Join us on November 16 for "A Conversation with Jennifer Sheehy"

DC Metro Business Leadership Network Monthly Newsletter: November 2017

Celebrating a Gala Success 

Thank You! 

The DC Metro BLN Gala raised $25,000 which will be targeted to address three most critical areas for both employer and millennial talent

Photo of attendees to the 2017 DC Metro BLN Gala

Thank you to all of our sponsors and guests who made the event a success. Special thanks to EY and especially Misty Koper, DC Metro BLN Board member for hosting us in their beautiful space. The evening was full of networking and making new connections. April Holmes set the tone by describing her commitment to working towards a goal that set her on the path to great success!

Thank You April!

Your inspirational message set the tone for a fabulous evening!

April Holmes

In 2018, we will address these initiatives:

Preparing the Pipeline of college students and graduates for successful career transition by supporting our ongoing ME Collaborative e-Learning for area universities. 

Connecting the Pipeline through a series on industry-specific virtual career fairs that will more effectively and successfully connect talent with careers.

Building the Pipeline will include two 2018 roundtable discussions among employers, universities and students on branding, building trust and professional careers.


audioeye  Concepts - Passion, Creativity, Results

Deloitte  Dinah F. Cohen Consulting, LLC

eSSENTIAL Accessibility EY Building a better working world

Gallaudet University General Dynamics

JBG Smith Lockheed Martin

Northrop Grumman

In-Kind Sponsors

Herson Family Vineyards TCS Interpreting TCS Associates

Table of Contents

2017 DC Metro BLN Programs

Jennifer Sheehy

"A Conversation with Jennifer Sheehy"

ODEP - Office of Disability Employment Policy

November 16, 2017


Accenture - High performance delivered

800 North Glebe Rd (Ballston) Arlington VA 22203

In this session, Jennifer will share the current work being undertaken at ODEP and future initiatives. She will talk about ODEP's Technical Assistance (TA) Centers, its Alliances and the broad resources and research to support the private and federal sector to hire, retain and promote more individuals with disabilities in the workforce. 

This is a unique opportunity to informally engage with Jennifer, share your organization's disability leadership and hear of best practices from others. 

Jennifer Is the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Disability Employment Policy, Department of Labor. The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is the only non-regulatory federal agency that promotes policies and coordinates with employers and all levels of government to increase workplace success for people with disabilities. ODEP's mission is to develop and influence policies and practices that increase the number and quality of employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Its vision: A world in which people with disabilities have unlimited employment opportunities.

Our 2018 Calendar is Under Construction!

Request for Hosts!

If your organization wants to host a 2018 program, please contact Katherine McCary by December 1. Our programs feature the Host's Disability Leadership, a keynote speaker and a Share Forum. Currently we are looking for hosts beginning in January for our  annual events on these topics: Assistive Technology and Accommodations, Supplier Diversity, Millennials, Autism and Mental Health. Other topics will be identified by our members. 

Employer Hosts to Date: 

  • Lockheed Martin, Community Partners
  • Leidos, Wounded Warrior Symposium
  • Deloitte, Employee/Business Resource Groups


2017 Annual Membership Levels

Open Membership offers 12 months of benefits and supports our mission.
New Member Benefit! 
Looking for 2018  In-House Training? Members enjoy SME training at 50% savings! Contact Katherine McCary to learn more!
Level  Annual Fee  Program Registration
 Platinum  $10,000 No Program Fees 
 Diamond  $5,000 $65 
 Gold  $3,000 $65 
 Corporate  $1,500 $65 
 Non-Profit  $750 $65 
 Small Business  $750 $65 
 Individual  $175 $65 
 Individual/SHRM  $150 $65 
 Student  $50 $30 

  • Virtual Program Registration (As Available):          $45
  • Webinar Attendee:                                                 $25
  • Webinar Attendee - Member :                                $15
  • Non-Member Program Fee:                                  $125

DC Metro BLN Board News

DC Metro BLN Discussion Board

It's all about the MEMBER NETWORK! All members have access to the Discussion Board where they can comment on topics including veterans, accommodations, Millennials, community partners and accessibility. We have just added a Supplier Diversity Discussion Board- Log on to join the discussion!

Get Ready for the Holidays and Support the DC Metro BLN!
Amazon smile. You shop

Amazon elves hard at  work to create an incredible holiday shopping experience just for you!  Be sure to shop on AMAZON SMILE and select DC Metro Business Leadership Network as your charity

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization, the DC Metro BLN

How do I shop at AmazonSmile?

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.

Which products on AmazonSmile are eligible for charitable donations?

Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages. Recurring Subscribe-and-Save purchases and subscription renewals are not currently eligible.

Can I use my existing account on AmazonSmile?

Yes, you use the same account on and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

How do I select a charitable organization to support when shopping on AmazonSmile?

On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. We will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at will result in a donation.

New Member Benefit Coming in 2018
In House Training
DC Metro BLN Organizational Members will soon have the opportunity to schedule in-house training at 50% savings! This in-house training (1.5-3 hours) is for your organization exclusively delivered by C5 Consulting, LLC team of experts.  Ideal for your Senior Leadership or Disability ERG, topics include:
  • Disability 101
  • Accessibility
  • The Business Case for Disability Inclusion
  • Building the Talent Pipeline
  • Making Reasonable Accommodations Successful
  • Hiring Managers: What You Need to Know
  • Building an Inclusive Culture
  • Self-ID Benefits Everyone
Contact Katherine McCary to learn more!

In the News - Articles of Interest

Disability Supplier Diversity Program - DSOP US Business Leadership Network

Disability Supplier Diversity Corner 

Katherine McCary
The Hon. Katherine McCary
C5 Consulting, LLC
WBENC Certified Woman- Owned Business Enterprise
USBLN Certified Disability-Owned Business Enterprise

Deaf Entrepreneurship Network
The DC Metro BLN Three-year Disability Supplier Diversity Initiative Committee is headed to Gallaudet University to present and participate in matchmaking sessions 2017 Deaf Entrepreneurship Network Convention November 3-4, 2017 in Washington, DC.  We are excited to meet and network with this community and share information about USBLN DOBE Certification. 

Boeing                   The Resource Network

Accessibility Corner: 

Finding the Digital Customer Experience for People with Disabilities

Eduardo Meza-Etienne
Eduardo Meza-Etienne, Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies
 DC Metro BLN Accessibility Chair

What made the West Virginia Bankers Association ask the DC Metro BLN to present at their recent Retail Banking and Marketing Conference in Morgantown, WV? 

Businesses today are seeking ways to tap into the market of the disability community– the largest and fastest growing diversity dimension in the US with more than $3 trillion spending power of which is $220 billion discretionary spending. Companies including Nordstrom, Starbucks, Marriott and others in the retail industry are leading the way. Financial Services institutions like Wells Fargo and Bank of America, along with a variety of mid-sized and community banks, have begun initiatives focused on both this diverse talent.

Below is a glimpse at some of the areas we discussed during our presentation:

With a population of over 56 million individuals, people with disabilities (PWD) are the largest minority group in North America. Yet they are underrepresented in the traditional banking system. According to recent findings from the FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, more than 5 million households headed by working-age adults with a disability are currently unbanked or underbanked.

Creating sustainable, long-term relationships with this large, untapped market is an opportunity that banks and credit unions can no longer afford to ignore.

Limited financial knowledge has resulted in an unstable relationship between people with disabilities and financial institutions. As institutions work towards enhancing their overall customer experience, there are three areas marketers need to consider in order to build deeper relationships with the PWD market, and inspire trust and confidence in their brands.

Creating Products for PWDs

People with disabilities have reported that their financial needs are not being fully served by the traditional banking system. Financial institutions would benefit from creating and offering banking and insurance products that better meet the needs of this huge segment of the population.

These may include ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts, the tax-advantaged savings accounts for people with disabilities and their families. An additional example would be SunTrust’s Assistive Technology Loan Program, which allows people with disabilities to apply for low-interest loans to facilitate the purchase of costly assistive devices.

Bank of America also offers auto loans for customers with disabilities to facilitate the purchase or refinancing of an accessible vehicle. Even more conveniently, applicants can fill out the form online and receive a decision within a minute.

Inclusive Marketing Approaches

Creating specialized products and services for people with disabilities wouldn’t be an effective strategy for inclusion without the backing of a strong marketing and communications plan that builds brand affinity and promotes product adoption.

People with disabilities are eager to fully participate in the brand experience. As such, financial brands should be leery of portraying them as a special-interest group in advertising and other visual marketing materials.

There are a number of institutions that have made disability a part of their inclusive advertising strategy. Examples of this include Wells Fargo’s “Learning Sign Language” and SunTrust’s 2016 Super Bowl commercial, which features a man in a wheelchair and a girl with Down Syndrome. Inclusive advertising sends a clear message to people with disabilities – you are a valuable part of our brand. Financial services brands can signal their commitment to the PWD market by placing a recognizable and interactive icon in a prominent location on their homepage.

Another way to show commitment to the disabled market is to develop a presence on the Brand Disability Channel. On the channel, financial brands are presented with the opportunity to spotlight products and services relevant to PWDs, such as loan programs, support that is available to customers online, at a call-center or in-branch, and communication around diversity and inclusion.

In-branch marketing is another important component in engaging people with disabilities. When customers go into a branch to conduct transactions, open accounts or apply for loans, they may need information in an accessible format. These include but are not limited to:

  • Providing brochures and other information in Braille
  • Sign Language Interpreters
  • Talking ATMs that provide voice-output instructions
  • Human assistance in reading and filling out forms

    When customers with disabilities are made aware of the products and services available, it becomes easier for them to do business with financial institutions, and trust that their needs will be met.

    Take advantage of the DC Metro BLN expertise to develop customized training for your organization or group!

    "Looking Back on 20 + 1 Years"

    - Beth Loy, Ph.D., Principal Consultant

    A couple weeks ago I received a certificate of thanks for providing 20 years of service at JAN. In all actuality, the certificate was a year late. It has been 21 years. There are times when employers don’t get everything exactly right, even when it comes to addition. The certificate did prompt me to do some soul searching. I began to think back about how the employment of people with disabilities has changed, where we are as a society, and what I’ve been a part of at JAN. As a country, we continue making progress. As an organization, we continue to strive to meet our stakeholder’s needs. As a person, I like to think I’ve changed lives for the better. As I worked through my 21 years, I thought about how workplaces continue to deal with title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). After diving into the data we collect at JAN, I can paint a picture of where we are. This is what we know:

    • Many employers want to retain employees with disabilities. Eighty-three percent of employers call JAN to discuss accommodation issues related to retaining valued and qualified employees.
    • Individuals who request accommodations are employees who have been working. On average, employees who request accommodations have been with the company about seven years.
    • Employees who request accommodations make reasonable wages. Individuals who request accommodations earn about $14 if paid by the hour or have an average annual salary of about $51,400.
    • Individuals with disabilities tend to be fairly educated. Fifty-five percent of individuals have a college degree or higher.
    • Most employers report no cost or low cost for accommodating employees with disabilities. Of those accommodations that have a cost, the typical one-time expenditure by employers is $500. 
    • Employers report accommodations are effective. After contacting JAN, 75% of employers report that accommodations are either very effective or extremely effective.
    • Employers experience multiple direct benefits after making accommodations. Employers most frequently mention: (1) the accommodation allowed the company to retain a valued employee, (2) the accommodation increased the employee’s productivity, and (3) the accommodation eliminated the costs of training a new employee.
    • Employers experience several indirect benefits after making accommodations.  The most widely mentioned indirect benefits are: (1) the accommodation ultimately improved interactions with co-workers, (2) the accommodation increased overall company morale, and (3) the accommodation increased overall company productivity.

    So, 21 years pass and year 22 begins. I’ve seen a lot of complicated ADA questions come and go. Many jobs were saved along the way. We still have complicated issues like parking, service animals, drug addiction, alcoholism, telework, and leave time, but we work to do better.  I’ve met a lot of wonderful people in my travels. Hundreds of presentations are in the bank, and all but North Dakota and Oklahoma are in the rearview mirror. National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is here once again, and many of you may have similar stories to reflect upon. Just take a few minutes and think about the strides we’ve made together, and give us a shout when you need us.  JAN is an organization that does believe “Inclusion drives Innovation.

    With your support, the JAN Program has again been awarded to West Virginia University. The JAN Program was initiated at WVU in 1983 and will remain here for at least the next four and a half years. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with you to develop innovative and relevant resources to make all workplaces inclusive of people with disabilities.

    A Global Untapped Talent Pool: Employees with Disabilities 

    Taking Count of Disabilities and Inclusion
    USBLN Business Leadership Network Driving Success Through Disability Inclusion

    The first-of-its-kind study published by the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) in partnership with US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) finds that far more people than expected have a disability: In the U.S., 30 percent of college-educated employees working full-time in white-collar professions. CTI’s report Disabilities and Inclusion has uncovered that employees with disabilities make up an enormous global talent pool that employers overlook far too often- to their own detriment.

    The study also uncovered reasons that employees with disabilities have remained under the radar. Sixty-two percent of employees with disabilities have “invisible disabilities”—people can’t tell they have a disability upon meeting them. 44% of Millennials report that they have a mental health condition, higher than both Boomers and Xers.

    “From our interviews and focus groups, we learned that people with disabilities are particularly innovative. In order to navigate the world with a disability, they have to problem-solve each day. They can contribute this gift to their employers, but only if they know they will be recognized and rewarded for it,” says Julia Taylor Kennedy, executive vice president and director of publications at CTI.

    The study also explores what it is like to be an employee with a disability (or an employer of individuals with disabilities) in five key markets for multinational companies: Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, and the United Kingdom. The study provides government definitions of disability, most recent legislation, and legal requirements for employers in each of the five markets.

    The study provides valuable global insights. In India, the incidence of visible disabilities among survey respondents in India is higher compared to the US (49% vs. 13% in the US), which may be why the disclosure rates to HR are also high. In Brazil, because of federal quotas, college-educated people with disabilities are highly sought after in Brazil—and are likely to disclose to HR. The UK seems to be ahead of the curve when it comes to invisible disabilities. There are higher disclosure rates to HR for invisible disabilities than in the US (29% in the UK sample vs. 13% in the US), and 34% of those in the UK sample who have mental health conditions feel they’re being promoted quickly.

    “How do we build great products and services with disability in mind? Disability is part of being human. We’re creating products for humans. We need to find ways for all humans to use our technology to support their work every day,” says Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Chief Accessibility Officer at Microsoft.

    The implications of the research for companies is clear. Employers who want to elicit the best ideas from their people should rely on inclusive leadership—and this carries extra relevance for leaders of people with disabilities.

    “Whether it’s within the workforce, or through supplier diversity, there are many opportunities to tap into this global talent pool,” says Jill Houghton, President and Chief Executive Officer at USBLN. “We live in an increasingly interconnected world, and as we grow business, we should ensure inclusivity and the opportunity to hire innovative talent.”

    How? The study recommends inclusive leadership, disclosure training, understanding signals of support, and the Disability Equality Index (DEI). The DEI is a leading benchmarking tool that provides an objective score and roadmap on disability inclusion policies and practices for Fortune 500-1000 companies.

    “Now that we know employees with disabilities make up nearly a third of the white-collar workforce, employers simply can’t afford to ignore this crucial talent cohort,” says Laura Sherbin, co-president of CTI and a managing partner of Hewlett Consulting Partners. “By understanding employees with disabilities—and listening to their ideas—companies can unlock enormous potential.”

    CTI’s Disabilities and Inclusion report highlights additional ways employers can signal inclusion to employees with disabilities, and showcases best practices from USBLN corporate partners.

    USBLN’s sponsorship was generously supported by: 3M, General Motors, McKesson, Merck, Microsoft, and Walgreens Boots Alliance.

    For more information on Disabilities and Inclusion, please visit

    Research Sponsors: 

    Accenture, Aetna, Bloomberg LP, Johnson & Johnson, Lime Connect, Prudential, PwC, Wells Fargo, KPMG, McKesson, Unilever, USBLN

    National Apprenticeship Week

    November 13-19, 2017

    U.S. Department of Labor

    U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced that the third annual National Apprenticeship Week will be held November 13-19, 2017. Apprenticeships provide demand-driven education, allowing apprentices to earn while they learn – helping to close the skills gap between the skills job creators seek and job seekers need.

    “Expanding apprenticeships across all industries is a priority for the Trump Administration. Since the President signed his Executive Order Expanding Apprenticeships in America, we’ve seen significant interest in apprenticeship programs across a range of industries,” said Secretary Acosta. “National Apprenticeship Week provides an opportunity to put a spotlight on how apprenticeships can help Americans learn the skills they need for success in today’s workplace. By increasing the number of apprenticeships, more Americans will be on the path to family-sustaining jobs.”

    National Apprenticeship Week is a nationwide opportunity for companies, trade and industry groups, nonprofit organizations, unions, labor-management organizations, and educational institutions to highlight how apprenticeships prepare American workers for the jobs of today and the future. Events and activities include: apprenticeship program open houses, skills competitions, community forums, apprentice graduations, business open houses, high school or college career fairs, apprenticeship signing days, industry roundtable events, and more. 

    Earlier in October, Secretary Acosta announced members of the President's Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion. The members of the Task Force – which represents companies, labor unions, trade and industry groups, and educational institutions – will identify strategies and proposals to promote apprenticeships. In a notice on the Federal Register’s website, the Department of Labor announced the initial meeting of the Task Force will be held at the Department’s Frances Perkins Building in Washington on Nov. 13, 2017. 

    To learn more, and to register your event for inclusion in a national listing of National Apprenticeship Week events, please visit:

    ODEP - Office of Disability Employment Policy

    Carolyn Jones, Senior Policy Adviser on ODEP’s Youth Policy Team.

    A screenshot from a video featuring Derek Schwartz, an IT apprentice.
    Click here for a video featuring Derek Schwartz.

    Today there are more than 6 million job openings in the United States, and more than 500,000 people with disabilities are seeking jobs.

    What this tells us is that job creators are ready to hire, and there is a tremendous opportunity to increase the number of disabled individuals in the workforce. But there is a gap between the jobs that are available and the workers who have the right skills to fill them.

    Across the U.S. Department of Labor, and especially at the Office of Disability Employment Policy, we work to fully integrate people with disabilities into the labor force and empower all Americans with resources to succeed.

    To overcome this skills gap, we need demand-driven education. Apprenticeships are an example of demand-driven education because they directly connect students with employers, and combine paid work experience with an education.

    Derek Schwartz is one example. After graduating from high school, the Philadelphia native applied to the Urban Technology Project program and began working as a paid IT apprentice at Central High School. In addition to a paycheck, the program gave Derek real-world experience, which led to his recent employment as a help desk analyst at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Now he’s working in a job he loves, with a significant salary increase.

    “Apprenticeship is an excellent learning opportunity and an effective alternative to college,” said Derek, who is hard of hearing. “It has taught me not only a lot about computers and the upkeep tasks involved, but also how to be professional in the working world as a person with a disability.” 

    There are a number of advantages for apprentices, including high-wage jobs. The average starting salary for a graduate of an apprenticeship program is $60,000 – well above the national median for all occupations and higher than the average starting salary of a four-year college graduate.

    And because apprenticeships typically combine classroom instruction with paid on-the-job training, they’re an appealing option for people who want to pursue a career without incurring student debt.

    Also, apprentices usually work alongside a skilled employee or mentor during the on-the-job component. Learning directly from someone who is successful in their chosen field can benefit apprentices from different  backgrounds and educational experiences – including people with disabilities, women, and other under-represented populations – who may not see themselves reflected in that field’s current workforce.

    President Trump’s recent Executive Order on apprenticeships directs the Department of Labor to promote development of apprenticeship programs by third parties, such as trade and industry groups, companies, nonprofits, and unions. 

    Apprenticeship programs such as these should and will be open to all workers regardless of disability. All Americans need the opportunity to gain the skills they need to fill the jobs of the 21st Century.

    Watch our video series to see how apprenticeship can work for everyone, and connect with opportunities to participate in or sponsor a program at

    NDEAM Reflections

    Inclusion drives Innovation - NDEAM       

     Blog by John  Kemp, CEO, Viscardi Center

    I am a proud person with a disability who uses four prostheses. I am also the CEO of a large non-profit organization dedicated to educating, employing and empowering people with disabilities and often asked to share what I feel people with disabilities bring to the workplace. And, I am hopeful that one day there will be no need to ask this question because employers and employees alike will already know the answer, just as they do for other protected class members such as African Americans, women, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans.

    The answer is simple — talent to do the job!

    During this National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), I am sharing what I believe businesses gain from employing people with disabilities. While the list is varied and exceeds far beyond a highly skilled, dedicated talent pool, I have focused on five unique themes everyone can learn about and from co-workers with disabilities.

    • We are inherent problem solvers. We have to be. We never know what we’ll face on a daily basis long before we even arrive at the office – problems with our adaptive technology or prostheses, lack of physical or communications accessibility, etc. We’re naturals at finding a way to work around and through issues, challenges and the unexpected.
    • We appreciate differences. We have an increased acceptance of human differences, be they age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic, or diversity of thought, action, practice, policy and belief. It is not just about people. Diversity is about having an open mind and appreciating differences in a moment, a discussion, a place.
    • We are masters of humor. We see humor as a way to create bridges between humans and break down barriers to make people feel more comfortable, without it ever being self-deprecating. Humor is a powerful tool when used effectively and can also be a means to educate others.
    • We acquire keen insight into human behavior and responses the longer we live with our disabilities.Since we present so differently, due to the use of prostheses, adaptive technology and mobility devices, to name only a few, we can tell within minutes how we are being perceived and if it is as an equal. Our emotional intelligence allows us to quickly assess and understand others in a variety of situations, manage frustrations and put things in perspective.
    • We teach by example. We demonstrate how to live with adversity and work through it. We show how to find balance in our lives. Since we ourselves are often in need of some help and support, we seek the opportunity to be givers. We are generally quite fair and expect equality for ourselves and others. We are advocates for self-respect.

    DXC Technology, EY, Ford Motor Company, 

    JP Morgan Chase & Co., Microsoft, and SAP launch the

     “Autism @ Work Employer Roundtable”

    US Business Leadership Network

    The roundtable is powered by USBLN to help close the gap for Autism unemployment.

    US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) along with: DXC Technology, EY, Ford Motor Company, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Microsoft, and SAP have formed the “Autism @ Work Employer Roundtable” to help close the unemployment and underemployment gap for individuals on the Autism Spectrum. These cross-industry employers have led hiring initiatives specific to individuals on the Autism Spectrum for over a year, and recognize the significant benefits to their company cultures as well as those experienced by individuals hired at these companies.

    “By bringing neurodiverse professionals into our firm, we can meet key skills gaps, drive innovation, strengthen client relationships, inspire our people, and change lives. At EY we’re proud to be building a better – and more inclusive – working world,” states Stephen Howe, Jr., EY US Chairman, Americas Managing Partner.

    In 2016, the Center for Disease Control’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) reported approximately 1 in 68 children in the U.S. are on the Autism Spectrum. Worldwide, 1% of the population is on the Autism Spectrum.

    “At our core, USBLN represents business. In response to a growing number of requests from companies seeking to connect with one another regarding Autism hiring initiatives, we’re pleased to power the Autism @ Work Employer Roundtable,” says Jill Houghton, president and chief executive officer of USBLN.

    The Autism @ Work Employer Roundtable values transparency and the community of employers are sharing best practices and findings for Autism hiring initiatives. For example, employers looking to explore how to get started with their own inclusive hiring programs can leverage the deep operational experience of these companies. Those employers in the roundtable are also given resources and guidance on efforts such as program messaging, approach and other recommendations.

    “By working together we can further develop our programs, knowledge and share it with other organizations both large and small, allowing us to make impact for the current and future generations of people on the spectrum,” states Michael Fieldhouse, Director – Emerging Businesses and Cyber security, Dandelion Program Executive, DXC Technology.

    Collectively, the employers will help drive impact. Researchers estimate the unemployment and underemployment rates for people on the autism spectrum are 70–90 percent. The launch of the Autism @ Work Employer Roundtable will be one step closer to closing this gap.

    “We’ve always viewed this as a pursuit of strong talent, not as being merely charitable. We continue to see strong performance from our hires and our business benefits,” says James Mahoney, Executive Director, Head of Autism at Work, JP Morgan Chase.

    The Autism @ Work Employer Roundtable will engage with the Autism communities and broader groups in academia and universities to raise awareness of the various hiring initiatives available at these companies. The collective roundtable of companies will collect feedback on these efforts as various initiatives scale, with the end goal of ultimately having an impact on reducing the unemployment rate for individuals on the Autism Spectrum.

    “We are delighted to see that this enterprise neurodiversity movement has gained so much momentum. What started as a very organic collaboration amongst a few like-minded companies to exchange experiences on how to hire and retain individuals on the autism spectrum is now evolving into a deeper collaboration model by joining forces with USBLN. By working together to build more diverse workplaces, we’re not only opening our doors to a previously untapped pool of talent, but we’re creating richer and more rewarding opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum,” comments Jose H. Velasco, VP Products and Innovation, SAP Autism at Work. Representatives of the Autism @ Work Employer Roundtable will meet in person twice a year: first at the annual Autism @ Work Summit, hosted this year in Redmond, Washington by Microsoft; second, at the yearly USBLN Annual Conference.

    More information on the Autism @ Work Employer Roundtable can be found at or by emailing:

    Disability Equality Index

    By Liz Taub, Executive Vice President, USBLN

     Registration is now open for the 2018 Disability Equality Index (DEI). 

    Is your company registered?

    We are also sending along 3 useful resources on disability inclusion. As we know: what gets measured gets done. The DEI is a good way to build a roadmap for your company's disability inclusion journey.

    Three Useful Disability Inclusion Resources

    Key data and research to drive business smart decisions

     1. "Disabilities and Inclusion" report from the Center for Talent Innovation

    Did You Know?

    "Far more people than expected have a disability: 30% of college-educated employees working full-time in white-collar professions in the U.S."

    Global Findings Summary: 

    2. 2017 Disability Equality Index Report

    Did You Know? 

    "95% of all 2017 DEI companies report having external recruitment efforts in place that are specifically geared toward hiring individuals with disabilities." 

    "However, only 51% of all 2017 DEI companies report having disability included in their supplier diversity programs."

    2017 DEI Report: 

    3. Investing in (Disability) Inclusion

    Did You Know?

    "Even as companies become diverse, they may not be inclusive. For instance, non-Hispanic black and Hispanic adults are more likely to have a disability than white non-Hispanic adults, reiterating diversity strategies aren't sufficient."

    DEI Investing in Inclusion:

    We're here to help. Feel free to reach out and email with any questions.

    Upcoming Events in the Area and Beyond 

    Career Fairs

    CAREERS & the disABLED Magazine's Career Expo

    CAREERS & the disABLED Magazine’s Career Expo

    Friday, November 17, 2017  10am to 3pm

    Ronald Reagan Building – Atrium Hall

    1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

    Annette Cora
    Events Coordinator
    631-421-9421 ext.10

    Job candidates should go to and post their resume

    Bronze Sponsors: Deloitte, Northrop Grumman

    Attending Employers


    DOL's Salute to Veterans Ceremony The employment resources you need.

    November 9th at 1:00 p.m., EDT

    US Department of Labor

    The Great Hall, Department of Labor

    200 Constitution Ave., NW

    Washington, DC 20210

    Please RSVP 

    Join Secretary Acosta at the Department of Labor for the annual Salute to Veterans ceremony in honor of Veteran's Day. Save your seat to join us and our special guest speakers from:

      Space is limited and will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.

      Be sure to follow the conversation on Twitter with @VETS_DOL#SaluteVets and RSVP to let us know you will be attending.


      Webinar: "Give Us Your Challenging, Your Bewildering, Your Unusual ADA Issues"

                                                      November 14, 2017  2pm ET

      This Webcast will be an open forum to discuss a variety of tough ADA title I employment issues. Participants will have the opportunity to submit ADA questions in advance of the program, to be addressed during the session. The presenter will touch-on several trending ADA topics, including some of the more challenging questions JAN receives about dogs at work, disability-related inquiries, and telework and leave as accommodations.
        Speaker: Tracie DeFreitas, MS, CLMS, JAN Lead Consultant.

          Webinar - PEAT Talks

          Creative Recruiting Strategies for the Digital Age

          PEAT - Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology

          Thursday, November 16, 2pm ET


          Digital recruitment is key to an effective overall recruiting strategy, but for many, the question is where to begin. In this webinar, Jessica Miller-Merrell of Xceptional HR Consulting will discuss how recruiters and HR leaders can prioritize their digital recruiting options and move these efforts forward by developing smaller initiatives designed to drive change and establish buy-in. Participants will learn the top five creative recruitment strategies for the digital age, from programmatic ad buying to video recruitment efforts–and how to ensure that these strategies reach all job candidates, including those with disabilities​.


          Jessica Miller-Merrell ​

          Jessica Miller-Merrell is a technologist who focuses her efforts in human resources, healthcare, and the workplace. She has been recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media power user and is the founder the HR and workplace resource is external).

          PEAT Talks is a monthly virtual speaker series to showcase organizations and individuals whose work is advancing accessible technology in the workplace. Held the third Thursday of every month at 2pm ET, these events are designed to be energetic and interactive discussions highlighting a spectrum of exciting work. To see upcoming events in this series, please visit our calendar.

          The 4th Annual Profiles in Success Celebration

          Profiles in Success Brought to you by Bernhardt Wealth Management

          November 7, 2017 at Dock 5 in Washington, DC

          Cocktails and Plated Dinner

          Registration Information will be forthcoming

          Featured Speaker at the

          2017 Profiles in Success Celebration

          The speaker for the 2017 Profiles in Success Celebration is Michael May. Mike is the subject of the 2007 best-selling book by Robert Kurson, Crashing Through: The Extraordinary True Story of the Man who Dared to See.  At the age of three Mike lost his sight at home in a chemical explosion. During his keynote he will share some of his extraordinary accomplishments. In the meantime, you can read more about Mike in Volume 13.

          Designated Charity for the 2017 Profiles in Success Celebration

          Most of the Profiles in Success Community knows Tony Cancelosi. Tony is the President and CEO of Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind (CLB) and a Profiles in Success Alum featured in Volume 5. Given Mike May's unique story CLB will be our featured charity for the 2017 Profiles in Success Celebration. Please spread the word and help us raise money for CLB this year. Any fundraising ideas you have for the night of the Celebration would be appreciated.

          3rd Annual Veterans Awards

          The Vetty Awards

          January 20, 2018 | The Mayflower Hotel | Washington, D.C.  

          It is with heavy hearts we witness the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. For this reason, in order to remain true to our driving principle of serving our fellow citizens, the Academy of United States Veterans will donate 50 percent of the 3rd Annual Veterans Awards' profits to helping restore the livelihoods of our fellow citizens who have been affected by this life-changing disaster. 

          Academy of US Veterans
          We are grateful for everyone who has supported our mission up to this point and hope they are as encouraged as we are moving forward. Please join us for the 3rd Annual Veterans Awards (Vettys) as we honor those who have served our country while we serve its people in need. 

          About Us

          The DC Metro Business Leadership Network is an employer led non-profit that uses a business-to business model offering education, training programs and resources to change attitudes and address concerns of businesses so that they learn how to proactively include people with disabilities in the workforce, marketplace and supplier diversity.

          Andrea Hall, Chair

          DXC Technology

          Dan Ellerman, Vice Chair


          Brooke Thomas, Secretary

          Lockheed Martin

          Ellen de Bremond, Treasurer


          • Jenn Bassett, JBG SMITH 
          • Karen Cook, Gallaudet University
          • Michelle Crabtree, Hyatt 
          • Sophie Howard, General Dynamics IT
          • Misty Koper, EY
          • Charlesiah McLean, Leidos
          • Eduardo Meza-Etienne, eSSENTIAL Accessibility
          • Dan Sullivan, KPMG
          • Bob Vetere, Northrop Grumman 
          • Myra Wilder, Marriott International
          • Emily Yee, Deloitte

          Advisory Board

          • Dinah Cohen, Dinah Cohen Consulting, LLC (CAP Director, retired)
          • Ron Drach, Drach Consulting, LLC (Chair, Wounded Warrior Committee)
          • Donnielle DeMesme, Golden Key Group
          • Rikki Epstein, The Arc of Northern Virginia
          • Denyse Gordon, CACI
          • Tisha Herne, AudioEye
          • Karen Herson, Concepts, Inc.
          • Patricia Jackson, Booz Allen Hamilton
          • Bryan Moseley, TCS Associates
          • Chrissone Palmer, EY
          • Ann Rader, Healthcare Transformation, Strategy Execution & Management Consultant Leading Innovative Solutions
          • Carrie Schroeder, PwC
          • Jenn Sharp, KPMG
          • Kia Silver Hodge, Lockheed Martin
          • Sue Werber, C5 Consulting, LLC (Chair, ME Committee)

          CEO, Executive Director: The Honorable Katherine O. McCary, C5 Consulting, LLC

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