In a world that is gradually awakening to the importance of diversity and inclusion, events like Bank of America’s Disability Employment Awareness Month panel provide invaluable insights into the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

This special event featured a distinguished panel of experts, including George Abbott, President & CEO of The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., and prominent figures like Zach Tomlinson, Chief Innovation Officer at Skookum, Dia Dissmore, Senior VP & Academy Leader at Bank of America, Graciela Gomez, Community Liaison at Evergreen Goodwill of NW WA, John Craddock, Executive Sponsor of the Greater Seattle Disability Action Network at Bank of America and Board of Trustees member at the Lighthouse, and John Balan, Co-Chair of the Greater Seattle Disability Action Network at Bank of America.

The panel’s discussions revolved around several pivotal themes:

Cultivating a Culture of Inclusion

One of the primary objectives discussed was the cultivation of a culture of inclusion. It’s not enough to simply invite individuals with disabilities to participate; they must be fully included in the fabric of the organization. Inclusivity isn’t just about checking boxes; it’s about recognizing the unique talents and perspectives that diverse individuals bring to the table.

Celebrating Differences

Rather than shying away from the topic of disability, the panel urged companies to celebrate differences. The stigma surrounding disabilities can be dismantled through open dialogue and a genuine appreciation for the diverse abilities and qualities that every individual possesses. Celebrating these differences can lead to a more harmonious and vibrant workplace.

Discover the advantages of hiring people who are blind >>

Accessibility Matters

Online job application portals need to be accessible to everyone. This seemingly small change can open doors to a wealth of untapped talent. Organizations should take steps to ensure that their digital spaces are welcoming and inclusive to all applicants, regardless of their abilities. Companies should actively seek out and implement the accommodations needed to ensure that all employees can thrive in their roles.

Learn about how you can make your hiring practices more accessible >>

Career Development Opportunities

Creating opportunities for career choice and advancement is crucial. The panel encouraged organizations to develop career ladders that are accessible to everyone. By doing so, companies can nurture the talents of all employees and provide them with a clear path for growth within the organization.

Upward mobility at the Lighthouse >>

Meaningful Volunteering

Meaningful volunteer opportunities can be a game-changer. By offering deep and meaningful volunteer experiences, organizations enrich the lives of all involved, contributing to a more inclusive society. Such experiences provide invaluable lessons and promote a deeper understanding of the challenges and triumphs of people with disabilities.

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The Disability Action Network at Bank of America

The mission of the Disability Action Network is to live and promote the bank’s unwavering commitment to people impacted by disabilities. This network serves as a valuable source of support and information for Bank of America employees who are directly or indirectly affected by disabilities.

The Disability Action Network’s focus extends to three critical areas: awareness, education, and volunteer activities in local communities. By actively engaging in these efforts, the network aims to break down barriers, destigmatize disabilities, and promote a culture of inclusion within Bank of America and its surrounding communities.

The insights from Bank of America’s Disability Employment Awareness panel offer a roadmap for companies to create more inclusive, diverse, and compassionate workplaces. By embracing these principles, organizations can not only meet legal requirements but also tap into a vast reservoir of talent, foster greater innovation, and create more inclusion.

Learn about advancing access and equity through disability employment >>

We’re Leaders in Blind Employment – View Our Open Positions and Apply Today!

The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. transforms the lives of people who are blind, Deafblind, and blind with other disabilities. We are leaders in blind employment. Through employment opportunities, we are a catalyst for empowerment. We foster self-confidence and instill a life changing affirmation that independence is possible. From our expertise in cutting-edge technology to our understanding of mobility, we help people who are blind, Deafblind, and blind with other disabilities live fulfilling lives.