UMass Medical School’s Work Without Limits program will educate employers about building diversity by recruiting people with disabilities and dispelling myths about their productivity at a conference and career fair hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management Feb. 26 in Cambridge.
The Recruitment Marketing and Corporate Brands conference, one of four events held annually by Work Without Limits, will include discussions about the role and value of the company brand in recruiting employees with disabilities. Employers also will learn about promising practices of other employers.
“The companies can go back and apply what works for them in their businesses,” said Kathy Petkauskos, senior program director at Work Without Limits, part of the Disability, Health and Employment Policy unit within the Commonwealth Medicine division of UMass Medical School.
“It’s a fallacy that people with disabilities can only do low-level jobs, that they can only do certain jobs, that they get sick a lot. Those all are myths,” Petkauskos said.
Topics include policies, accommodations in the building, getting buy-in from CEOs and training for recruiters and managers that includes what they can and can’t ask in an interview.
One of the major questions from employers is where to find potential employees who have disabilities because candidates don’t always disclose the fact they have a disability.
Being prepared to recruit people with disabilities includes “creating an inclusive culture in the company which will include training all employees at the company,” Petkauskos said.
Businesses that are going to hire people with disabilities often have partnerships with agencies in the community to make sure it will work, she said.
Work Without Limits sourced job candidates for the career fair through its partnerships with community agencies, which reached out to their constituencies to tap people with disabilities interested in attending.
Companies that have registered to attend the career fair are: Disability Images, Hyatt Hotels in Boston, Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, Eastern Bank, State Street Bank, Harvard University, National Grid, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, TD Bank, CVS Caremark, UMass Medical School, EY (formerly known as Ernst & Young), Professional Staffing Group, Progress Software, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and MIT.
The educational program will run from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and the career fair will be held from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. To register for the conference, email Kathy.Muhr@umassmed.edu.