“Creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace allows employees from all backgrounds and walks of life to achieve their fullest potential. An inclusive culture is one that accepts, values and views as strength the difference we all bring to the table.”
– Harvard University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences Human Resources Department
An inclusive workplace is one where people of all races, genders, ages, disabilities, sexual identities, and religions are valued, respected, and can “achieve their fullest potential.” It is a place where employers approach inclusive employment practices through an intersectional lens. People with disabilities can identify with multiple identities. It is important that employers consider intersectionality as they approach recruitment and training of apprentices with disabilities who can, in more ways than one, help to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.
“It is important that employers consider intersectionality as they approach recruitment and training of apprentices with disabilities who can, in more ways than one, help to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.”
– Jennifer Sheehy, Deputy Assistant Secretary, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), U.S. Department of Labor
People with disabilities who connected with us identified a lack of accommodations and inaccessible technology as among the top barriers to success in an apprenticeship.
Workers with disabilities who are supported by an inclusive workplace view employers favorably and consider them supportive in helping them meet their career aspirations. Additionally, creating an inclusive work environment can help attract talent seeking to work in a diverse and supportive work environment. According to a survey from Glassdoor, 76% of employees and job seekers said a diverse workforce was important when evaluating companies and job offers. One can assume these views also apply to individuals seeking apprentices or those already enrolled in apprenticeship programs.
“Collaboration is essential to building an inclusive program that supports apprentices with disabilities every step of the way—from in-classroom learning to on-the-job training. Working closely with current and future apprentices, advocates can help employers ensure their programs are accessible and that they provide the right accommodations that result in long-term career success.”
– Jennifer Carlson, Apprenti
Employers are making commendable strides toward inclusion, but barriers to accessing employment opportunities remain. When asked about barriers to success in apprenticeship programs, people with disabilities who connected with us noted that a lack of accommodations and inaccessible technology are among the top challenges they face. When creating inclusive apprenticeship programs, employers must understand how to create accessible environments for all current and future apprentices.