I feel so lucky that I am still working after 27 years with it and love every day I am alive.
Yesterday, my blog featured an interview of Jon Gundersgaard, a 30-year veteran of the HR/Staffing Industry. Jon’s compelling life story as someone who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and has been in a wheelchair since 1995 initiated a discussion with friend and mentor (pictured at right), Gerry Crispin, Chief Navigator at CareerXroads. Jon’s depiction of a life well lived, and intense productivity as a valued member of his staffing organization, missing work only six months in the last 30 years was provocative. Here was a perfect personification of an industrious, talented element of today’s workforce who served as a critical member of his team and was a productive contributor to society as a whole — despite a serious malady. As a paraplegic, his disability was a sidenote, to an otherwise determined approach to keeping his sourcing and recruiting skills up-to-date with the latest techniques and tools available. The story speaks likewise to a broader workforce effected by blindness, deafness, and other differently-abled categories.
A few days after meeting Jon, the thought of such inspirational people weighed on my mind at the airport as I was returning from the ERE Conference. I texted initial inquiries to Gerry in reference to other individuals within our industry with handicaps that have yet to be highlighted. The text evolved into an in-depth dialogue that broached related topics such as the candidate side of the equation; wounded veterans, deaf or blind software engineers, etc.
Gerry’s interest also stemmed from a gig he did with his colleague Mark Mehler with their client, National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology, under an IBM grant nearly a decade ago. NTID graduates were, at the time, not benefiting by the runup in interest in hiring new engineering and computer science majors. They conducted focus groups with recruiters, students, and working graduates and identified several choke points in the recruiting process that unintentionally filtered disabled candidates out.
As the saying goes, “the rest is history.” The end result was Gerry’s idea to develop a survey with Mark Mehler which was launched this week, designed to answer the following question:
‘Are employers who are approached by jobseekers with requisite skills, experience and knowledge but who happen to have a disability, prepared to assess their ability (and not be distracted by their disability) given the decade-long shift to digital protocols?’To be succinct, “How prepared are you for jobseekers who happen to have a disability?”
Corporate EEO statements routinely professes to focus on hire-ability and not be distracted by disability. The following survey developed by Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler, attempts to see what this “ground floor” looks like to someone with a disability.
We invite corporate staffing leaders and teams to participate in this worthy cause to learn more about industry efforts to address disability candidate experiences. Your answers to questions about how your firm accommodates disabled prospects in the hiring process (not the job itself) will absolutely be kept anonymous.
CareerXroads will be the only one with access to your contact info. Your firm will not ever be listed as having participated. We require your contact info however to ensure a) no duplicates, b) a representative sample is acquired and c) to invite you to a private webinar that will share the results before they are published.
Feel free to contact Gerry Crispin at CareerXroads to address any questions or concerns you may have.
Your assistance in enhancing the viral reach of this effort is to be commended. The special nature of this endeavor has attracted the combined forces of Arbita ACES, Starr Tincup, ERE, John Sumser, and Peopleclick. We thank everyone, including you our audience, for doing your part in forwarding a link on this story to your respective Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, etc. accounts. Old school email to your fellow co-workers and staffing leadership is always a sure fire way to attract with precision as well.