Renowned autism advocate Temple Grandin, PhD, will deliver a keynote address, Autism and my Path Through Life, at Raise the Bar Hire! Oct. 5 at the DCU Center in Worcester. UMass Medical School’s Work Without Limits hosts the annual two-day conference and career fair now in its fifth year.
Grandin is the author of the current bestseller, The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s, and inventor of the “hug box,” a mechanism designed to calm individuals on the spectrum. Named one of the most influential people in the world by Time 100, she has been the subject on several nationally syndicated broadcasts, most notably the Emmy Award-winning HBO biopic Temple Grandin.
Commonwealth Medicine Executive Vice Chancellor Joyce A. Murphy, MPA, will introduce Grandin.
Grandin will be joined by fellow speaker, Brad Hopton, co-founder of the PwC’s Disability Inclusion Employee Resource Group and devoted father to a son with Down Syndrome. Hopton will give a plenary address, Disability Reveals Itself. Hopton regularly educates businesses on the benefits of a diverse workforce as it drives innovation at PwC.
Richard Curtis, vice president of workforce development for State Street, and Laura Stout, director of contract operations at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, will co-host the conference. Both have implemented dynamic initiatives to attract, develop, and retain an inclusive workforce at their respective employers, and will honor those who share the same mindset.
The Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals who advance the employment of young adults with disabilities in Massachusetts, will be given to two members of the B-SET for Career Network team, Dore Penn and Jerry Mogul. Penn, a consultant and project director for B-SET, and Mogul, the executive director of the Massachusetts Advocates for Children, will be applauded for their tireless efforts to increase employment and post-secondary education placements for Boston youth with disabilities.
Joey Buizon at the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind will receive the Partnership Award, bestowed on a professional leader who exemplifies the spirit of collaboration in advancing the employment of people with disabilities. Buizon facilitates partnerships for people with disabilities, family members, professionals, and other stakeholders while effectively supporting individuals’ vocational goals.
The Exemplary Employee Award, presented annually to an individual who provides top-notch service in a team environment, will go to Timothy Vernon, a senior customer service representative who is blind. The Exemplary Employer Award will go to Vernon’s employer, Eversource Energy, for promoting and supporting workforce diversity and inclusion in Massachusetts.
Other conference highlights include exhibitors and educational breakout sessions on topics including the diversity supplier initiative, meeting the needs of job seekers with disabilities and reasonable accommodations in the workplace. Day one of the conference on Oct. 5 will feature the keynote addresses and award presentations. On day two, Oct. 6, job seekers with disabilities can network with some of Massachusetts’ leading employers during a half-day career fair.