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Labor Day 2018: #RespectTheAbility Campaign Celebrates Model Employers that Demonstrate Inclusive Hiring

#RespectTheAbility campaign spotlights model employers that demonstrate how hiring workers with disabilities benefits the employer, the employee and society

As we celebrate the contributions of workers to our nation’s history and enjoy one last summer weekend, RespectAbility invites you learn about the incredible talents of people with disabilities. We hope you enjoy the amazing success stories captured in our #RespectTheAbility campaign which highlights the benefits companies reap when they hire talented people with disabilities.

“Many companies hire the best talent out there, no matter what package that talent comes in,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbility. “Employers’ focus should be on the abilities an individual brings to the table to better the organization, not any disabilities the individual may have. It is time for all employers to look beyond the disability and understand the true value of these employees.”

The #RespectTheAbility campaign began by celebrating the success of Ernst & Young LLP as a case study and featured a conference call with Lori Golden, Abilities Strategy Leader from Ernst & Young, on “Disabilities to Diverse Abilities: Changing the Workplace Paradigm.” Arthur Young, co-founder of EY, was deaf and exceptionally talented.

Fully 343,483 more people with disabilities joined the American workforce in 2016. This compares to only 87,201 in the previous year. “Fundamentally,” said Philip Kahn-Paul, Policy & Practices Director of RespectAbility, “more and more companies are recognizing innovation, loyalty, and valuable skills employees with disabilities bring to the workplace. While the law has a long way to go to fully support competitive, integrated employment for all people with disabilities, the private sector is being rewarded by investing in talented employees with disabilities. The stories in the #RespectTheAbility campaign reflect on some amazing examples of inclusion and innovation.”

#RespectTheAbility Success Stories:

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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