CHICAGO — More than 275 human resources, talent acquisition, diversity and inclusion leaders are gathered at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois in Chicago today at the first annual Disability Inclusion Opportunity Summit. Today’s program, entitled “Best Practices and Strategies for Recruiting, Employing & Retaining People with Disabilities,” is the first annual conference of the newly reestablished Chicagoland Business Leadership Network (CBLN) – a business-to-business organization supported by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Foundation and affiliated with the U.S. Business Leadership Network that promotes disability inclusion in the workplace, supply chain and marketplace.
More than one in 10 Illinoisans have a disability – representing a significant consumer market and a largely untapped talent pool, as only 35 percent of the state’s working-age people with disabilities are employed, compared to 75 percent of those without disabilities.
“Today, 25 years after the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the technology and tools are in place to fulfill the ADA’s promise of economic self-sufficiency,” said Steve Pemberton, Vice President and Global Chief Diversity Officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance. Pemberton is Chair of the U.S. Business Leadership Network and co-chair of ADA 25 Chicago.
“This gathering is a historic moment intended to demonstrate unequivocally the competitive advantages of hiring and retaining people with disabilities. Employers increasingly recognize this, but need to learn about next steps and best practices for a fully inclusive workforce.”
ADA 25 Chicago is a network of nearly 200 civic partners who have come together to commemorate and advance the 25th anniversary of the ADA. The CBLN, co-presenter of today’s conference, is one of ADA 25 Chicago’s Legacy Projects, designed to help employers drive performance and gain competitive advantage through disability inclusion in the workplace, supply chain and marketplace.
“Chicago’s business community needs qualified workers to fill its changing job requirements. As our recent Chamber surveys demonstrate, many local businesses today are unable to find qualified job applicants through traditional recruitment channels,” said Theresa E. Mintle, president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “Recruiting, marketing, and hiring from this largely untapped talent pool of job applicants with disabilities can address that challenge.”
Gathered by ADA 25 Chicago and the CBLN, participants are exploring hands-on strategies and tactics around employment of people with disabilities in order to maximize our region’s economic vitality. In addition to multiple valuable breakout sessions throughout the day, the conference features three primary plenary sessions. Speakers for the plenary sessions include:
• Jill Houghton – Executive Director, USBLN
• Steve Pemberton – Vice President and Global Chief Diversity Officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance; Chair, U.S. Business Leadership Network
• Keith Wiedenkeller – Chief Strategy Office, Disability Equality Index, USBLN
• Scott Hoesman – CEO, inQUEST Consulting
• Connie Lindsey – Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Global Diversity & Inclusion, Northern Trust
• Joseph Higgins – Director of External Affairs, Comcast
To view the Opportunity Summit agenda, visit: www.ADAOpportunitySummit.EventBrite.com.
Join the Opportunity Summit conversations on social media using #OpportunitySummit, follow ADA 25 Chicago @ADA25Chicago and Facebook.com/ADA25Chicago, and follow the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce @ChicagolandCmbr and Facebook.com/ChicagolandChamber.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is the Opportunity Summit’s signature sponsor and host. ADA 25 Chicago sponsors include The Chicago Community Trust, Exelon, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Motorola Mobility.
CBLN charter partners include AT&T, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Comcast, McDonald’s Corporation and University of Phoenix. CBLN Sustaining Partners include Baxalta, Baxter, BMO Harris, Deloitte, Discover Financial Services, EY, Grainger, Hyatt, inQUEST, KPMG, ManpowerGroup, Northern Trust and Walgreens Boots Alliance.
ADA 25 Chicago is a network of nearly 200 civic partners who have come together to commemorate and advance a civil rights milestone – the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Despite 25 years of progress, people with disabilities still have higher poverty rates, lower employment and poorer educational outcomes than those without disabilities. The vision of ADA 25 Chicago is to help make Metropolitan Chicago the most inclusive region in the nation. The Chicago Community Trust is the lead supporter of ADA 25 Chicago. For more information, visit www.ADA25Chicago.org. #ADA25Chicago
Chicagoland Business Leadership Network (CBLN), an affiliate of the U.S. Business Leadership Network driven by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Foundation, looks to advance the employment of individuals with disabilities. CBLN will facilitate the creation of workplaces, marketplaces and supply chains where people with disabilities are included by convening solution-focused forums that will help employers overcome traditional barriers to hiring people with disabilities. As a legacy project of ADA 25 Chicago, CBLN seeks 25 business members to create a vibrant business-to-business network with the long-term goal of reducing the unemployment rate for people with disabilities.