USBLN’s Virtual Career Invitational: “Going for the Gold” in Disability Inclusion

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Graphic promoting USBLN's #RecruitDisabilityTalent virtual career fair. Learn more at www.usbln.org/RecruitDisabilityTalentUSBLN’s Virtual Career Invitational: “Going for the Gold” in Disability Inclusion
By Jill Houghton

At the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN), we are proud to provide a forum for businesses to learn and share innovations that increase disability inclusion across the workplace, marketplace and supply chain. As our name implies, we are committed to leadership. We support those businesses that are leading the way on this important issue, and we encourage others to join their ranks.

We do this through a range of both internal and external initiatives. For the latter, our membership in the Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) is a great example. We are proud to be involved in its efforts to change attitudes about the employment of people with disabilities and educate employers about the skills and talents they have to offer. After all, the CDE’s mission and ours are very much aligned.

Internally, we have a broad network, comprised of nearly 50 BLN affiliates across the U.S. that collectively provide programs and a voice for more than 5,000 businesses. We also have more than 130 Corporate Partners spanning the technology, healthcare, financial, transportation, entertainment and retail industries. In fact, we are proud to count some of the nation’s (and world’s) most successful companies among our Corporate Partners.

Together, these disability employment leaders have committed to growing and keeping talent with disabilities. This is especially true for the Corporate Partners participating in our “Going for the Gold” (GFG) program. This first-of-its-kind initiative pairs Corporate Partners—that is, Fortune/Global 500 companies—with USBLN subject matter experts to develop customized disability inclusion plans.

Although these plans are unique to each company’s needs, we’ve discovered that one key challenge shared by all is finding experienced candidates with disabilities for STEM, finance and business positions. To help address this need, our GFG team came up with a two-pronged plan: a Virtual Career Invitational (VCI) on April 20, 2018, preceded by a social media campaign.

To start, the social media campaign, centered around the hashtag #RecruitDisabilityTalent, will target experienced candidates with disabilities to let them know that participating companies are searching for them and want to meet one-on-one to discuss job opportunities. We anticipate that the campaign will reap many benefits, including not only increasing the number of candidates participating in the VCI, but also promoting GFG companies as leaders in disability recruitment. It will help showcase them as employers of choice for people with disabilities, every day.

Then, the VCI will not be your typical virtual career fair. A virtual career fair (sometimes called an online job fair) usually entails an interactive online recruiting platform that connects job seekers to employers and employment opportunities. In these events, interested candidates freely move in and out of companies’ chat rooms to connect with recruiters. But the VCI will take things to a different level:

  • It is not open to all job candidates; rather, job candidates must identify as a person with a disability and complete an event interest survey to be considered for participation.
  • Based on the participating companies’ pre-submitted job requisitions, the GFG team will assure that only well-matched and qualified job candidates with disabilities are invited to the event.
  • Each recruiter will have the ability to view all candidates’ resumes prior to the event and select those they want to speak to on the day.
  • From the list of candidates they select, recruiters will schedule 15-minute informational meetings, with the ability to fill up to eight slots.

We hope that the VCI will become a leading best practice we can replicate with our Corporate Partners in the future to connect them with experienced talent with disabilities. Based on its results, we will refine and add it to our menu of strategies for helping them achieve their disability inclusion goals, or, as we like to say, “Go for the Gold.”

For more information or to find out about participating in the VCI, please visit our VCI webpage.

About the Author

Jill Houghton is the President & CEO of the U.S. Business Leadership Network.

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