Confronting Complacency: Advancing Equitable Employment for All (Session 8D)
Main Topic: Employment
Session Type: Talk Story
This Talk Story session will lead participants through a discussion on how ableism unintentionally permeates disability service provision (with specific focus on employers, professionals, and providers). Even amongst disability service providers, disability inclusion is not a topic many are proficient in. Many providers of disability employment services are not required to learn about disability history, identity or culture. Historic exclusion has resulted in minimal exposure and experience living and working alongside people with disabilities equitably. Because of this gap in lived experience and/or acquired knowledge, organizations need to make intentional efforts to re-examine the systems we uphold and operate within, and ensure we include people with disabilities in all components of service planning and delivery. Additionally, we must become comfortable with challenging our own ethics every step of the way. This session will be facilitated with the intent of opening discussion and creating dialogue for those who care about advancing disability employment, and how we can either choose to break down (or continue to build up) barriers to disability employment – especially the intangible, attitudinal barriers people with disabilities still face every day in their pursuit of self-determination.
- Confront personal bias, and explore power and privilege dynamics in working relationships.
- Discover how ableism is built into systems, and develop strategies for eliminating institutional and intangible barriers.
- Identify transformative action steps to decrease ableism within disability employment services.
Keywords: Ableism, Disability Rights, Employment, Equity, Inclusion, Self-Determination
Ashley OolmanLifeworks Services, Inc. - Disability Inclusion Consultant
Lifeworks Services, Inc.
Ashley Oolman, Disability Inclusion Consultant at Lifeworks, transforms workplaces through accessibility tools, evidence-based best practices, and compliance assessments. From large corporations to small businesses, she guides strategic inclusive hiring and retention initiatives to diversify talent and advance disability employment. With more than a decade of leadership experience in advocacy, employment, and workplace culture, she understands how to navigate complex environments to provide insight for growth. Ashley has an MBA with a concentration on human resource management and a BA in psychology with a minor in human development and family studies. Most recently Ashley was selected as a Josie R. Johnson Leadership Academy fellow and accepted into the YWCA’s Racial Justice Facilitator program. She is committed to inclusion as a means to advance human rights for all people, in all walks of life.
Alli Strong-MartinLifeworks Services, Inc. - Disability Inclusion Specialist
Lifeworks Services, Inc.
Alli Strong-Martin, Disability Inclusion Specialist at Lifeworks, leverages research to develop new products and services that help educate and train employers, disability organizations, and community members on disability rights and disability inclusion in the workplace and in the community at-large. Alli holds a Master’s degree in Human Rights, and Bachelor’s degrees in Nonprofit Leadership & International Studies. Alli’s goal is to facilitate conversation with organizations and community partners on topics such as ableism, intersectionality, and disability history. Alli views her work at Lifeworks as promoting the human rights of people with disabilities to full community inclusion and equal opportunity.