Influencer Series: National Organization on Disability

Influencer Series

In this video, NOD's Carol Glazer discusses their work to help employers meet new goals to hire people with disabilities and why it matters for poverty.

The National Organization on Disability (NOD) connects America’s largest, poorest, most chronically unemployed minority group—people with disabilities—to corporate sector jobs in the United States. A Heron investee, their mission is to expand the "full participation and contributions of America's 56 million people with disabilities in all aspects of life." These people are particularly vulnerable, with poverty and unemployment rates more than twice as high as non-disabled adults.

NOD works with employers to help them hire and retain workers with disabilities, providing a path out of poverty for those who have previously been excluded from the mainstream economy. According to NOD president Carol Glazer, “Every employer who has tried this has had enormously positive experiences with it; has come away almost evangelical about the experiences that they had.”

In this interview, Glazer discusses the economic and social barriers that face people with disabilities, and a recent stride toward addressing them: a government mandate that requires most federal contractors set a goal of having individuals with disabilities account for seven percent of their workforce. Watch and read more below about what may be, according to Glazer, “the most far reaching affirmative action and civil rights policy that has ever happened” for people with disabilities.

Success for me would be a workforce that has an abundance of different types of people working with it, including people with disabilities. A workforce that would embrace various abilities, a workforce that would find the talents, tap into those problem solving skills, that tenacity. ... I’d have a world without pity; a world without a sense of nobility if people are rising above a disability. It would be a society in which people looked at others with disabilities as just other people who have their own differences but have something to bring to the table.

Check out more from thought leaders in impact investing and philanthropy in our Influencer Series. This video was shot during a retreat for some of Heron's investees in 2014.


This post was prepared by Nada Kittaneh & Deirdre Hess

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