Prominent disability-rights activist and former college hockey player Travis Roy will be the keynote speaker at the seventh annual Raise the Bar HIRE! Conference, to be held this October to coincide with National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
Now in its seventh year, Raise the Bar HIRE! is a full-day event designed to create opportunities for individuals with disabilities to enter and advance in the employment arena. In addition to the keynote address by Roy, the event will feature educational breakout sessions, exhibitors and networking opportunities.
Raise the Bar HIRE! is hosted by Work Without Limits, an initiative of UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine, and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), a state agency devoted to helping people with disabilities live and work independently. Work Without Limits is dedicated to advancing the employment of people with disabilities through training and consulting, benefits counseling, and career networking events.
“At our Raise the Bar HIRE! event, we connect with others and share information that explains why hiring people with disabilities is a smart and solid business decision,” said Kathy Petkauskos, director of Work Without Limits. “We’ve come a long way, but we still have far to go. At Raise the Bar HIRE!, we take steps together on this important journey.”
At Raise the Bar HIRE!, employers are able to meet other employers to learn about their best practices and successes at recruiting and hiring persons with disabilities. In addition, employers can meet with state agencies and community-based organizations who work with qualified candidates with disabilities, helping to identify good matches with employers, preparing them for success on the job, and providing post-employment support to both the employer and employee.
Delivering value to employers
“MRC is proud to partner with Work Without Limits on Raise the Bar HIRE!,” said MRC Commissioner Toni Wolf. “This event is all about partnerships, where we learn from each other how to best serve those with disabilities—individuals with so much passion and commitment who, given the opportunity, are fully able to deliver great value and benefits to employers and the community.”
Roy’s inspirational story
A motivational speaker and former college hockey player, Roy’s life took a dramatic turn 11 seconds into his first game as a freshman at Boston University. Out on his first shift as a player, Roy crashed headfirst into the boards and cracked his fourth vertebra. The injury resulted in paralysis of all four of Roy’s limbs.
Today, Roy heads the Travis Roy Foundation, a nonprofit which has raised more than $5.2 million over the past 17 years, awarding 1,500 Quality of Life grants for individuals with spinal cord injuries and helping fund medical research. His autobiography, “11 Seconds,” written with Sports Illustrated writer E.M. Smith, is the story of Roy’s inspirational journey—a testament to the power of love and the strength of the human spirit.
Raise the Bar HIRE! will take place on Thursday, October 10, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Four Points Sheraton in Norwood, MA.
Last year’s conference drew more than 400 people from private companies, colleges and universities, employment services, and disability-owned certified businesses, as well as individuals with disabilities.