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Talented Innovators With Disabilities Showcase Secrets Behind 400% Improvement in New Jobs for People with Disabilities

26 July 2018


Washington, D.C., July 26, 2018 — A panel of diverse leaders with disabilities and their allies are gathering next Monday, July 30 to discuss key insights into the unprecedented success of hundreds of thousands of Americans with disabilities who entered the workforce last year. This panel, composed of disability employment and workforce development leaders, will be presenting between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. as part of a day long summit sponsored by RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities.

The focus of their discussion will be the fourfold improvement in employment opportunities for Americans with disabilities over the past year. According to Census Bureau data, 343,483 more people with disabilities joined the American workforce in 2016. This compares to only 87,201 in the previous year. The panel will explore the key factors driving these unprecedented successes. Panelists include:

RespectAbility board member Janet LaBreck smiling in front of an American flag

Janet LaBreck

Ron Painter

Ron Painter

Vincenzo Piscopo smiling

Vincenzo Piscopo

Jim Sinocchi sitting in front of a window with his dog by his side

Jim Sinocchi

  • Janet LaBreck, Disability Employment Expert who is blind herself. She is the former Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), within the United States Department of Education.
  • Ron Painter, Executive Director of the National Association of Workforce Boards. In his capacity at NAWB, Painter travels the country meeting with workforce leaders understand how best to spread innovative trends in human capital development throughout the nation-wide job training system.
  • Vincenzo Piscopo, Community & Stakeholder, Relations Director, The Coca-Cola Company, is a talented wheelchair user and innovator. Having worked for The Coca-Cola Company for 22 years in a wide variety of capacities, Piscopo now works as Community and Stakeholder relations director where he manages the relationships with disability, veterans and Hispanic organizations as well as United Way and Hands-On Atlanta.
  • Jim Sinocchi, Office of Disability Inclusion, JPMorgan Chase, is also a wheelchair user and business leader. Sinocchi works closely with senior leaders across the firm to establish consistent standards and processes to better support employees with disabilities and employees who care for disabled family members.

“Employment a cornerstone of ending stigmas and advancing opportunities for the disability community, so the theme of jobs carried throughout the entire event,” said RespectAbility President and co-founder Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi who herself is dyslexic. “But the panel on new job gains is bring great clarity to what it takes for people with disabilities to succeed in the workplace.”

Donn Weinberg wearing a suit tie color photo

Donn Weinberg

The fundamental message underlying this panel and the broader summit is clear: people with disabilities want to work and are capable of doing an extremely good job. Evidence shows that the vast majority of people with disabilities want to work, technology is making it easier than ever for people with disabilities to seamlessly integrated into the workforce and employees with disabilities can benefit the bottom line of top companies. The panel will be moderated by Donn Weinberg, chair of the Philanthropy Roundtable and trustee of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

The event will be taking place in Rooms 2043, 2044 & 2045 at the Rayburn House Office Building, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. Breakfast starts at 8:00 a.m. with formal remarks beginning at 9:00 a.m. The full conference agenda (all open to the press) is available on RespectAbility’s website here: Space is extremely limited and RSVPs are required.

Media Contacts:

Daniel Solomon
Senior Associate
Bluelight Strategies
[email protected]; 202-265-3000

Lauren Appelbaum
Communications Director
[email protected]; 202-591-0703

Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the VP, Communications and Entertainment & News Media, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so all people with disabilities can fully participate in every aspect of community. As an individual with an acquired nonvisible disability – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy – she works at the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. She regularly conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible for entertainment executives throughout the industry. Appelbaum partners with studios, production companies and writers’ rooms to create equitable and accessible opportunities to increase the number of people with lived disability experience throughout the overall story-telling process. These initiatives increase diverse and authentic representation of disabled people on screen, leading to systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities. She has consulted on more than 100 TV episodes and films with A&E, Bunim-Murray Productions, NBCUniversal, Netflix, ViacomCBS, and The Walt Disney Company, among others. She represents RespectAbility on the CAA Full Story Initiative Advisory Council, Disney+ Content Advisory Council, MTV Entertainment Group Culture Code and Sundance Institute’s Allied Organization Initiative. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working in development, production and post-production. She is a recipient of the 2020 Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award for this Lab. To reach her, email [email protected]

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