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Rodney Hood: An Ally in Disability Employment and Inclusion

Rodney Hood with RespectAbility Staff and Fellows in front of the RespectAbility banner

Rodney Hood with RespectAbility Staff and Fellows

Rockville, Maryland, March 13 – This week, the Fellows of RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program had the privilege to listen to Rodney Hood speak about corporate philanthropy and the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace. Hood is a Corporate Responsibility Manager for JPMorgan Chase and is responsible for finding nonprofit organizations that do good in the world to fund their organization or specific programming or enlist experts from JP Morgan to work pro bono for them. His job is difficult because the organizations must match the mission of JPMorgan Chase and be effective in advancing inclusion of people with disabilities; the number of applicants is large. As difficult as his job may be, he is passionate about his work. He gets to help causes he personally believes in, which allows his work to be intrinsically rewarding.

Rodney Hood and RespectAbility Fellow Emily Counts in front of the RespectAbility banner

Rodney Hood and RespectAbility Fellow Emily Counts

About 50 percent of Hood’s work revolves around the disability population and employment and improving access to financial services. He is working specifically to get people with disabilities jobs and financial knowledge, as well as to open the inclusion umbrella for this historically marginalized population. He started his work by having JPMorgan Chase lead the charge. The Conference Accessibility Initiative now means that all national conferences that JPMorgan Chase sponsors must provide accommodations and American Sign Language translators. Conferences also will include speakers with disabilities, provide a concierge and provide scholarships so that people with disabilities can attend. Hood bragged about one JPMorgan Chase employee who is deaf; he is a trader in Boston who is breaking every record left and right. JPMorgan Chase also is creating a talent pipeline of people with autism. They have a special interview process with an interviewer who understands people with autism’s needs. This allows talented people with autism to showcase their talents, whereas the traditional interview process may set them up to fail.

RespectAbility was grateful to have Hood speak with us because he is an ally in our advocacy work for and with people with disabilities. He not only cares about disability rights and issues but also walks the walk. Hood helps people with disabilities get jobs and the training they need to be successful.

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RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. This spring, 14 Fellows had the opportunity to learn from a variety of guest speakers. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.

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Meet the Author

Emily Counts
Emily Counts

Emily Counts is a Development and Fundraising Fellow at RespectAbility. She became passionate about working with people with disabilities through her work with Friends in Action. She plans to work in communities with barriers to healthcare access, healthy food, education, employment and physical activity.

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