Reflections on the Rising Leadership Academy
Guest blog: Jonathan Duvall, Chair, Student Advisory Council, USBLN and PhD student, Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh
After completing the Rising Leadership Academy, it warms my heart and inspires me to see so many students and recent graduates with disabilities who have achieved so much success at their schools and universities. It reinforces and proves that people with disabilities have so much to offer companies, employers, the United States and the world in general. At the same time, it disappoints me that so many of these awesome students are looking for full-time work and have been looking for quite a while. The unemployment rate in the United States has been declining but people with disabilities are still about twice as likely as the general population to be unemployed. The Americans with Disabilities Act produced some great advances for people with disabilities but those advances do not include better employment of people with disabilities.
That is why the USBLN is so important, and why I am proud to be a part of the Student Advisory Council. We are showing employers that they shouldn’t hire people with disabilities because they have to according to law, but because it will allow them to produce better products and services and it will increase their bottom line, not hinder it. I will always remember someone telling me a while ago that in many STEM fields like engineering, people with disabilities should actually be considered MORE qualified than their peers without disabilities. This is because critical thinking, troubleshooting and problem solving are skills that people with disabilities have developed because of living with a disability and these are skills that employers want.
I’m really looking forward to the rest of the conference and can’t wait to network with more companies and professionals around inclusion of people with disabilities.
The experience of a lifetime – Nirath’s Rising Leadership story
Guest blog: Nirath Sanjana Seri, currently pursuing a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Texas, Arlington. Nirath will begin her career as a Data Analyst at Booz Allen Hamilton upon her graduation in December. It was my first Rising Leadership and USBLN Conference. Flying to Orlando, FL staying in a hotel at […]
Lessons learned from the Rising Leadership Academy
Guest blog: Joe Brown, recent Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina graduate and active job seeker The central focus of the USBLN Conference in Orlando, Florida spanning the days of Sept. 19-22 was disability inclusiveness in the workplace. It was truly an amazing experience. First, I want to talk about the breakout sessions. Although they were […]
Rising Leadership Academy: An amazing experience
Guest blog: Valerie Baker, a recent graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing, and a 2016 Rising Leadership Academy participant. With a few days post-conference, to digest and process the events of the past five days. It really hit me what an amazing experience attending the USBLN’s 19th Annual Conference […]
Impact of the Rising Leadership Academy: Robin’s experience
Guest blog: Robin Jenks Vanderlip, BA, MCBIET, MG, Rising Leadership Academy participant and George Washington University Fellow, Rehabilitation Counseling and Brain Injury Education The most impactful thing that I heard at the 2016 USBLN conference was the following: Have fun! Make a difference! Don’t work for jerks! Provide practical help for others. As I thought about this, […]
Embracing my disability: Chidera’s story
Guest blog: Chidera Oku, a graduate student, majoring in public health with a concentration in health promotion and disease prevention, and a 2016 Rising Leadership Academy participant. The first time I got information on the USBLN Rising Leaders mentoring program I was on the verge of breaking down emotionally. I felt like there was nothing out […]