The National Organization on Disability (NOD) – in partnership with several of America’s leading companies – have announced a national public-awareness campaign designed to urge U.S. employers and job recruiters to think differently about people with disabilities when they seek to add new talent. Called “Look Closer,” the multi-media campaign was unveiled in Times Square, in the heart of corporate America.
“Millions of Americans with disabilities are ready to work. We need hiring and recruiting managers to look closer at their abilities and consider this largely untapped talent pool,” said Governor Tom Ridge, NOD Chairman and the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. “There is reason for optimism. Today’s strong economy is forcing employers to consider talent that they might previously have overlooked. But with 80-percent of Americans with disabilities out of work, more must be done to bridge this troublesome employment gap. We all must ‘Look Closer’ and recognize the extraordinary talents of people with disabilities.”
Nine companies with a combined U.S. workforce of more than one million people and annual revenues upwards of $250 billion have joined forces with NOD to support this movement, and pledged their commitments to disability employment and inclusion. They include: Anthem Inc., ConantLeadership, Diversity Inc., EY, The Hershey Company, Prudential Financial, PwC, Spectrum and UPS. And thanks to the generosity of Morgan Stanley, whose “Lights on Broadway” initiative provides donated ad space to nonprofits, the Look Closer billboard shines above Times Square throughout October – National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
“These nine companies have planted a flag and said this is an issue that is of tremendous import to them,” said NOD President Carol Glazer. “We hope others will follow their lead. They know that people with disabilities are resourceful and determined problem-solvers that have made their workplaces better.”
Veteran Hollywood actor Robert David Hall, best known for his role as coroner Dr. Albert Robbins on the popular TV series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, lends his voice to the campaign. Says Hall, a burn survivor and longtime NOD board member: “The car accident that took both my legs didn’t take away my abilities, nor my spirit or my creativity. I knew that I could contribute in a meaningful way, and so can 56 million Americans with disabilities. I see no reason why talented, hardworking people, who are viewed as ‘different’ should be kept out of the entertainment industry – or any industry for that matter. I am proud to lend my voice to the Look Closer campaign.”
To learn more about what employers and the general public can do to increase employment for people with disabilities, including downloadable resources, visit www.NOD.org/lookcloser. Visitors to the website also can find more details about the campaign’s partner companies and read inspiring employee stories.