Agencies step up efforts to include people with disabilities | Publicity
Over the past year, as agencies have made and reaffirmed their commitments to diversity, they have shared parameters and launched initiatives to strengthen multicultural inclusion.
But diversity isn’t always about race or identity, and the disabled and neurodiverse community is often left out of the conversation.
Almost 70 million people in the United States, or 20% of the population, have learning differences such as dyslexia or ADHD. Among the neurodiversified population, nearly 85% of autistic people are either unemployed or underemployed.
Those who are employed are often offered part-time or minimum wage jobs which may not be suitable for their conditions. Some face discrimination due to a lack of infrastructure and resources to meet their needs.
The non-profit organization Creative Spirit is dedicated to creating jobs for people with intellectual disabilities in the creative industry. To help agencies hire more neurodiverse creative talent, the organization operates a pro-bono consulting firm for companies looking to hire from the community.
Creative Spirit has partnered with agencies and holding companies such as Omnicom, Interpublic Group and MRM to establish a recruitment pipeline. Brands such as Discovery, Disney and Verizon have also participated in the program.
“Companies are looking for a partner,” said Laurel Rossi, co-founder of Creative Spirit and head of partnerships at Organic. “Employers need help.”
Thanks to the agency‘s partnership with Creative Spirit, Christopher Smith was able to quit his retail job to land a position as Human Resources Coordinator at MRM. Smith secured an HR intern position at MRM in 2019 and was promoted to the full-time position in February.
“Every day I entered my [retail] work and I felt isolated, like I had no one to go to, ”Smith said. “Part of it was because I didn’t think there was anyone who would understand [my] individual situation. ”
Smith connected with Creative Spirit, who matched him with a mentor who understood his needs. The organization worked with MRM to determine the best way to accommodate Smith for an interview, which then resulted in his hiring.
“I think when someone reveals that the candidate is from Creative Spirit, companies shouldn’t see it as a negative,” Smith said. “Businesses should and think, ‘This person might need a little extra help.’ Keep an open mind. Don’t let that be the end of your resume reading. ”
Nathan Friedman, CMO of Understandingood.org, a nonprofit dedicated to providing children and adults with disabilities with tools and resources to learn and work, said companies should go beyond hiring by ensuring all practices, including how businesses reach consumers. , are inclusive. Compris has worked with brands such as Pepsi and UPS to launch inclusion initiatives that have led to more than 65,000 jobs for people with disabilities.
The organization is also pushing for companies to be more inclusive in the way they create products, including digital products, for example by using AAA-compatible fonts and sonic branding.
“[Companies] must ensure that they not only provide an accessible experience for all, but that the content is accessible to all with universal design principles, ”Friedman said. “It’s not enough to make a website, content, ad or campaign more accessible. It must be integrated from the start. ”
According to the CDC, one in four Adults in the United States have a disability, including invisible developmental and learning disabilities, and tend to report mental distress almost five times more frequently than adults without a disability.