HIRE LEARNING

PwD: The Working Life: Let’s Talk about Disability in the 21st Century

By , February 6, 2015

I’m excited to be starting PwD: The Working Life, a new column for the Hire Learning blog. This is an idea that has been brewing in my head for several years. I believe it’s time we think about reimagining disability for the 21st century.

Living in the digital age, it’s apparent that the nature of work is changing at lightening speed and is also revolutionizing new opportunities in the consumer marketplace. This blog series will help both job seekers and C-level executives and managers find information, explore new ideas and ask questions about the changing nature of the culture of work.

My role will be to facilitate conversations and offer thoughts and advice on the topics of the day. In this inaugural post I want to present some fundamental questions that I hope will help shape conversations in the coming weeks and months.

For Job Seekers with Disabilities:

  • How have you seen the Internet change your tactics for finding potential job opportunities? Do you feel that it has created a greater sense of direct communication or do you feel lost in the shuffle?

  • As a person with disability how can you show your value to recruiters? Overcoming stigma can still be a huge issue. Has the digital revolution helped or hindered you in this process?

  • The Power of Desirable Difficulty: The writer Malcolm Gladwell discusses the power that adversity can play in giving you an advantage in certain areas of life and work. How do you use this in selling yourself to potential employers?

For C-Level Executives/Managers:

  • The disability community is still a truly untapped pool of human capital. How are you and your company investing in talent acquisition within this community? (This includes veterans and mature workers who are working past traditional retirement.)

  • For the U.S. to truly stay competitive in the STEM world it is vital for organizations to prepare for the tsunami of young adults on the autism spectrum. As many students at MIT and other elite universities in STEM programs are diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, how is your organization preparing to develop a talent management structure that increases your opportunity to stay competitive?

  • Including children, over one billion people (or about 15% of the world’s population) were esti­mated to be living with disability, according to The World Bank. How is your organization recalibrating to not only meet the demands of this market but also create new growth opportunities?


I hope with PwD: The Working Life we will create a robust community that is able to share new ides and offer solutions to some of our most challenging problems in the world of work and the emerging consumer market. Please feel free to explore the questions I’ve posed and offer any comments you like. Let the dialogue begin!

You can contact me either through Think Beyond the Label or at jonathan@jkaufmanconsulting.com

Author: Jonathan Kaufman

Professor Jonathan Kaufman is seen as an innovative thinker in both the diversity and disability arena and in organizational strategy and personal growth. He is the owner of J Kaufman Consulting, which advises corporations, governments and nonprofits around disability issues. He also lectures at several universities, teaches the Graduate program in Occupational Health Psychology for Touro University Worldwide and is a sought-after speaker.