Disability Hiring Bad Ass - Julie Sowash

October 10, 2018

It's Disability Employment Awareness month which means it's time for The Chad & Cheese to pull out their secret weapon who knows her shit about hiring people with disabilities. Julie Sowash, Senior Consultant with Disability Solutions take the guys to school! Yes, that Sowash... 

 

Julie and the team at Disability Solutions have helped nearly 1,200 people with disabilities find jobs in great companies like Pepsi and Synchrony Financial. She breaks through the fluffy bullshit and helps us focus on the real deal - getting hiring outcomes. #ActionNotWords

 

Plus, Julie tells us what really pisses her off when talking to D&I leaders who still don't get it... 

 

All in today's interview sponsored by Uncommon.co

PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:

Disability Solutions is changing minds and changing lives through disability inclusion.

 

Chad:                  This, the Chad and Cheese podcast, brought to in partnership with TA Tech. TA Tech, the association for talent acquisition solutions. Visit TATech.org

 

Chad:                  Dude, I just got off the phone with Teg.

 

Joel:                     Teg, Teg, oh yeah, over at Uncommon.

 

Chad:                  Dude, do you know another Teg? Anyway, Uncommon just opened up their resume database of 100 million candidates to recruiters for free.

 

Joel:                     Whoa, wait, what?

 

Chad:                  Yeah, Uncommon's releasing their new database matching tech and beta before the end of the year, and they wanna show it off to recruiters for free.

 

Joel:                     All right, let me get this straight. Recruiters can sign up for Uncommon's beta, post their jobs into the system, the system then matches only qualified candidates from Uncommon's database of 100 million candidates, and this is all for free?

 

Chad:                  I know, dude. For two weeks, for free, but only during the month of October.

 

Joel:                     Dude, Uncommon has some of the best matching tech in the industry. That'll be like cheating for recruiters.

 

Chad:                  I know. Uncommon uses the qualifications in the job description to automatically source, screen, and deliver candidates that meet all requirements. It's pretty freaking dope.

 

Joel:                     Did you just say dope?

 

Chad:                  Here's how you register, go to Uncommon.co. Click on the Join Beta button. And for all you Chad and Cheese listeners, if you use the promo code chadcheese, you will get

extended by a full week, that's three weeks in the Uncommon beta for three weeks, free.

 

Joel:                     I'm sorry, did you really say dope?

 

Chad:                  Dude, shut up. Tell your recruiter buddies, Uncommon.co, join beta, chadcheese, three weeks, it's dope.

 

Announcer:       Hide your kids, lock the doors, you're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts.  Complete with breaking news, brash opinion, and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls, it's time for Chad and Cheese podcast.

 

Joel:                     As if dealing with one Sowash wasn't enough, I've got two Sowashes in this podcast.

 

Joel:                     Welcome everybody to an Uncommon exclusive for the month of October. Our special guest today is Julie Sowash. Yes, that kind of Sowash. Julie, welcome to the show.

 

Julie:                    Thank you. Happy to be here, especially on an Uncommon exclusive.

 

Chad:                  So happy.

 

Joel:                     So what bet did Chad lose to get you on the show?

 

Julie:                    Really? He asked me, it is an honor to have me on the show, c'mon Cheesman.

 

Joel:                     Anyone who calls me Cheesman is good in my book.

 

Joel:                     Julie, for those who don't know you and love you like we do, give us the elevator pitch and why the hell are you on the show.

 

Julie:                    All right, well not just because I'm Chad's wife, as some may say, but I work for a non-for-profit consulting company called Disability Solutions. And we focus on helping companies build enterprise-wide hiring systems for people with disabilities and veterans with disabilities. So we work with big companies.

 

Julie:                    We've helped over the past four and a half years, companies hire close to about 1,200 people with disabilities. So it's National Disability Employment Awareness month. And I appreciate you guys letting me spread the good word.

 

Chad:                  And she's a badass. I mean that's just, you know, not that I'm bias. But yeah, no, she's total badass.

 

Joel:                     Not bias at all.

 

Chad:                  No.

 

Joel:                     Of course.

 

Joel:                     I did not know that it was National Awareness month, so that's news to me. And I am much less verse in this disability compliance stuff as your husband, but I've worked really hard to get a list of questions for you, in addition to Chad's thoughtful inquiries.

 

Joel:                     I'm gonna start it off if that's okay.

 

Chad:                  Yup, knock it out.

 

Joel:                     What are companies biggest failure when it comes to hiring and recruiting disabled persons?

 

Julie:                    Well first, I say disabled persons, they-

 

Chad:                  Wow.

 

Joel:                     Ouch, right out the gate.

 

Julie:                    So just one point of education, I guess, to start off is that you don't put the disability first, you put the person first. And it's harder to say and a little bit of a pain-in-the-ass, I know. But we all feel better when you say people with disabilities or individuals with disabilities, other than focusing on what's "broken with us."

 

Joel:                     Fair enough. Now we know the podcaster's biggest failure. What are companies biggest failures?

 

Julie:                    So I think that they just have so much fear and stigma that still exists around hiring this population, really we're only thought of in two different ways. There's the compliance, right, so we do it because we have to or we say we're going to do it because we have to and the government is holding us accountable for that. Or they go the complete opposite direction, which is the charity mentality. That every person with a disability is broken, and they're unable to work in a successful position in your career, so we have to create charitable programs or create jobs for them to be able to have a human experience like the rest of us.

 

Chad:                  Okay. So here's the thing, because we talk about this all the time. It's about all the warm and fuzzy bullshit that's out there. I mean I see it on the veteran's side all the time, where it's like, "Oh, we love veterans. Oh, we're veteran friendly." So instead of going down that road, 'cause I think it's total bullshit and people talk about it all the time. Even on the side of individuals with disabilities, I wanna hear, and I want Julie to be able to talk about fucking outcomes, hiring outcomes.

 

Chad:                  So this is your stage, tell us about programs and what you guys have actually done to be able to help companies get actual hires and also retention.

 

Julie:                    Yeah. And I think that's the important thing is that this is not just a PR activity. When companies are doing it, they need to go all-in and approach it as a talent acquisition strategy. We're at near full employment and there are jobs going unfilled and there's a talent pool that is just not being tapped into because people are scared of how to engage us.

 

Julie:                    And so from an outcomes perspective, I'll start with my favorite, well my first and my favorite, you know, a long time ago, maybe four or four and a half years ago, Pepsi approached us and said, "Hey, you know what? We really wanna put our money where our mouth is, we wanna start hiring people with disabilities. Not just do philanthropic activities like donations and that type of thing to organizations." And so my organization said, "Sure, let's figure out how to help you do that." And in those four, four and a half years, Pepsi's hired almost 1,000 people with disabilities into just their beverages facilities. So that's a pretty huge number, and I don't see anyone else, maybe one company, that's touted that kind of number.

 

Julie:                    And you'll notice that Pepsi doesn't talk about it as much publicly, because I think that they can be the brand leader. Because they've actually done it and they've approached it as a hiring initiative or a strategic initiative.

 

Julie:                    But it's part and parcel to who they are as an organization. They hired in the African America community and marketed to it first. And this was just an extension of who they are as a company. But they also knew to make it sustainable, it had to have a return on investment, it had to have a business value. It couldn't based in feeling bad for people with disabilities or thinking that we can't do physical jobs or we cat do sales jobs. They said, "Find us talent, help us gt the messaging right," and in doing so, they've been successful and they have good ROI and they have great reach now into our community. And people feel comfortable saying, "I'm a person with a disability," when they apply, when they get hired at Pepsi. And that's what I'm talking about.

 

Chad:                  Okay, so that's Pepsi. You guys also work with Synchrony, which is on the financial side of the house and it's an entirely different kind of organization to hire for, tell us about that.

 

Julie:                    Yeah. So Synchrony is awesome in terms of like when you wanna work with a company who is like all-in on inclusion, they knew as a strategic initiative from their leaderships, so from their executives, you can see their CEO, Margaret Keane, doing a Bloomberg Talk on the value of hiring people with disabilities. They knew that they wanted to do this because they're inclusive by nature.

 

Chad:                  Now wait a minute, wait, wait, wait. What does all-in mean to you?

 

Julie:                    All-in means that they're willing to put resources, dollar, time, and brand to an initiative. You can't say I'm just gonna hire people with Autism in Mishawaka, Indiana and that's not all-in. It might be a nice pilot, but that's not all-in.

 

Julie:                    When they said, "We need something that we can-

 

Chad:                  That's probably a shitty pilot too, to be quite frank.

 

Julie:                    You know, it was the first random place I thought of.

 

Chad:                  Yeah, yeah.

 

Julie:                    They really kind of went to that other side, they were thinking, "How can we make an impact in our community? We want to change the world for people with disabilities." And you love working with companies like that because their heart is in it. But my job as their consultant is to say, "That's awesome, but let's make it business driven too. Let's have goals and measures. Let's make sure that our systems are working to create opportunity so that when you have success and you hire people in Kettering, Ohio, you can grow that to other locations. Either at all at one or in kind of a systematic way. And that's what they've been able to do. From one sight and then grow into more sights, which makes sense. But their system also works with that.

 

Chad:                  Gotcha.

 

Joel:                     Julie, at the risk of sounding insensitive-

 

Chad:                  Like that's ever stopped you before.

 

Joel:                     It's never stooped me before because she's all-in.

 

Joel:                     What disability is sort of the most challenged in finding employment and why? And how do we help clear that hurdle?

 

Julie:                    I think that depends on who you ask. And I would say that my opinion is that people with serious mental illness, which is not a huge population in our country, about 10 million people have the biggest barriers to employment because that is where the most fear lies.

 

Julie:                    I was actually reading an article last week that recruiters would rather hire a person with a physical disability, one that they can see, than someone who suffered from depression or anxiety, which are probably the two most common mental illnesses in this country. And aren't necessarily defined as serious mental illness, so if people like that can't get a job and recruiters are scared of hiring someone because they have depression or anxiety, what is it gonna be like for someone who has a serious mental illness like bipolar or schizophrenia? They're chances of getting employed is almost zero.

 

Chad:                  Which is why people don't identify as actually having a disability, especially when it's hidden, right?

 

Julie:                    And they don't even take the chance and they become dependent on government assistance and the social safety net because employers don't feel comfortable giving them even an opportunity. And some would disagree with me, but what I think is the biggest way to start to overcome those hurdles is to normalize disabilities like mine and physical disabilities into the workplace. So that when you think about even the LGBT movement over the past 40 years, you know we started accepting one acronym and then the next one and then the next one, and now we are accepting of so many more people in that community. And it's the same I think with disability. It's like once we get comfortable with, "Hey, depression is a normal part of life." We saw Jason Kander pull out of his mayoral race yesterday because he had to admit for the first time out loud that he has PTSD and he's suffering from major depression. We say it's okay to take care of you, and you have a value in the workplace. Then that's when we start to overcome some of those barriers and we start to really push people who have more significant disabilities to be able to have opportunities. But until we normalize even the most basic or well known disabilities, then the rest of the people have no chance.

 

Chad:                  Okay. So let's flip that real quick. So I've actually seen organizations who focus on specific disabilities. So let's say, for instance, autism.

 

Julie:                    Yes.

 

Chad:                  I mean, so that's one of the things like with veterans. It's like, okay, we want to hire just this segment of veterans because we think they're perfect for our jobs, and that, to me, is a bunch of bullshit. So from your standpoint, is it the same? I mean, so let's say for instance like some of these autism types of ... Not that you shouldn't hire individuals with autism, but what do you think about just focusing narrowly on one disability for positions within your organization?

 

Julie:                    So that's a tough question to answer. First, I have to put two different hats on when I think about it. The first one is my consultant hat, and the consultant in me says there are roughly a million and a half Americans with an autism diagnosis. 80% of those are under the age of 22. So if I'm thinking about quantity and quality of people that I need to fill my jobs, that's a pretty limited talent pool, and most of them are not even to working age yet.

 

Chad:                  Right.

 

Julie:                    There are roughly 45 million Americans, one in five, who have a mental illness. One in four Americans overall has a disability. So you're setting yourself up for some failure.

 

Chad:                  So 25% of Americans have a disability.

 

Julie:                    Yes. Yep. And I just got updated last month by the CDC.

 

Chad:                  Okay.

 

Julie:                    So when you're thinking about how to make impact, how to actually change

the world because that's what these kind of programs are doing. They want to change the world for people with autism or with a certain disability. If they focus on the larger population, they could have so much more impact as a company, but they would also get a much better business return. And then from a branding perspective, it's pretty damn frustrating.

 

Chad:                  So yeah, from your standpoint, I mean, because you're an individual with disability but you don't have autism. So if a company actually says, "Yeah, we're really just focusing on individuals with autism," what does that do to the really the line share of individuals who disabilities who literally could do that job?

 

Julie:                    Yeah, I mean, you're talking about such a small percentage of the disability population that it's pretty insulting. As a person with a disability, it's pretty insulting and it's incredibly off putting to the rest of us who just want to go to work, who want to have opportunities.

 

Chad:                  Right.

 

Julie:                    It also very much reinforces stereotypes that we would like to break down. It says that people with autism are only good at maybe IT or finance jobs, that they can only work in these four or five positions within a company or that they need special programs where they have job coaches and etc., etc. The point is if you've met a person with a disability, you've met one person with a disability, and trying to shove a certain disability into a certain job classification, it reinforces very, very bad stereotypes within the working world, within employers that we have a limited number of jobs that we can do. But it also then from a consumer perspective and a job seeker perspective, I don't want to go work for those companies. I don't suffer from autism.

 

Julie:                    I will say I'm glad when any company is hiring. If they hire five people and those five people get to work, I hope those people run with it and they grow into a career within that organization. But the money companies are spending to run these singular small programs could be reinvested into enterprise wide programs if you actually approached it as a hiring initiative that targeted the talent and not the disability.

 

Joel:                     Julie, we hear a lot in the news about the gender pay gap, but we don't hear much about I guess a disability pay gap. Is there one? Can you talk about that a little bit?

 

Julie:                    It's a little bit hard. There is certainly a pay gap. With people with the most significant disabilities, there's been a lot of change in our world over the past maybe five to six years about moving away from what's called sheltered workshops where people kind of do piece meal work.

 

Chad:                  They get paid like pennies on the dollar, literally to do ...

 

Julie:                    They make may 10-25 cents a day, and that certainly reinforces stereotypes, and those are people with the most significant disabilities, and they may not be able to go into a full time position. But really what we see is that that's a way that companies use to outsource labor to keep piece meal type of production very, very cheap, and then call it philanthropic work when it's, in my opinion, akin to servitude or unpaid work altogether. But overall, because the unemployment rate is still so high with people with disabilities, we don't really know what pay gap is, and because people are not comfortable standing up and saying, "Hey, I am a person with a disability," the analysis can't really be done yet. What I see most often in terms of where I know that it impacts pay is people with disabilities being steered into entry level jobs or being put into jobs because of their disability that are well below their skill set.

 

Julie:                    I was actually just watching a video from a successful hiring program, and a young lady I believe had like two undergraduate degrees and all kinds of mad skills, but because she didn't interview well and because she came through a program specifically for people with disabilities, she got put into a call center job. I appreciate that she got the opportunity and I hope she gets the opportunity to gro, but that's not really utilizing her talent. And that's definitely going to create even if she continues to grow in the company, that's going to create a barrier for her in terms of pay because she's going to have started in a place lower than her peers without a disability.

 

Chad:                  Are they incredibly well educated? I mean, again, there are stereotypes behind it. What's the reality behind it?

 

Julie:                    Yeah. I mean, so autism specifically, about 35% of people with autism are graduating with a degree, an undergraduate degree, and 85% of them are still unemployed.

 

Chad:                  Wow. So 85% of the ones who actually have a degree?

 

Julie:                    Yes. Yes. But remember how small this population is, right?

 

Chad:                  Yeah. Yeah.

 

Julie:                    So when we get hyper focused on this group of people, we miss the fact that people are working and need opportunities every day who have mental illnesses, who have physical disabilities, who have educations, who have experience but can't get through that barrier of just getting started.

 

Chad:                  Right. So you mentioned we are pretty much at full employment right now. Job markets doing great. But what's the unemployment rate of individuals with disabilities?

 

Julie:                    So the unemployment rate is always about twice of what the overall unemployment rate is, but where it really kicks in is that because people with disabilities don't participate in the labor force as much, we have about a 70% unemployment rate. And part of that is because of social safety nets that the government has trained people with disabilities to be fearful of going back to work. But it's also because companies have not sought to engage in any meaningful way with this talent pool.

 

Joel:                     Julie, in the news recently, we've seen Amazon raise the minimum wage for their employees to $15 per hour. We've also seen the gig economy kind of explode. Up Work went public this week. What do these two trends mean for those with disabilities, both the gig economy as well as the increases in minimum wage?

 

Julie:                    So I think they're great opportunities. One thing that we do see is a focus on people with disabilities in entrepreneurship programs who are able to work remotely if they're working in kind of gig economy. I think some of the social challenges and networking challenges make that right now maybe not as advantages as it could be for kind of gig work. Raising the minimum wage, in my opinion, is good for every worker, but it's definitely going to impact people with disabilities who are in those entry level jobs because they're going to be able to get higher wages. They're going to be able to start to come off benefits and that kind of thing. They're going to be lifted out of a place of poverty because even people with disabilities who have educations, a vast majority live at or near the poverty line because they aren't able or they're not given the opportunity, let me say it that way, to get into meaningful employment based on their skills.

 

Chad:                  So what they're actually ... They're being underemployed, but it seems like much like on the veterans side of the house, the underemployment, not to mention what I like to call charity work.

 

Julie:                    Yeah, and that's the other thing is that these programs that are based on charity, as soon as the economy does what it does. It corrects. We take a downturn. Normal business cycle or worse, then these charitable based programs go away. And these companies have sold people with disabilities employed through these programs a bill of goods. We value you. You have a place here. That's all bullshit at that point because you're just overhead because it's seen as philanthropic endeavor, a charity endeavor, instead of an actual business strategy. And that just reinforces why people don't participate in the labor system, why people with disabilities ... Why employers are scared to hire people with disabilities because charity's

been such a high focus of these like kind of PR activities around hiring.

 

Chad:                  So how are your clients? How is Pepsi, how is Synchrony Financial, how are they viewing it and actually creating these business-focused types of programs versus charity? And what did you guys have to do with Disability Solutions to really kind of get them away from some of the thinking's that were out there, or did you have to? Were they already ... They were just ready to do it?

 

Julie:                    I would say no company is ready to do it. They might have a great desire to do it, but they're not sure how. And that's part of the trepidation too is they don't know how to take that first step.

 

Chad:                  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Julie:                    With some companies, I would say with all of them, it's starting to understanding how their talent acquisition systems function because I don't feel like I've done a service to the company I'm working for or to my community if we have to create special programs every single time. People with disabilities should be able to live and apply and go through your talent acquisition systems like other people. There might be opportunities we can create within those systems, but they still need to be able to be a part of your system of record. That way not only is the program compliant and we can work on those self disclosure numbers, but it also becomes scalable and sustainable. So that's really the first, I think, thought process that companies go. We have to create an entirely different way for people to apply. We have to create all of these systems to support. And yes, people may need some support. But that's on an individual level, and if we can create inclusive hiring experiences through our vendors and systems that companies work with, then the people have a much higher chance of actually getting in front of that hiring manager.

 

Chad:                  Okay, so Pepsi, because they're consumer good, right? I mean, from their standpoint and the numbers that you just stated, they're close to 1000 hires, around 1000 hires, that's well above any of the other companies that are coming out on the PR side of the house saying, "We love individuals with disabilities." That's a huge number so obviously we haven't heard anything from Pepsi on the PR side, so this is obviously something that they believe in. When are they gonna shift this into more of a focus of their whole culture so that it also helps them sell product. Really, if it is a part of their culture, that's what people want to gravitate toward and they want to be able to support companies who believe in people like them. So, I love that Pepsi's doing this and they're staying quiet about it, but dude. Turn around and start ... I mean, flip on the PR.

 

Julie:                    Your guess is as good as mine and if I could convince someone in Pepsi marketing to say, "Hey, let's start talking about this all right now," I would have done it two years ago, but to their credit, they care about the community and they care about their brand and they want to make sure that they've demonstrated that they're doing it and they're not just talking about it and so you see some companies who have hired like three people and they're doing PR all around it and PR is good in terms of yes, people with disabilities can work here, but it doesn't really mean anything to me as a person with a disability because it's three people. I want to see a company actually go all in and hire across the country, across the world big numbers, and I think that is Pepsi's vision, or at least that's how I feel and I know how committed they are to it. Would I love them to talk about it? Hell, yes I would.

 

Chad:                  How many locations have they actually hired individuals with disabilities into?

 

Julie:                    So we've actively integrated their employer brand and program, which is called Pepsi ACT, it stands for achieving change together into nine US locations, some manufacturing and warehousing, some sales and call center type of jobs, and some technical kind of repair and refurbishment roles so a good variety of roles within that beverages system, but what we really have seen there that is even more impactful is that their self disclosure numbers are raising across the country because people are hearing. We're a small community and so while you haven't heard Pepsi out on their halftime show at the Super Bowl, hint hint, doing PR for this, they've been awarded state and national awards for their programs, state work force agencies are recognizing them. They got a visit in North Carolina from then Secretary of Labor Perez, because local community based providers said, "We know a company that's doing this right and we want to introduce you."

 

Chad:                  So there's a lot of word of mouth that has traveled that's really helped this to grow in a brand way.

 

Chad:                  So nine locations, but how many ... I mean, you've seen impact past those

nine locations.

 

Julie:                    Oh yeah. Like, probably 40% of the hires that are self disclosing are outside of

those facilities.

 

Chad:                  So that's happening really driving from a branding standpoint.

 

Julie:                    Yes.

 

Chad:                  Because there's a culture and they can see it and they believe it.

 

Julie:                    Yes, and what I love about Pepsi ACT as a brand, they said up front, "This is something that we want to do. We've made sure that the language is right and what we really stayed away from when we were working on the branding was a charitable based message that achieving change together is the community benefiting and Pepsi benefiting from the talent." So it's a win, win strategy. It's not a charitable based strategy, it's not a compliance based strategy, and I think that's really meaningful and it's one of the ... and I'm biased, obviously ... it's one of the only employer brands for people with disabilities that really is all inclusive and not based on a charity model.

 

Joel:                     My limited knowledge of this topic sort of ends at the borders of 'Murica. Julie, paint for me a global perspective of disability. What countries are crushing it? What countries are really way behind?

 

Julie:                    I think some of the European countries are doing substantially better than we are because they have been focused on integration for longer. Other countries that are developing, like India, have a need. They actually have a need to go and hire people with disabilities because there are no social safety nets that help people survive when they're not working, and because they're growing so fast in terms of economy, they need to be able to get people to work. So from what I've seen, and I was able to visit India last year with one of our clients, and they were putting in training to teach managers sign language, they were hiring people from the deaf community, and each hiring manager had a hiring goal and a commitment to the activity because they needed bodies and they needed talent and they also have a commitment back into their community and what was cool about that experience that I think I loved the most was that they were doing it because they wanted to and because they needed to, not because the government was making them. No one said, "We're gonna take away your federal contract if you don't hire some people with disabilities." They already saw the value and the need in their community and in their business.

 

Julie:                    That's where I think those countries who are developing and growing so much faster than we are in America right now, because we're aging as a population, I have a feeling that they may get ahead of the game in the next 15 years or so and actually start to make real impact because they want to.

 

Chad:                  Last question. So what really pisses you off most when you're actually engaging with a company and you're talking to them about effective hiring of this amazingly big talent pool, which is well educated and so on and so forth? What pisses you off most that they're saying back to you, or at least the kind of ... the narrative that you're hearing?

 

Joel:                     Let's get it on.

 

Chad:                  There it is.

 

Julie:                    Oh my. That's actually a pretty easy answer, a question to answer. It's in one word and it's called appetite. I have heard so many times from D&I leaders who I'm meeting at conferences who we're pitching services to, sometimes who have hired us and they've said, "You know, there's just not really an appetite for disability in our D&I programs. We're just gonna concentrate on race and gender because we have a commitment to diversity." Well, no you don't. Your old school, 1970s thinking of race and gender is absurd.

 

Chad:                  Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Time out, time out, time out. No, no, no. Time out. So they actually said specifically, "We're focused on diversity but we don't have an appetite to hire individuals with disabilities?"

 

SFX:                     Boo.

 

Chad:                  You've got to be shitting me.

 

Julie:                    No.

 

Chad:                  They are actually ... People in D&I. These aren't just hiring managers?

 

Julie:                    No.

 

Chad:                  I mean, hiring managers that ... we're talking about people who are responsible for diversity hiring programs?

 

Julie:                    Yes. These are D&I leaders at fortune 1000 companies who will say to the disabled girl or the girl with a disability in the room, "Yeah, I just don't know that we have an appetite for hiring with disabilities. We're gonna focus on race and gender and I think that's gonna be good." That's their commitment. Some have said, "Well, it's a slippery slope. If we start including veterans and people with disabilities, where will that end?" I don't know, where you get an inclusive workforce. That would be awesome.

 

Joel:                     Oh my god.

 

Chad:                  Oh my god.

 

Julie:                    And I can tell you there are brands that I no longer interact with and I would never disclose those publicly, but there are brands that I will not interact with because their D&I strategy is so ass-backwards that it's only focused on what the government required them to do in the original affirmative action executive order. The reality is I'm a woman with a disability, there are people of color with disabilities, there are veterans with disabilities, there are LGBTQ individuals with disabilities. We're a pretty inclusive group. We are all inclusive and when you hire us, you hire those other really important populations too and it's insulting and it's bullshit and it's just ... like a diversion. They might as well just kind of kick me out and throw me on the street, because they don't have any interest in what we're doing.

 

Joel:                     Okay.

 

Joel:                     I love that we now have to put an E on this podcast because Julie said bullshit.

 

Julie:                    Yes. Ha ha.

 

Chad:                  Way to go.

 

Julie:                    Awesome. I'm so proud of me.

 

Joel:                     So Julie, thanks for joining us. Thanks for your time. For those like me who are limited in this subject, where can I learn more about the subject? How can I learn more about your company?

 

Julie:                    You can visit us at disabilitytalent.org and check out all our services and our outcomes.

 

Chad:                  Twitter handles, I mean all this other stuff. Come on.

 

Julie:                    Yeah. Twitter handles? Really? Apparently I'm a newbie.

 

Joel:                     Sure.

 

Julie:                    We have a Facebook page, disability solutions. Our Twitter handle is DSTalentAtWork, and my Twitter handle is juliesowash and I also have a Facebook and email and LinkedIn.

 

Chad:                  LinkedIn, oh yeah.

 

Julie:                    You can find me everywhere and I want to talk to you.

 

Joel:                     Awesome. Thanks for your time again. Chad, if there are no more questions from you, I guess we out.

 

Chad:                  We out.

 

Julie:                    We out.

 

Ema:                    Hi. I'm Ema. Thanks for listening to my dad, the Chad, and his buddy, Cheese. This has been the Chad and Cheese podcast. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts so you don't miss a single show. Be sure to check out our sponsors because their money goes to my college fund. For more, visit chadcheese.com.

New Speaker:    Remember to visit tatech.org.

 

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HR's Most Dangerous Podcast

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