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National Diversity Forum

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Agenda

Background

Add Us In is an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) to identify and develop strategies to increase employment opportunities within the small business community for individuals with disabilities. Included within the small business community are targeted businesses that are owned and operated by minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals; women; veterans; and people with disabilities.

To support the initiative, ODEP is convening a National Diversity Forum on August 4, 2011 from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm at the Ronald Reagan Building. The National Disability Forum is designed to begin a national discussion about the implications of Add Us In — including the benefits to individuals with disabilities, small businesses, targeted communities, and the economy as a whole.

8:30 am — Innovation in Action — Meet the Grantees, Polaris Prefunction Area

Registration and continental breakfast during this interactive poster session

9:00 am — Opening Remarks, Polaris Suite

Speakers: Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez, Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor; Secretary Hilda Solis, U.S. Department of Labor; Margot Dorfman, U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce

9:45 am — Plenary Session — The Context: Trends in Small Business Growth, Demographics, and Disability, Polaris Suite

This plenary session will highlight the changing demographics within the United States and how the nation's economic health is increasingly reliant upon small and minority-owned businesses.

Panelists: Ivonne Cunarro, Minority Business Development Agency; U.S. Department of Commerce; Terry McMenamin, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor; Eric Peterson, Society for Human Resource Management

Facilitator: Shaun McGill, Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor

10:45 am — Break

11:00 am — Break-out Sessions (The three panels below will run concurrently.)

Pathways to Disability Hiring: Transferrable Practices?, Hemisphere B

This session focuses on examining the best practices and strategies currently in place for hiring people with disabilities within businesses of varying sizes; and exploring how strategies may differ between businesses based on size, structure or industry.

Panelists: Will Banks, Matrix Systems & Technologies; Willie Davis, Matrix Systems & Technologies; Jill Houghton, U.S. Business Leadership Network; Catharine McNally, Keen Guides

Facilitator: Odunola "Ola" Ojewumi, White House/American Association of People with Disabilities

What Does Success Look Like? Stories from Small Businesses with Effective Disability Hiring Practices, Polaris Suite

This panel seeks to offer a clear picture of disability hiring in small businesses as it occurs from a practical view.

Panelists: Rhonda Griffin, Pest Free Maintenance, Inc.; Michael Pearson, Union Packaging; James Rodriguez, BAE Systems

Facilitator: Anupa Iyer, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law/American Association of People with Disabilities

Diversity Dollars: Why Small Businesses should Engage Diverse Communities, Hemisphere A

At this break-out session, hear about key concepts that help businesses understand the importance of disability hiring and discuss how to apply these practices to small businesses.

Panelists: Dara Baldwin, National Center on Independent Living; Suzanne Bruyere, National Employer Technical Assistance Center at Cornell University

Facilitator: Rohmteen Mokhari, Human Rights Campaign

12:15 pm — Lunch & Discussion, Polaris Suite

Listen to a conversation among several Assistant Secretaries to hear their perspectives on diversity (including disability) and improving employment opportunities.

Speakers: Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez, Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor; Assistant Secretary Alexa Posny, Special Education & Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education; Deputy Assistant Secretary Roberta Gassman, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor; Deputy Assistant Secretary Junior Ortiz, Veterans' Employment & Training Services, U.S. Department of Labor (Invited)

1:30 pm — Break

1:40 pm — Break-out Sessions (The three panels below will run concurrently.)

From Classroom to Career, Hemisphere A

From research, to practice, to policy, this will examine the issue of transition for all youth, including youth with disabilities from diverse communities, and its impact on obtaining and sustaining competitive employment.

Panelists: Cheryl Keenan, Office of Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education; Marlene Simon-Burroughs, Ph.D., Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education; Sherry West (invited), Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor

Facilitator: Alex Watters, U.S. Department of Education/American Association of People with Disabilities

Culture and Identity Intersections, Hemisphere B

This session will examine the issue of identity (including multiple identities) for individuals with disabilities from diverse communities and its impact on self-perception and access to employment opportunities.

Panelists: Dr. Fabricio Balcazar, University of Illinois at Chicago; Dr. Margaret Price, Spelman College; Ms. Amanda Race, Tanana Chiefs Conference Vocational Rehabilitation Program

Facilitator: Andraéa Lavant, Institute for Educational Leadership

Community and Family Support as a Catalyst for Employment, Polaris Suite

This break-out session will examine the role of community supports, including families, faith-based organizations, and neighborhood organizations, in the successful employment of people with disabilities.

Panelists: Cathy Healy, Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center; Gary Shaheen, Start-Up NY; Ben Siegel, Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, U.S. Department of Labor; Ginny Thornburgh, American Association of People with Disabilities

Facilitator: Michael Huberman, Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor

2:40 pm — Break

2:45 pm — Plenary Session — Dialogue, Polaris Suite

In this final plenary session participants will engage in a conversation around how to move the themes that emerged from the break out sessions to action.

Facilitators: Shaun McGill, Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor; Maria Town Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor; Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez, Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor

3:45 pm — Closing Remarks, Polaris Suite

Speakers: Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez, Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor