The day opened with a state agency update from the WI Department of Health Services, Department of Public Instruction and Department of Workforce Development’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation with their responses to the COVID situation as it relates to employment for people with disabilities. The keynote speaker, national disability expert Genni Sasnett, spoke to human resilience and perseverance in fighting for disability rights as civil rights, recognizing that the economic advantages of employment are a huge part of equity and equality. She urged participants to see the opportunities that arise out of the COVID situation and to keep focused on supporting people with disabilities to fully participate in the workforce as we all remodel and re-envision what the workforce looks like in this era.
National presenters from The Arc of the United States and Cornell University shared their knowledge and expertise, service providers highlighted best practices and self-advocates shared their employment experiences. No employment conference would be complete without sessions on partnering with businesses and the positive impact people with disabilities bring to their workplaces. This year, Disability:IN Wisconsin’s Judy Quigley presented with Traci Jones from Kalahari Resorts, a Charter Member of DIW, on perspectives on workplace inclusion.