants anybody to be in. And so here it inclusively, when our employer partners partner with us, everything is included, everything is, you know, unlimited with users and seats and job postings, because we don’t want them to have to even think about making that decision. So to answer your questions, some of our employers when they come on, we’ll start small with a small pilot program with somewhere where we’ve historically seen success. And then we’ll go in, we’ll move out as we develop what processes work specifically for that organization.

Tiffany Meehan 42:43
Great response. Here’s one about er G’s, which I know we’ve been working on. So I co lead an erg for nurture neurodivergent folks curious about what you’ve seen ERGs do to support neurodivergent? Folks?

Ross Barchacky 42:59
Yeah, I think the most important thing that ERGs support in any context is a voice. A lot of the times within these organizations disabilities when something people didn’t feel comfortable talking about it, even if they felt like disclosing, you never know who’s gonna feel what way. So a lot of the times it’s kept up themselves, but ERGs give them a safe place to come out when they don’t just have a voice in a room, they have a voice to the ear of the leadership of the organization. And they have a really important role in helping to direct how that organization implements disability inclusion. And so to answer your question, I guess it would really be for advocating for the individuals within that organization. So for instance, if you’re working for a disability ERG, and there was something, let’s say, I think he said, individuals that were neurodivergent, you know, maybe after, you know, doing a poll, because I see a lot of ERGs do that they can they can ask for things from individuals within the organization and get better results than maybe HR can. And so maybe they’ll collect data from the employees there and the members of their group and say, I think one of the best things that would work is a quiet place for people to conduct their work or maybe a sensory room, right. It’s something that the organization doesn’t have. People have asked onesies and twosies for it. But if you come together as an erg and say, This is important to the success of the organization, here’s why. And you have the ear of the leadership, you’re probably more likely to have it happen. So I would say that ERGs are definitely instrumental and incredibly important in rolling out and changing how that organization views disabilities. I know sort of a roundabout way so happy to narrow in on that.

Tiffany Meehan 44:50
No, I think that’s good. You did mention about check this one. Yeah, you mentioned inclusively partners with companies who provide certification like coding If we’re pursuing UX or UI design, how would we gain access to these programs?

Ross Barchacky 45:07
Yeah, so we house all of those opportunities, whether they’re internships, apprenticeships, upskilling, and training. They’re all housed on our site. So you can go in there. And when you create your free, inclusively profile, when you go in, you can search for your jobs, you can search by job type, and it’ll say, enter their internships, apprenticeships, training opportunities, excuse me, and you can search directly for those. We have them both local and in person, or local in person and virtual. So depending on what works for you, and what industry and company you’re looking to work with. But we do have, you know, we have everything from people that wanted to get into graphic design from people that want to get into tech and coding from people that want to get into project management. A lot of these skills are great specifically, you know, talking through the lens of university students, internships and upskilling. Opportunities could be great. You could come on to inclusively with a degree in computer science, you know, go and get your project management certification from one of these organizations, and then also set up your internship and your full time job all through inclusively without ever leaving.

Tiffany Meehan 46:22
So another question is, I’ve not heard any mention of people who are legally blind from my experience and those other VAB. Folks, it’s, it’s hard to retain employment, how can employment gaps be addressed on resumes? And how to address the need for additional time to complete tasks?

Ross Barchacky 46:38
Yeah. Oh, that’s, that’s a great question. And I’m sorry, I didn’t get to that in, in the presentation itself, gaps in employment, frequent breaks in careers, non traditional career path late start to a career, you know, these are the hallmark signs of everyone from this community. Right, there’s been barriers to employment. And there’s a lot of hiring practices nowadays, that just feel like you get weeded out, you know, likely before you ever even got in front of anybody, because you weren’t the ideal candidate, you didn’t have the ideal attributes that they were looking for, that they had posted in that position. And so when we work with our employer partners, that is a big part of what we teach. We have training specifically for recruiters and hiring managers. And that is a big section of what we go over there is specifically how to address those those gaps, right? And how to really identify them or interpret them. And understand, you know, that, hey, this is a process, maybe someone had a loved one that they had to take care of, or maybe someone had surgery and they needed to recover. So instead of just putting everybody through, you know, sort of this square hole. You know, they take a look at everyone holistically and individually. It’s great question.

Tiffany Meehan 48:01
Okay, so another question, which is a great question here, does inclusively have advisors with different types of disabilities? And do that, I guess, do they ever visit? The companies

Ross Barchacky 48:14
does inclusively have advisors? Like for specificities for specific disabilities? Is that the question?

Tiffany Meehan 48:20
Yes. So we do work with like Christina Malin, who is at Microsoft, and she has a limb difference. So she’s advised a lot for just different companies and employers and even our job seekers.

Ross Barchacky 48:33
Yeah. And on top of that, we really lean on the partnership, I mean, represented with all throughout our organization here at inclusively with individuals with disabilities, of course. But then we also leverage the organizations that are out there and been doing this work for 50 100 years. Take AFP, for example, the American Foundation for the Blind. You know, when you’re talking specifically about individuals that are blind or have low vision, they’re leading the field. You know, they have decades of research and things like that. And so we can lean on those partners when we’re working with an employer that’s maybe making their first hire for somebody that’s blind and needs a little bit of extra help walking through the process. So if it’s something here that doesn’t get addressed directly in, you know, really the the training and the initial ongoing, the inclusively continues to offer support. So when we sign on with an organization, it’s not just prepare them, have them do the training, and then they start hiring individuals, it goes way past that. So if they have something come up months down the road, like, like I mentioned, like that individual who is maybe blind and applied for the position got hired, and now they’re realizing that there’s issues with maybe one of the tech tools that they use, we can link them in with a partner that you know, is a leader in their space, for sure. It’s that connective tissue that I was talking about before that we’re able to I’m sort of leverage the work that everyone else across the country is doing, to be able to get all these employers set up for success. Because at the end of the day, that’s the goal of all of our organizations.

Tiffany Meehan 50:11
Awesome. And then there’s a question here, I’m just going to drop a blog post that we have about SSI. And we, we worked with a disability employment attorney. And so she offered a really, really good resource for people. Someone asked if they have a diagnosis, but they’re not verified on state disability. How would they go through the accommodations process with their employer, so I will drop the link there as well. And that’s, that has a lot of great info.

Ross Barchacky 50:40
Sure. And if if you read over that, or anyone else reads over it, and you still have questions, by all means, once again, Tiffany’s will put my contact information out there, so you can always reach out, we can get you more specific help for what you’re looking for.

Tiffany Meehan 50:55
So let’s see some more. I think we’ve gone over when to disclose because we talk about, you know, working with inclusively, we’d love to have you disclose upfront, because then your interview can be, you know, just completely accessible and accommodated. And

Tiffany Meehan 51:22
so how can Autistics be advocates for remote work in IT support when some companies have been arguing for on site work?

Ross Barchacky 51:32
Well, that’s the real trick isn’t as getting them to view remote work as a reasonable accommodation. You know, people with disabilities have been arguing for remote work for I mean, since the advent of the Internet, and and probably before. And so it can be a process depending on who your employer is. It’s the reason that here at inclusively, you know, the employers that we work with specifically, we get them to understand that remote work is an accommodation. So even if the position isn’t listed as remote to everybody, it should still be taken into consideration when talking about whether or not it’s going to set you up for the most success within your job. So I would say, one, if the employer that you’re looking for is one of our partners here and inclusively, it’s really easy just listed as one of your success enablers. And if not, definitely, I would probably show up with ammunition, right? Or something that you can use to show that the greatest organizations are taking disability inclusion seriously. And using remote work as an accommodation is one of the main ways that they do that. And then, you know, just having sort of your own personal justification for why that helps you right? If it’s because you can focus more on work when you’re not having to analyze social situations, or you can focus more on work when there’s not sensory distractions, right, those are things that the employer should see as benefits. And if they don’t, then that’s something that you’re going to have to take up the chain, unfortunately, right, because they are required by law to do it. And so, you know, hopefully it doesn’t, it never comes to that, of course, that’s not the goal, the goal is to get these organizations to understand that there’s a better way. But if necessary, definitely that’s what HR legal compliance, that’s what they’re all there for, it’s their their job is to make sure that you get what you need. So that’s what I would say, Come up with your justification, come up with sort of your your ammunition, there’s a lot of information on our community about what other employers are doing and the benefit to accommodating individuals with disabilities to the organization itself. And, you know, just sort of go in there and make it you know, make it an offer they can’t refuse, right, something that they can’t say no to because you have all the information in front of you.

Tiffany Meehan 53:56
So well, two more questions. The first one, I know we’re running a little short on time. But first one here is how do I become an employer and get listed on

Ross Barchacky 54:07
Sure. So the first step would definitely be shoot us a message. So you can go either to the website, there’s a Contact Us or requesting a demo. You can also reach out directly to me, and depending on your organization, I’ll make sure that I get you to the correct individual. But generally, that’s the best way to start the process so that we can identify what your goals are as an organization. We can talk about sort of best practices, like I mentioned, that we see here and inclusively and then yeah, get you connected with the right people and get started sooner or later.

Tiffany Meehan 54:44
Awesome. And then let’s see this one. It’s a little bit longer, but this is great question.

Tiffany Meehan 55:02
One second, sorry. Okay, after waiting for years, my name finally came to the top of the list for a service dog, not an emotional support dog. But they said that I had to ask my employer if I could have a dog at work. My employer said no, because she is allergic. And I also teach elementary school kids. So let’s see. So the service dog organization would let me have a dog. But now I found out that legally, my employer has to let me have the dog at work. So please tell me how to handle this type of situation. How do I tell an employer that I’m getting a service dog? And what do I do?

Ross Barchacky 55:39
Oh, boy, this is a horrible question to end on with only three minutes because service dogs are near and dear to my heart, I have my service dog, parent, as well. And particularily, that the there’s a few things you said that make this complicated. One is the fact that the person has said that they have allergies, which is generally not an excuse, right? Someone being afraid of dogs or somebody having allergies, it says right, and Ada, it’s not an excuse to not allow someone to have a service animal. That being said, the fact that you work in an elementary school schools are a little bit different. And it’s sad, you can you can go and look up a bunch of stories about you know, kids and teachers and staff not being able to bring service dogs into schools, and it gets held up in the legal system for years, until people just move schools or give up. It can be it can be really tricky. So I’m gonna I’m going to try and sum this up and saying that having a service dog is your right. That being said, there are ways that employers and especially public entities, like schools and things like that can make it a nightmare. So definitely reach out to me. All right, let’s, let’s, let’s let’s talk about this offline your specific case, but for anyone else out there that has a service dog. Yeah, it’s not an excuse, being allergic, being afraid. You can look all this stuff up and bring it to your employer directly out of the ADA, we have some information on the community as well. So yeah, more than happy to advocate for anyone on a personal level about service dogs.

Tiffany Meehan 57:26
Okay, awesome. I’m gonna go through the questions and kind of save them here. But if anyone I know we’re out of time, so we’ll do our best to get to everyone, like via email. But like Ross said, if you want to send him an email, Ross and, we will absolutely get back to you. And we have a great team who is like super diverse and knows a lot about different types of disabilities. So that’s kind of how we’re operating. And we’ll do our very best to get you responses to all these really, really great questions. And I will be sending out the recording of the webinar with a transcript. Probably tomorrow, latest Monday. So that will go out to everyone here.

Ross Barchacky 58:09
Perfect. Well, thank you all so much for coming. We have another webinar coming up on the 30th that talks about the transition for veterans. So if you’re interested in that you can sign up on the community as well. And then more events are in the works to follow as well. So definitely sign up so that you can stay in touch with all the latest events that we’re doing here at inclusively.

Tiffany Meehan 58:34
Amazing, thank you everyone.