Yesterday I had the honor of speaking on a panel at the 1st Annual Disability Inclusion Opportunity Summit which was hosted at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Headquarters on 300 East Randolph Street in Chicago. The ADA 25 Chicago Opportunity Summit assembled national and local leaders to explore strategies to increase access and inclusion of people with disabilities in the areas of education and employment.
The second day was presented by the Chicagoland Business Leadership Network and the theme revolved around discussing best practices and strategies for recruiting, employing and retaining people with disabilities. The panel I sat on, Closing the Employment Gap, included knowledgeable people from The Sea Glass Group, AbilityLinks, DePaul University, and Health & Disability Advocates. We discussed how employers can diversify their workforce by hiring talented professionals with disabilities. An important aspect of this is looking for talent in the right places.
ITKAN is a member driven professional networking and growth organization with a focus on professionals and aspiring professionals with disabilities within the technology field. While this means getting together with our members monthly to discuss technology and employment trends, ITKAN also works with companies to partner to train to their needs. We will coordinate on-the-job training and internship programs that may or may not be tied to grants or public funding such as National Emergency Grant and Workforce Investment Act. There are great organizations and services out there that will help companies find the right talent, and we are also here to help companies develop processes and documentation for internship and train-to-hire programs for people with disabilities.