Develop & Sustain a Culture of Inclusion
If a company’s culture is inclusive and accessibility is a priority, apprentices with disabilities are more likely to succeed. It will also help attract future apprentices and employees with disabilities.
Communicate Commitment to Inclusion:
Take steps to ensure your organization communicates its disability inclusion policies and practices and its overall commitment to disability inclusion. Your commitment should be communicated both internally to staff and externally to stakeholders.
Train and Support Staff:
Those working closely with apprentices with disabilities, including mentors and direct supervisors, should be fluent in best practices for accessibility and accommodations. They must understand the needs of their new apprentices and what to expect to ensure they are learning the skills required to be successful on the job.
- Encourage your hiring managers and recruiters to take training on inclusive hiring practices, such as Introduction to Inclusive Talent Acquisition, which provides tips for attracting, interviewing, and onboarding qualified candidates with disabilities.
- Make sure any employees who serve as mentors for apprentices with disabilities are trained to do so and receive support.
- Make disability awareness training available to all employees. Review and share these staff training resources with staff at all levels of your organization.
Start a Disability-focused Employee Resource Group (ERG):
Work with staff to launch an ERG, which will help create an environment where employees with disabilities feel comfortable disclosing and, in turn, helping others.
Work to Sustain a Culture of Inclusion:
Creating a culture of inclusion is an ongoing process. This culture must be maintained through ongoing activities, continued staff training, and gathering regular feedback from apprentices.
- Ensure year-round communication about the importance of inclusion of people with disabilities. For example, company leadership can help celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) every October and Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) in May. Make it easy for apprentices to request accommodations throughout the length of the program, not just at the onset of their OJT.
- Manage the performance of your technology and training vendors. Read PEAT’s best practices for managing vendor performance and relationships.
- Measure and evaluate your progress. Check out PEAT’s resources for measuring the success of your disability inclusion initiative.
- Regularly ask apprentices with disabilities who are enrolled in and have completed the program to provide feedback on their experiences. This will help you create a cycle of continuous improvement.