Making The Connection Between Students With Disabilities and Employment

Making The Connection Between Students With Disabilities and Employment


[Music] Hello everyone. My name is Ashleigh Maynor and I
work over in the Career Center. Thanks all of you for coming. The RSVP list was much
more robust, but obviously as you can tell with the weather that we have been
having today it’s going to be a little bit more
intimate than we were planning. But that’s all right. So I’d like to start with just
introducing who our panel is and then afterwards if you
guys would like to go through and just explain a little
bit about what your role is and then we’ll get into some
of the questions, prequestions that were submitted
within the RSVPs. So first Carole Dubritsky. She is the Assistant
Director and ADA Coordinator for the Office of
Institutional Equity. Then we have Dr. Stuart Segal. He is the Director for
the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities. And then we have Susan Aptman
and she is the Director of Learning & Development
from Lime Connect. And is Lime Connect in
New Jersey or New York? It’s New York headquarters. New York headquarters, okay. We’re a small virtual
department. Gotcha. Okay. [Laughing] And then
lastly is Caleb Adams and he’s the Career
Planning Coordinator for Peckham, Incorporated. So we’re going to start with
a question that we see a lot within the Career Center
and so panelists feel free to chime in as you see fit. So how do you navigate
disclosing to an employer about your disability? And when is the best time
to make the disclosure? What should we say or do? Okay this is Carole. I’m going to start out. When you’re applying for a
job or when you are working for an employer, the
only time you need to disclosure your disability
is if you need an accommodation. So if you are applying for a
position and you have concerns about access for your interview, if you need a sign language
interpreter or you’re concerned about physical access to
the location, there are ways that you can find out that
information beforehand perhaps that we can talk about that
may not actually require your disclosure. So if you were applying at
the University of Michigan and you had an interview and
you knew you were going to be at KMS building, you might
want to call and find out a little bit more about
the building, it’s location, to determine whether or
not you’re really going to need an accommodation
to enter the building and have the interview. Similarly, when you’re on
the job the only reason that you should ever
disclose your disability, if it’s a hidden
disability obviously, is if you need an accommodation. If you begin to experience
some barrier that you believe
is directly related to your impairment
that’s getting in the way of your being able to meet the
essential functions of the jobs. So that you’re and
there’s no requirement and in fact the Federal
Government, the ADA, states that to disclose
it upfront in a resume or a cover letter opens yourself up to unintentional
discrimination. There’s no reason to put your
disability in a cover letter. There’s no reason to put your
disability on an application or somehow attempt
to refer to it. I realize the difficulty
is that for many people who are asking these kinds of
questions who have disabilities, the disability piece is the
most fearful part perhaps. Fear of keeping a secret. Fear of being found out. Fear of looking different or
being regarded as different, but what I hope that the
services that are available in the community or
here at the University if you’re a University student, would help you find
the confidence you have in yourself and in your skills. Because if you’re putting your
best foot forward as the person that you are with that
skill set or that passion, maybe to enter a career that
you’ve been studying for, that’s what’s going to come
across in the interview. And I’m sure we’ll have more
specific questions regarding some specifics perhaps that
you’ve encountered or know that people have encountered. So that would be my answer. And it was an excellent answer. Because I don’t know that I
have really much to add except to just sort of underscore some
of the things that Carole said. And I might just frame
it sort of differently. One is is that the only reason that I would ever encourage
somebody to disclose is A if you need the accommodation,
but the other sort of part of that is only disclose
if you know it is to your advantage to disclose. So for example, it may be, and we’ll let these two address
this, that there are situations where a workforce is
looking to diversify so that by disclosing you may
actually gain an advantage in getting an employment
opportunity. And in that case when you
know that to be the case, then I might seriously
consider disclosing. You’re all, we were in
a very tricky situation. We don’t want to be anymore
stigmatized than we already are, so we’re always in
this balancing act of what should we do. And I think that if it’s
to your advantage disclose. If it’s not, only if you
need the accommodation, and I would wait on that
accommodation request until after you have
been accepted to the job and not before, so. I agree with everything
that’s been said and I’ll add a little more. When we think about it at Lime
Connect, we think about it as whether you should disclose, when you should disclose,
and how. That’s kind of how we take
people though the process, and of course it is a personal
choice and it is up to you at the end of the day. And some reasons
people disclose is because they need
an accommodation and that’s the ideal
time to disclose. Other times, and he
was alluding to this, is when you know the
company’s actively looking to hire folks with disabilities. Some people put Lime
Connect on their resume. They say they’re a
Lime Connect member, especially if they’re
coming through our service. Typically no one will ask you
what your specific disability is, but a lot of the
organizations we work with are starting to really
understand the value of working with people with disabilities
not just as a mandate, but they’re really starting to understand the
value that’s brought. Other people choose to
disclose because they want to proactively shift
their relationship with their manager
or their colleagues. They want to ease communication,
you know there’s an elephant in the room or there’s something
that doesn’t seem quite, there’s something that needs
to be addressed and so it kind of helps them to feel more
at ease by talking about it. And this typically is more with
folks with obvious disabilities, but they feel more at ease, they
feel that they are able to kind of get that out of the way, and
then move on to the relationship because the manager knows
something’s going on. You know something is going on. Then it becomes all about how
you have that conversation and have it in a powerful way, but I’ll get to that
in a second. Other times people disclose
is for example in an interview when you want to
differentiate yourself. So a lot of organizations
are looking at emotional intelligence,
resiliency, being able to overcome
obstacles, being able to adapt to change is highly regarded
in today’s corporation. And so people with disabilities
typically have great stories to tell around how
they persevered, how they overcame obstacles, how they’re adapting
on a daily basis. Again, it doesn’t mean you
should disclose if you’re going to put yourself at
risk in anyway, but if there’s an
opportunity it’s a great way to kind of sell yourself. And so then it becomes
about how, so how you have that conversation when you do. And we always say it’s
important to frame it from a place of strength. Oh sorry, one thing I
wanted to say about when. So when to have that discussion,
they’ve already addressed that. And another thing I would say is
when you decide that you do want to disclose, it helps if you’ve
already built a little trust and you’ve already
demonstrated a little value. So you’ve shown what you can
do, you have some quick wins, so that when you do disclose,
they see ability first, right, and disability second. They know you’re already valued
and by doing it in that way, you’re going really start to
break down misperceptions. We have a lot of our fellows
with nonobvious disabilities. There’s examples of folks who will have a summer
internship do really, really well, get an offer,
and then on their way out say they have a
learning disability. And immediately they create
a buzz in the workspace because people go wow, I have a
whole different perception now on what it’s like to
be somebody with ADHD. So that’s another
reason people disclose is when they really want to be
advocates for change and kind of shift that conversation
in the workplace. Okay, and then the how, I’m not
going to get into details now, but basically it’s about
framing it in a powerful way, coming from a place of strength. Letting them know
you’re doing this because you want
to be successful. You know they want you
to be successful, right. So not coming from a place of
failure or what I can’t do, but I’m here to be
successful and be as productive as possible. That’s why you hired me and
this is what I need to do that. It’s about demystifying
disability and your specific disability,
because people have stories about what it means to have
ADHD or another disability. But if you can simplify it
and have them see what it’s like to be in your shoes,
you can do that by talking about the science behind it. I hear stories of folks with
ADHD for example who they know that their peers think
they’re making up excuses. I hear this happens
in universities too. Oh you’re making up an
excuse that you have ADHD and you need more
time on that test. But to really have them
understand how your brain works differently, not better or
worse, but just differently than somebody else’s and to understand the
science behind it. And also to use, we find it’s
very helpful to have a metaphor, a metaphor that helps you to
talk about your disability. So somebody with dyslexia
might say well what it’s like is imagine reading a story and only seeing every
other word. So some kind of metaphor, they go oh now I get
what it’s like to be you. And then talking
about the strengths. So as somebody who has ADHD, I’ve had to learn how
to manage my time. I’ve had to learn
how to multitask. And as a result, I’m an
amazing project manager. I would say maybe even
better than some of my peers, because I have systems in place. I know how to organize
because I’ve had to learn that. So as I apply for this
job in project management, you know you’re getting somebody
who’s been practicing their whole life. Okay, I’ll stop there and
happy to add more later. [Laughs] Everything
everybody else said. Just a couple of notes. Just a couple of
things to remember. When you’re going into
an employer interview, there’s a reason
they posted the job. They have a business
need and you’re there because they want you to
fill their business need. That’s the number one
thing on their mind, okay. So you’ve got to get them to
visualize you in that job. And also remember that most
employers are already employing people with disabilities. You are probably
not the first person that they’ve interviewed
with a disability. They probably have people
already working for them that have invisible or
visible disabilities, whether they know it or not. They might not know
it, but they do. So you know it’s not to your
advantage to bring it up, unless it’s something
that’s going to help them visualize
you in that role. Additionally, it’s kind
of an odd thing to bring up at an employment interview
unless it’s relevant, because disability
is part of diversity. You wouldn’t walk into
an employment interview and say well do you guys
accommodate black females that are Christians? Why would you bring that up
unless it’s relevant to the job? Do you guys have situations where if you’re a
Hispanic worker I’m going to have problems on my job? That you know you
wouldn’t say that. It doesn’t make sense
to say that. So when is it appropriate? Like Suzanne said, if
it relates to the job and if it’s an elephant in
the room and it’s something that you want to bring up
from a place of strength. As an example, I was working
with someone who is deaf who is applying for a fork
truck position at a supply chain and we knew the number one
question on their mind was, the HR manager’s mind was,
can he operate it safely? And so of course that was one of
the questions that actually kind of came up in a roundabout
way and you know we kind of said well you know
this individual drives to work every day, drives a car. He has a license. He drives a car to
work every day. It would be a little odd if you
could drive a car in the snow and in traffic and late at
night to work every day, but couldn’t operate
a fork truck safely. Additionally, we talked about how loud the work
environment was at that employer and we kind of question the
employer what advantage is hearing really in this
workplace when most of your fork truck operators
wear earphones because it’s so loud or they listen to music. What advantage is
that going to be? So once that was
kind of dispelled, then we could actually
just focus on what the person’s
strengths were. Additionally, there is a
lot of research that shows that individuals who were deaf
actually operate fork trucks safer than individuals
who were not deaf. Walgreens has done a
bunch of studied on that. So in that situation it
was appropriate to bring up in the interview
because we wanted to showcase this person’s
strengths and at the end of the interview we wanted
him to be, the interview panel to be able to visualize
him in that role. That’s your goal. Line up your strengths with
what’s in the job description and so that they can see you
as meeting their business need. That’s kind of your guiding. You want them to hire
you because it’s going to meet their need
as a business. That’s why they’re going to
hire you or not hire you. So that’s all I have
to add about that. All right. So next question, what are
you observing of employers in effectively working
with individuals with a mental health/mental
illness diagnosis? And how do you see employers
appropriately accommodating these particular employees
with disorders like depression and bipolar I and bipolar II? I guess we’re always starting
at this end, but that’s fine. Go with it. Once again I think, especially
with mental health impairment, the question becomes
why would you disclose? The kinds of situations
that I’ve consulted with on this campus have to do
with perhaps an exacerbation or a time in that person’s life
when things are going wrong. Things have gone
great for a while, suddenly things are
not going so great. And in those particular cases
where the employee comes to me first for a consultation
is to first of all tag into their treatment team,
to make sure that they’re in treatment, and they’re
getting the assistance they need on this downward spiral
they might be experiencing. And that it’s always
important whenever possible. [Bang] Whew! It’s always important whenever
possible [Laughs] [Laughing] There’s some disagreement
over what you just said. I didn’t realize my
words were so powerful. [Laughing] It’s always
important whenever possible to be proactive. The situations, because I
consult both with employees and I also have managers
calling me saying, the manager might
call me and say wow, something’s really going on. Mary Jo has been here for
four years, she’s been great. Now she’s showing up late. She’s got an increased
error rate. I’m really concerned because I
think something might be going on, but I don’t know how to
have the conversation with her to find out what’s going on. I don’t want to like
assume she has a disability, but you know how do I have that
conversation that’s safe for her to tell me what’s going on
without me like having to go down this disciplinary track. So the counterpoint to that
would be when I have a chance to talk to the employee. When you know things are
sideways, where you’re at, whichever employer you’re with, the University has a great
many resources, but try to use as many of those resources
as possible proactively. Having a conversation
with your supervisor, even if you’re not quite sure
what’s going on at that point and where it’s going to
lead, is just to have a sit down conversation to say
things are just not going right for me right now. You don’t have to even disclose at that point you have a
mental health impairment. There are things going on. I’m seeking some assistance. I know I’ve been late. I know things are,
I’m just not focused. I would like to work with you
on creating a plan to go forward that will work until I
can get this sorted out, or we can get this sorted out. So make it a team kind of thing. In many cases with individuals,
you do need time off, you need time to concentrate and
get the treatment that you need, whether it’s for a
mental health impairment or even a chronic illness, other
types of chronic illnesses. So your employer, the University
of Michigan, has a leave policy, but wherever you’re working,
hopefully you’d be able to have time off for that. That’s actually considered
an accommodation under the Americans
With Disabilities Act. In some cases, you need a
change in your schedule. You may need to come
in at a later time and what’s important is your
supervisor probably has no idea what accommodation you need. The interactive process
that Stuart referred to is that conversation. When the supervisor is saying
well you’re coming in late, and if you know that
perhaps coming in a half an hour late may
give you that advantage because you’re on
a new med or maybe because the turmoil that’s
happening with regards to your mental health impairment
has also caused so problems within the family or support
unit that it’s difficult. That maybe you need a change in your schedule for
a period of time. As much as possible,
we want this to be a collaborative
opportunity for you to work as much as possible
without having to disclose your impairment. However, when the rubber
meets the road in some cases if you’re going to permanently
need a later starting time, because regardless
of your adjustment to your new medication, it’s
going to consistently really down you in the morning. It’s really going to be hard
to get up and get out and get to work on time at 7:45 or 8:00
and you need a 9:00 start time, if you’re looking for
something that’s permanent as an alternation to what’s
usual in your department, they may require
some documentation. And I know that’s one of the
questions that’s on the table, so we can probably all address
that at some point too for you. And I’m not in favor of lots
of disclosure and we could talk about what that would be. Can I just ask you? Mm-hmm. So I think
I’m hearing you say is that you can have
this conversation without necessarily
saying I’m asking for an accommodation
coming from a place of here’s some needs I have,
can we talk about that. Right. Because most
employers are doing things for employees anyway. Right. They have family leave, there’s the Family
Medical Leave Act. Most employers are trying to
be more flexible in reference to childcare responsibilities,
whether you’re a single parent or you’re with a partner. So many times the employer
will already have policies that if an employee, I
always say to a supervisor, if you have people
in your workplace and you have a parent that’s
having problems with childcare and you’re letting them come
in at 9:00 in the morning for a month while they find
a new childcare facility, why not do it for this person
without being too probative, without asking a
lot of questions. If you would do it for the
parent, the single parent or the parent that needs
to find new childcare, why would you put
Mary Jo through that if she hasn’t disclosed
why she needs that? So I’m trying to level
the playing field in terms of just an equal opportunity
to use the resources that are available
through the employer for anyone without getting. Now if you get into something
that’s a significant difference and this works in our
hospital when we have to look at different rotational
schedules or the mandate to rotate through
a nursing schedule, then we may need some additional
documentation, because we want to make sure that the person
with the accommodation who needs the change
in schedule gets it and that everybody doesn’t
kind of jump on board. So the documentation
there becomes important. So there’s a point in time when
you as the person in need has to know okay now I need to
make this a formalized request. And maybe the manager
also needs to know when. Well I think each
employer is different. One of the things that is
unique about Suzanne about our, the University of Michigan,
is we are decentralized. If you were working at
Michigan State, right, or you were an employee
at Michigan State, it’s a very centralized process. So Michigan State has a
very centralized process for requesting an accommodation. I’m sure that they do the
informal kinds of things for short periods of time, but if you want an accommodation
it’s a very centralized process. Here at the University
of Michigan, so your employer is going
to have its own personality, its own philosophy regarding
these kinds of conversations. If it’s a centralized process, you go through the
centralized process. But yes, we always encourage
here at the University of Michigan, sometimes it works,
because we’re a big university. We have 40,000 staff. We have 40,000 students. We have a major hospital. We’d like all of our
supervisors to have that open conversation,
not all of them do. But yes, I don’t think there’s a
need, you in your heart may know that why you need to come in
later for the next six weeks is because you’re having
a medication change because of your bipolar
disorder. I’m not sure you
need to disclose that in the initial
conversation if you can’t get that from your supervisor
on a short-term basis through that conversation. I’ve got some thing going on. You see, so. Yeah. It’s a case by case basis. And again, just to sort of
add to that, the idea is that, and I’ll give the
student perspective, because I don’t know as much about the employment
perspective, but students ask facility for
accommodations all the time. And they’re not disability
accommodations. Mmm. I could talk about
the fact that with regards to formal disability
accommodations that SSD has advocated for
50,000 academic accommodations in the past academic year. But the truth is I also know
that probably double, triple, quadruple that amount of accommodations are
going on on a daily basis. Students have all sorts of
issues and they have all sorts of needs, and facility may
in fact be willing to do that without going through
a formalized process. So what I think what Carole
is saying is why is it any different in the workplace? Sometimes you need to cut
somebody a little slack for whatever reason and that if
it does become more permanent or that there’s a bigger need,
that’s when you may need to get into a more formalized
situation. And the other thing about
this and then I’ll turn it over is just we’ve
got to remember that with mental health
impairments there really is a wide range of impairments. Most people with mental
health impairments very mild. In fact, there’s no
necessarily any impact on their performance either as
a student or as an employee. And in fact, when I talk
and do sort of conversations with departments, particularly
around mental health, because this is one
area we’ve got to realize lifetime prevalence of a diagnosed mental
health condition is 50%. That means one out of every
two of us at some point in our life is going to have
a mental health condition. And the truth is that number
is a lot higher than 50%. So this is conditions
that people know about. So when you talk, when I talk
to facility, and I talk to them about mental health, I
don’t look at it as an us and them, it’s all us. In other words, who in this
room has not had anxiety? Who in this room has
never been depressed, sad? Everybody has. So if you can get
in touch with that, it may give you a better idea of why somebody might need some
consideration now and then. Absolutely, workplace
modifications happen all the time, but if you know what kind
of modifications you might need, you’re going to want to
think about what kind of employment track
you go on as well. Because depending on the
employer, there’s things that they can accommodate
and can’t accommodate. All of my employees pretty much
have a different start time, have a completely different work
schedule, set their own hours, all of that kind of stuff, because within my
department, that works fine. Whereas in my same
company on the supply chain or the manufacturing side,
that is not the case. The start time is the start
time, because the line goes up when it goes up, and trucks
come in when they come in, and they go out when
they go out. You have to be there, five,
ten minutes early for shift, you have to be standing
on the line or standing at the loading dock
when the trucks come in. That’s the job. So you want to think
about what kind of industry you go into as well. Because depending
on the industry, they can make completely
different accommodations. But yeah to reiterate
what you guys were saying, it’s a very understandable
thing to need time, to make different accommodations
and things like that, but always do it from a place
of strength if you know, I have an employee that
is highly productive in the morning, highly
productive in the morning, she
comes in early. And actually she just
got promoted, so that’s, so she’s not an employee
anymore as of this month, but she is highly
productive in the morning, in the afternoon, not so much. So she comes in when there’s
no one around and gets a ton of work done and then her
work kind of tapers off in the afternoon, because,
and that wasn’t an ADA request or anything like that. She just said listen, this
is how I get my work done, this works best for me. As a manager, I understand that, because she’s incredibly
productive as a worker. So that works for me. So it’s just those
conversations with your manager to help them understand
what your strengths are and how you’re going
to get the job done. Because at the end of
the day as a manager, that’s when I’m held
accountable to, right. That’s what I’m thinking about. I got to get this job done
and if you’re engaging with me as a manager and helping me
understand how that’s going to happen and making
me feel comfortable, then great that’s
what I need to know. All right. Okay. So kind of going along
with that, the next question is around what motivates
an employer to hire an individual
with a disability? What value do they see in that? [Laughing] Suzanne. I mean a lot of I would say
the top recruiters or people in talent acquisition at some
of these big corporations, they very actively recognize that disability is the
next wave of diversity. We’ve worked with people
of different ethnicities, we’ve worked with
sexual orientation, now we’re looking
at disabilities. So this is the moment. And so there’s the
carrot part of it, which is that there’s a lot
of work that’s being done around the value that people with disabilities
bring to the workplace. At least the level playing
field that they kind of bring. There’s a lot of research around
that and then the other side of that is there’s, and
you can speak to this more, there’s the government is
taking a more active role in encouraging this. So it’s a really interesting
time for you as a person I think with a disability to say
this is my moment in time to show my value, show my
worth, so that corporations who are bring us in can say,
we’re bringing them in because of this carrot, we’re
bringing them in because we see their
importance and value. It’s in terms of the movement, this is a really
important moment in time. So learning how to disclose,
learning how to communicate from a place of strength,
is very important right now. I’m going to pick up on what
Suzanne was referring to. I think for many of you when
you were sitting here I handed a form to you that says that
seems kind of counterintuitive to everything I’ve just
said about disclosure. It actually is a form that says
Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability. And to build on what Suzanne
just said, the U.S. Department of Labor has for many years
required federal contractors, a federal contractor
is any entity that receives federal money. So a university or a college
that accepts financial aid, their students receive
federal financial aid, is a federal contractor. A hospital or health
system that accepts Medicaid or Medicare is a
federal contractor. And there are many employers
throughout the country that are federal contractors. They do jobs for the
Federal Government. So the Department of Labor for many years has always
required these federal contractors to have
a diverse workforce and to create every year what’s
called an Affirmative Action plan to report on race and race,
ethnicity, and sex to make sure that workplaces are diverse. The threshold this year
has completely changed to now include persons
with disabilities. So if you are going to be in the
job market in 2014 and beyond, one of the things that will
be happening when you apply for a position you will actually
have this form appear in front of you, which is called a
Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability. Now that seems contrary to
everything we’ve just said about you only disclose your
disability to an interviewer or at time of application
if it’s important for an accommodation
or it brings you, I think Suzanne made a great
case for position of strength, to kind of talk about
some skills that you have because of your disability
related to your impairment. The purpose of this form is to, the Federal Government is
now requiring these federal contractors to employ no less
than 7% of their workforce as persons with disabilities. So when you apply for
a job at some point in 2014 this form
will appear as it is. It’s written by the
Federal Government. Employers cannot change it. It is a voluntary
self-identification. It does not go with your
application, however. So because if it did, it
would actually be in violation of the Americans with
Disabilities Act. So we have two competing
federal agencies here. We have the Americans
with Disabilities Act, the Department of Justice. We have the Department of
Labor who says look we believe and we’ve heard for a long time that disability is
part of diversity. Now we’re going to hold
federal contractors responsible for increasing the
diversity of their workforce by actually knowing who
is in the their workforce. So Carole you’re saying
we should fill it out? So wait a minute [Laughs],
so when you are applying for a job you can
self-identify or not. It’s going to be blinded data
that goes into a database that we have to report to
the Federal Government. We have to have available
to report on our diversity of our campus. Other federal contractors who do Affirmative Action
plans will do the same. If you’re actually
offered the position and before your first
day of work you’re going to be offered this form again. If you have a disability
and you don’t disclose it, there’s no penalty. This is totally a way to
encourage the other part of what’s happening, which
is that we are required now as a federal contractor to
begin to identify agencies such as Suzanne’s to connect
with and have connections with so that the students and
the people that she’s serving with disabilities to try to find
employers to apply for jobs, we have a responsibility now as
an employer to begin to recruit and identify agencies
that serve people with disabilities
looking for work. So that if the Federal
Government comes in and says wait a minute
you’re not anywhere near 7% of your population that
works here as having people with disabilities, what are
your recruitment efforts? Where are you recruiting? You’re not getting, you’re
connected with X, Y, Z, but they’re not referring any
people to you for positions. So it’s part of a
larger recruitment effort to cast a wider net to increase
the diversity of our workforce. The other piece that
will be happening with all federal contractors is
every five years all employees of the federal contractor
will be asked to voluntarily self identify. The other part that
we hope will happen, but I’m sure it will not happen
soon here at the University of Michigan, I think
there’ll be a lot of concern about wow why would I disclose. Is it going to be an advantage? As Suzanne said, gee it doesn’t
travel with my application so why should I do it? Is it going to be
held against me? I’m hoping that over time
it will become a part of our diversity at the
University of Michigan and certainly I think this
is the effort the Department of Labor has where this
just becomes another aspect of diversity. It helps reduce stigma so that
perhaps those applicants are more comfortable
when the disclosure of their impairment actually
relates to something positive that they’re bring
to the workforce. So as confusing as it is with
everything we’ve just said, be prepared to start seeing this
in 2014 whether you’re working for a federal contractor,
you will be surveyed or if you’re applying for a job
with any federal contractor, this will come up with
every application. Quick question, what do you see
as the incentive for somebody to check yes I have a disability
versus I do not wish to answer? Because until we get to that
place that you’re talking about, which will happen where
disability is seen as just another aspect of
diversity, what’s the incentive? And so are organizations
in your mind going to get accurate numbers? So we don’t believe we are
going to get accurate numbers and I think the part
that the Department of Labor has overlooked here is
the fact what is the advantage for the applicant. Right. And there is no advantage
for the applicant at this point. Just as though I would have to
say that we do have individuals who apply for positions
here and choose not to identify their race. So that is voluntary. When you apply for a job
with a federal contractor, you can opt out of
identifying your race. Right. So there’s no advantage. Some individuals don’t
believe there’s an advantage to identifying race. So I think those of us who
have been working with adults with disabilities in
the employment arena see that there’s a missing
piece to this, which is what is the advantage to the person with
the disability. Hopefully, what it’s meant is
that employers will be using and working with agencies
like yours Suzanne. Mm-hmm. To just worry about
getting the best person for the job and not worrying
about disability, but again, that piece that would be
missing is why would I disclose. Right. Yeah. So we understand that,
but I think someone from the Department
of Labor would have to answer that for you. [Laughs] Mmm. Thank you. All right. So. Can I. Go ahead. I’ll be quick. Sure. So in ten years
from now if we have asked that question again,
I think it’s going to be a completely
absurd question. Mm-hmm. People are going to
look at you really funny, like why would you
even say that, just as if we ask the question, why would you hire anyone
that’s not a white male? Why would you even do that? Fifty years ago, that
wouldn’t sound weird, but today that’s
incredibly offensive. What are you even talking about? Most employers understand that a diverse workforce
makes them better. But at the end of the day, a hiring manager while
they appreciate diversity and what they can do for their
workforce and all those kinds of things, at the end of the
day, they posted the position for a reason, they
have a business need, and they need someone with
a skill set to do that. So when you’re going into
an employment interview, why are they going to hire you? Why are they going to
hire you as a person? Because they need a job done and
you have the skill set to do it. So it’s up to you to help that employer understand
how your skill set is going to meet their business need and
make them a better business. So at the end of the
day, why are you going to hire people with
disabilities? It’s because the
skills to do the job. That’s why an employer is going to hire a person
with a disability. Because they have the skills. Yeah and I like what
you just said about the diverse workforce. I think another advantage
is because organizations are so diverse that people with
disabilities are coming in already with a perspective
around how to embrace diversity and work with diversity
whether it’s diverse customers or diverse colleagues
or diverse employees. So there’s an advantage
to hiring somebody with a disability who
can manage to that. One last thing. [Laughs] So again like Suzanne
is saying, that’s a strength. I’ve been in a lot of
employment interviews where people have brought
up during the interview, listen I come from a
diverse background. It helps me understand
people better. It gives me compassion
for other people. And that’s one of their top
selling points in their story about who they are
as a professional. I get other people. I’m someone who understands
and can accept other people, and make other people
feel comfortable. And so you can throw it out
there as a place of strength. Because employers more
and more want people that have that mindset. Okay, so just keeping
note of time, I want to open up
the floor to Q&A. So if there’s any of you that
have particular questions that you would like answered, feel free to submit
them to the panel. Yes. [Inaudible] question,
but this refers to something that you said Caleb and just
very coincidentally yesterday on my Facebook I have a
lot of people who happen to have disabilities who are on
our Facebook and someone said that he happens to be hard of
hearing or deaf, and he wanted to run a forklift and the
employer said absolutely no running a forklift if you’re
deaf, and here you say. Right. This is the proper
person to be running a forklift. It’s amazing. I’ll write him back. [Laughing] You should. Are those Walmart
studies available that. Well, yeah Walgreens. Walgreens. Walgreens. And they, well they’re
not the only employer that has recognized that. Lowe’s actually is also another
employer that employs a lot of people who are deaf
and hard of hearing to run their fork trucks and
load their trucks as well. And Lowe’s actually has, because
inside their loading dock, or when you’re in the trailer
you can’t hear the fire alarm, so like in their Pittston, Pennsylvania distribution
facility, they have like little
wristbands for everybody so that when the fire alarm
goes off it vibrates. So they know that
there’s a fire alarm. So they actually employ a lot
of people who are deaf and hard of hearing in their
distribution facility. So it’s actually becoming
more and more common. Mm-hmm. Sure. Yeah, I was think that for
me and this voluntary form, a reason that I would
check yes would be because if I was working
for a federal contractor, if they didn’t meet their 7%,
it would be to my disadvantage for my employer to then have
fines or legal proceedings against them or whatever could
happen, which would put them in a more precarious
financial position. And I would rather work for
an organization that was in a more solid financial
position. So I was wondering if that kind
of idea would be sort of like in an educational
piece that employers that are federal contractors
might say to people as they were presented
with this? I like what you have to say. The Department of
Labor has stated that there are no
fines associated. Oh. With noncompliance. That they do believe this
will be a work in progress. And I think that kind of
gets back to Suzanne’s point about well what’s the benefit for the person with
the disability. I think you made
that connection. Mm-hmm. What the
Department of Labor can do with any federal contractor
is come in and audit. They are looking for diversity. We have to do an Affirmative
Action plan every single year, reporting on our three or
four thousand job titles are consolidated into
about 150 job groups. So we’re not looking at 7% for
the University, we’re looking at 7% in each job group. So we’re talking about 7% of
nurses at the health system. 7% of people in marketing. So I don’t have all the
job groups, but we’ve kind of consolidated these
into 150 job groups. So I do agree with
you on principle. The other piece that I think
those of us at the University of Michigan we felt this
wasn’t a user-friendly form. We didn’t feel that it really, we wanted to change
some language in it. We would’ve made
it more welcoming, try to explain why we would
encourage you to sign the form or to at least disclose
even though there is not a direct advantage. But we’re prohibited from doing
that by the Department of Labor. This form has to
be as it’s written. We’ve added how you
request an accommodation and who you contact at the end
of it when you start to see it on our websites, but I
appreciate your attempt, but [Laughs] I do think Caleb
had a really great point. I think those of us who
have worked with adults with disabilities in
the employment arena, we tend to be continued
optimistic. I’ve been working with
adults with disabilities in that type of arena
since 1970s. So I remain optimistic and I am
confident that at some point, maybe sooner than
50 years from now, we won’t be questioning
diversity. [Inaudible] Ten years from now. Ten years. [Laughs] I’m sorry. We won’t be looking at, disability won’t have the
stigma that it has today. Yes. I know I missed the
first few minutes of this so if this question has already
been answered I apologize, but would top employers,
like the employers for the most competitive
jobs out of undergrad turn down say an ADHD student because
even though they may be able to do the job, they would guess
they wouldn’t necessarily excel at the job compared to their
peers that don’t have ADHD? Does that make sense? So employers are required,
so there’s no advantage. I think one of the questions,
there’s a handout in the back of the room I actually copied from the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission, it’s called Your
Employment Rights As An Individual
With A Disability. So if you disclose your
disability and you’re qualified for the job but you’re not best
qualified, there’s no advantage as Suzanne was pointing out, that the employer has a legal
obligation to choose the person with the disability over
an equally qualified other candidate. What we would hope, I think
what Suzanne was talking about in references to
persons let’s say with ADHD, you’re at the top of your
game, you’ve done great in your academic career,
you’re applying for a position, you’re mentioning your
ADHD in the interview if it’s an advantage, because it
brings a skill or a way for you to approach work that
would be an advantage for the employer to hire you. So just to acknowledge your
ADHD in the interview just to come clean or not
have any secrets, that would not be a reason
you would want to do it. You would want to do it from
a place of strength or again with Suzanne’s groups
that she works with, these are employers
actively looking for people, higher performers
with disabilities. So she can probably add to that. Can I just add a
little more to it? Yeah. I think in an
academic context, at the Career Center we
work with a lot of employers who screen candidates
based on GPA. Mm-hmm. Top employers and so some students whether
they started in the wrong major and then eventually ended
up in the right major, whether they had a health issue
one semester, a family crisis, a hidden disability,
may or may not meet that 3.7, 3.8 sort of criteria. Mm-hmm. And so a follow-up
to his question is then, I mean we work with that all
the time in terms of coming from a place of strength and not
focusing on that, and focusing on how you’ve changed
[Laughs] study habits or how you rebounded after that
incident in terms of strength, but are there employers
like Goldman, who is a perfect example. Everybody there for the most
part has a really high GPA, and I don’t know how
that impacts folks who might have learning
disabilities or other things that maybe weren’t even
diagnosed until they were at college that may have
impacted that overall GPA and they’re overall ability
to compete for that job with a person who hasn’t
had anything necessarily that they’ve had to overcome. I mean at first I would say that
it’s hard to speak to a company in general, say Goldman
Sachs is like that. Mm-hmm. Because there’s
also individuals who are interviewing you. Right. And some companies do
have these baseline you must have a minimum GPA. And that’s where I think
the way you’re advising is exactly right. So that’s where it’s
about being very proactive about selling yourself. Mm-hmm. So in that
cover letter I recognize that my GPA might be lower than
others and you have a minimum, but I’d like the opportunity to let you know what
my strengths are and how I will excel in
this job, because of X, Y, and Z. At the end of the day, GPA I don’t believe
is a determiner of how I will excel in that job. So that’s where it’s working
with students to know how to have that conversation
powerfully. It comes up a lot. It does come up a lot. ADHA comes up all the time. It comes up in. Yeah. And now here’s
the other thing, employers are getting
used to that because they’re seeing that. I mean it is really common to have a learning
disability in the workplace. I’ll give you an example, and
when you’re interviewing a lot of the time they give
you tests, assessments and so sometimes folks
need more time on those, because you want
to be successful. We had a network member who
was a brilliant consultant, went to a great school,
was great with case studies and client’s case studies,
but in the actual interview where you have to
in the moment figure out those case studies right
there, he had a hard time as a result of his disability. And so for a couple of
years he didn’t disclose and he didn’t do well
on his interviews. And so he realized he was
shooting himself in the foot. He wasn’t going to be successful at an interview,
what was the point? So finally he disclosed and
did it in a powerful way and he got some more time
and he got a great job, and what he also discovered through the process is the
minute he disclosed they’re like oh yeah people ask
for more time all the time. And so there’s those who are
employing with disabilities who have this fear of can I
talk about it with the person, how do I have that conversation,
and then there’s those with disabilities who assume
sometimes that it’s going to be worse, not all the
time, but they assume that. And the thing about ADHD
is, oh and so we had a woman who interviewed, got
more time on her test, and then they do the drug test. And in the drug test, oh I
forgot what it was called, but showed a narcotic,
a stimulant, right. And so she was panicked, what
do I do, I don’t know want them to think I take drugs. She told them I have ADHD. I take this medication
and they go oh yeah, that happens all the time,
we just need a doctor’s note. [Laughing] So again, she
was all worked up about it, but at the end of
the day it was, it happens quite frequently, so. The only thing that I wanted
to add, Suzanne got me thinking about another requirement under
this Department of Labor piece, so employers who do do
testing now are placed under additional
scrutiny to make sure that any testing they do
pre-employment, that is, to determine if you’re
eligible as part of the interview process, that
it has to have been evaluated to make sure that it does not
unintentionally discriminate against people with
disabilities. And I think that’s where
some of the employers who use that on a regular basis are
really going to be challenged, possibly potentially in court. So the ADA has already
prohibited that, but I think now with an additional agency
looking at a pre-employment kind of screening test or whatever,
I believe that that’s going to be another avenue for
people with disabilities who really believe this
is, it’s not just an issue of additional time for a test, but the test itself is not a
valid and reliable instrument because it unintentionally
discriminates against people with certain types
of disabilities. So that’s another aspect that I think is a good
thing that’s coming out of the Department
of Labor piece. Has that gone into effect? The Department of
Labor requirements go into effect March 24, 2014. Employers have some time to get
this form into their system. The University hopes to
have ours online by April 1. So, yes. Carole in my role at the Career Center I also
work employers, and I’m sure that many of larger employers
their legal departments be aware of this, and it will all
sort of channel down just like it does here at the
University, but we also work with quite a few of employers who may not have those large
established departments and legal counsel. Is there information here
at Michigan that’s published or information that we
could have to, I don’t want to advise an employer, but some
place where I can point them to get more information? Because we have a
ton of employers who do pre-employment testing
and those types of things, and again I don’t want to be
the lawyer or the legal counsel, but to be able to educate them
or point them to resources where they could educate
themselves to learn more. Right. In terms of what I can do
is provide you with the OFCCP, Office of Federal
Contract Compliance. That’s the Department
of Labor entity that has put forth
this new regulation and then explains
everything on their website in a nice Q&A kind of way. Okay, that’d be great. So I’ll get you that. I’ll make sure I send that
to you at the Career Center. Can I go back to the question
about ADHD, actually I’m kind of worried about the way
you asked the question, because it was how do I get
an employer to understand that once I’m on the job
I’m not going to perform as well as other people. And. Do you want
me to elaborate? Well I mean, yeah, I’m going
to say something really quick and then if you need
to elaborate do. That kind of worries me because
right now you should be thinking about what am I the best at? What are my skills? If you’re worried about
that, I think you’re looking at the wrong kind of jobs. You made me think of actually
John Kerry and George Bush, because both of them
graduated from Stanford with like a 2 point
something, right. Because they started,
they were both like failing their freshman
year and they turned it around and they got good
grades their senior year, but both of them ended
up running for President. You need to find what
you’re really good at and capitalize on that. Why be focused on a
career well yeah you know at the best I’m going
to be mediocre are this. What do you excel at
and then how do we plug that into a real job
where we can capitalize on your strengths? Instead of okay how do we
get an employer to understand that I might not be as
productive as other employees. That’s just I don’t know, that line of thinking
I guess makes me think about the direction of your
career and where you’re looking. I don’t know, if that helps
or not or if I’m way off. So I think Suzanne’s example
was excellent because I’m trying to get into management
consulting. Uh-huh. And my biggest
concern is my GPA. As you said, I have an
upward trend in my GPA, but I almost failed
out freshman year. So what that tells
employers when they look at that is this kid
does not have, even though he may
show an upward trend. Mm-hmm. He just doesn’t
compare to other, this is just my understanding
what other people told me that I talked to you, he
doesn’t add up compared to the other ultra
qualified candidates. I’m not competing against
people who are near me in on-paper qualification,
I’m competing against people who are far above me in
on-paper qualification. Mm-hmm. Now the reason
I’m still pursuing it is because I’m convinced
that I have the skills and the intellect to
be able to do the job. Mm-hmm. So being
able to communicate that is difficult though, because on paper my skills
don’t come off as strong. And Suzanne, so what’s
off paper is my question. What are you doing off
paper to position yourself so that those hiring managers
already know about you. You have the opportunity to
right now to go and network, be part of professional
associations and get yourself out there. All things that your
peers are not doing, okay. Most college students
are not doing that stuff. They’re not, I mean you can
call up any employer right now and say hey I’m a student at U
of M, this is my career track, can I come over and talk to you about what your organization
does? Nine times of out of ten,
if it’s the right kind of organization, the hiring
manager from two years from now or three years from now
is going to say yeah, you know what come by, take
a half hour of my time, and we’re going to talk. I do this all the
time with folks. You can do all the
things that 90% of the other students
here are not doing and you can put yourself, off paper you can put yourself
miles ahead of everybody else, because nobody’s taking
the time to do that. So if you know on paper
you’re not going to stack up, there’s a million things
you can do off paper to put yourself miles ahead
of those other candidates, because they’re not
taking the time to do that. Exactly what he said. You might have to
work a little harder and a little more creatively
to differentiate yourself. And the other thing is, I
think one advantage you have is that this was your
freshman year, and. Sophomore year. Right, okay, we’ll say freshman. A lot of folks regardless of
whether they have a disability or not in their freshman
year don’t do well, you’re transitioning to school. So what you want to talk about
is what you learned from it. Because if you’re going to
be a great employee and move up the ladder in organizations
and be a great leader, you need to be able to
fail, make mistakes, get feedback, and
turn that around. That’s what they want,
people who will take feedback when they make a mistake and
say, here’s what I’m going to do differentially
moving forward. So you can turn this
into a powerful story of, you know transitioning to
school was a little hard for me, you don’t even have to
talk about your ADHD. Mm-hmm. But here’s
what I learned. It helped me to learn how to
get my study skills in order. It helped me to set higher
aspirational goals for myself and get really organized. And so now I think
I get that and how that translates to
the workplace. So I’m grateful even
that I had that failure. And now I know it’s okay to
fail, it’s what you do with it. You can turn that
into a powerful story. That’s good. Should we take one
last question? Yep, one last question. Mm-hmm. So we talked a little
bit about making sure you get into the interview
and then what to do if they tests and
standardize ways. For myself, I’ve run
into a slight variation of that is the _____
educational tests they do that aren’t standardized
in test form. In Google and Amazon they do
a lot of numbers, questions, and I’m dyslexic, so if
you ask me to do numbers in an interview situation
without a calculator, I’m going to make
myself look really silly. So in those situations, I
think my dyslexia is actually a strength, because it gives
me a different perspective, something unique that has helped
me in my career, but if I run into that situation I can
walk you through my logic, but it’s just going to look
really bad if I try to do it without a calculator, which is
not a situation you’re going to run into in the
real workplace. And can you bring your,
you’re saying you don’t know if you want to bring your
calculator and pull it out? Bring my calculator and
even with a calculator, it’s just I’m not comfortable
doing estimations or numbers in a live interview setting. Right. But if it’s
the same thing in a non-live interview
setting you’re fine. Yeah. You excel, it sounds like
that something you excel at. Yeah. I’m very analytical, but
if you ask me to do simple math, like in my head, it’s
not going to work out. Right. And so that’s
what you need to, so one thing I recommend
is trying to find out what the interview is going
to be like a head of time. And it is what it is at
the end of the day, right. So all you can do is
control what you can control. And so one way to possibly
control it is to let them know that you’re not as comfortable
with that, but you want to show them what
you’re great at. You might even talk about
dyslexia because it’s so common. It’s much more common in
the workplace and talk about all the great people who
have dyslexia in the workplace. [Laughing] And I can name
several CEOs who have it. But the other thing is
a place like Google, so that’s where you
get kind of picky about the companies
you go apply for, and a place like Google is going
to be much more open to that. I mean they actively pursue
folks with certain disabilities who tend to be better
at programing. They’re actively pursuing that. So finding a company that you
know is going to be open to it. Sharing it from a
place of strength. Coming with a solution. So if this is the kind of
interview we’re going to have, it’s going to be more
difficult for me, but I do want to demonstrate my
quantitative skills for you, I have a suggestion. So bringing a solution and
having that conversation as they’ve been sharing. But at the end of the day, it
is what it is, and you’re going to need accommodation
for that or a strategy. [Laughs] All right, well I
just want to thank all of you for coming and thanking
our panelists for coming on such lovely weather
occasions today, and hopefully this
will be something that we can continue
in the future. And Stuart did you
have anything to say? I did, I just, A I want to
thank the panelists again, but we actually have
a more concrete token of our appreciation
that I wanted to pass out to our panelists
and our moderator. A piece of concrete. [Laughing] Thank you. So that’s for you. Thank you very much. Carole. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you. It’s wonderful. Is there anything else? I just want to say that
I go to many universities and talk to many universities. I am really, really impressed
with what you are all doing around this issue and how you’re
approaching the way Career Services and Disability
Services are working together with students. You really don’t
see that everywhere. So it’s really inspiring and I think you’re guys are
taking a leadership role in that sense. And I again before we go, I
want to applaud Career Center for helping to put
this together. Thank you. And making it happen. Not a problem. And I thank you two for coming. I hope that if we can
make this a yearly event, you’ll consider coming back. I think it’s good information. Can we do it in the spring? Yeah. [Laughing] I know. Better timing. [Laughs] Spring or fall. Right. Spring or fall. Just before graduation. Because the problem
with spring is that I think we’re too
close to graduation. Right. Oh. But fall much actually be a
really good time to do this. Yeah. Getting them ready
for their graduation. Yeah. Definitely. Okay. All right. Well thank you all. [Applause] Thank you. Once again, there are
cookies, there are brownies, there are pens, there
are memory sticks. Oh, I want a memory stick. Thank you [Inaudible]. Take some and take the fliers
for the rest of the events for the rest of the year. Please let people
know and thank you. If there’s any rising
juniors who want to hear about our fellowship program,
I’m happy to talk about it. And otherwise everybody
should join the Lime Network. [Music]

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