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Muscular Dystrophy Association Announces Programming on Access to Employment & Inclusive Workforce Culture During National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October

NEW YORK, NY – October 3, 2022 – The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) announces educational programming, Quest Media platform content, and DEI Coalition engagement, all aimed at disability disruption and amplification of the equity equation, featured throughout National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) in October.

A banner image that says National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Disability. Part of the Equity Equation
Muscular Dystrophy Association announces programming on access to employment and inclusive workforce culture during National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October.

MDA's DEI commitment and goals for inclusion are to: elevate awareness and create an accessible world where every individual can participate in all aspects of community life; promote and deliver opportunities for dialogue that enhances understanding and emphasizes the lived experience of our community; provide education, programming, and resources aimed at overcoming barriers to accessing life's milestones; and collaborate with other thought-leaders to ensure access and inclusion for all.

"We at the Muscular Dystrophy Association are committed to leveraging our voice and platforms to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, elevating the conversation around disability is diversity. We work to ensure individuals living with disability have the same access to personal freedoms and independence. At MDA, we believe unity is strength," said Kristine Welker, Chief of Staff, MDA.

Throughout October, Quest Media the adaptive lifestyle platform of MDA, will feature multiple pieces of content for NDEAM. We feature Michael Lewis, MDA's Director of Disability Policy, and Tiffany Meehan, Inclusively's Vice President of Marketing for a Quest blog about knowing your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) during the interview process. MDA's partner, Inclusively, is a workforce inclusion platform making strides in the disability employment space by matching companies eager to diversify their staff with qualified candidates. "Our employers are working with us because they're committed to hiring candidates with disabilities," says Meehan. "They approach the entire hiring process with accommodations in mind." Mindy Henderson, MDA's Director and Editor-in-Chief of Quest Media, also interviewed Sarah Bernard, Inclusively's Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, about creating an inclusive work culture for a podcast episode to be released later this month.

"Inclusively recommended that I apply to my current position at MDA. As someone with a neuromuscular disability myself, it is the honor of my lifetime to work at MDA to continue the effort of providing people across the NMD community effective access to healthcare. I do this not only because the work is important, but also because the people here at MDA care about people like me—not just as constituents, but as people. Our hiring practices are just one example of it," said Joel Cartner, Director of Access Policy, MDA.

Brian Wynne, CEO of Acosta, another MDA partner, will also be featured on the Quest blog about the company's dedication to creating empowering employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Wynne, a business leader, and the father of a child with a disability, shares Acosta's priorities of fostering a welcoming and inclusive work environment. "To have a successful business, in any industry, you need the best talent available. And if you want to have the best talent, you have to make sure you're including everyone in the talent pool — all of the people who have wonderful talents, skills, and abilities, not excluding people with disabilities."

"We are proud to be a leading organization in contributing to the equity equation," said Welker. "In recognition of the important role people with disabilities play in a diverse and inclusive American workforce, the MDA DEI Coalition has been tireless in its efforts to help organizations connect with the largest untapped pipeline of talent is this country in partnership with Inclusively. In addition, our leadership team is always on the road, participating in initiatives to remove barriers for our community from engagements at The White House, on Capitol Hill, in educational partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, advancing access to treatments with the US Food and Drug Administration, and with corporate partners such as Financial Force."

MDA's DEI Coalition works to ensure individuals living with disability have equal access. MDA believes that employer and employee cultivation is a key component to creating a culture of inclusion, and NDEAM is a time for employers to ensure their policies and training are inclusive, and a time for the disability community to learn about programs and policies in place to help people further their career goals.

"I'm proud to participate on the frontlines of this effort with the Muscular Dystrophy Association's DEI Coalition, working to ensure people with disabilities fully participate in the national conversation around diversity, equity, and inclusion," said Dr. Chris Rosa, President and CEO of the Viscardi Center and MDA Board member. The partnership between the Muscular Dystrophy Association and equity-focused organizations like Viscardi Center will help to ensure that people with disabilities have meaningful opportunities to be fully included in the new American workforce."

Educational Programming:

  • October 7 on-demand – MDA Access to Employment Workshop
    This workshop, sponsored by Genentech provides an overview of:
    • How to prepare to enter the workforce with interview tips
    • Requesting reasonable accommodations
    • Important legislation
    • Benefits information
    • Tips for growth and development.
  • October 12-13 from 3-6:30pm ET both days – MDA Engage: Technology for Independence Seminar
    This seminar sponsored by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America provides information from leading experts in the neuromuscular disease community on technology that supports independence in daily living, including:
    • Brain Computer Interface Technology
    • Smart Home Technology
    • Adaptive Toys for Children
    • Low-tech Assistive Technology
    • Arm Assist Technology
    • Adaptive Vehicles
  • October 18-19 from 3-6:30pm ET both days – MDA Engage: Myasthenia Gravis Symposia This two-day educational event aims to empower individuals and families with knowledge and resources specific to myasthenia gravis (MG). Information will be provided by experts in the field and offer an opportunity for individuals living with MG to connect and build their network of support.
  • October 26 – Muscular Dystrophy Association and Smithsonian Science Education Center co-host an online youth discussion to allow educators from the Zero Barriers in STEM Education Summit the chance to hear from youth involved in the Muscular Dystrophy Association's youth mentoring program. MDA youth will provide participating educators with insights into their experience accessing STEM in school and ways to better support students with disabilities. General Motors and MDA teamed up at the Smithsonian Science Education Center's Zero Barriers in STEM Education Summit this past July to promote inclusion in STEM education and STEM careers. MDA's STEM Connections program provides hands-on activities for kids and young adults living with neuromuscular disease to learn STEM concepts and explore STEM-based careers in a supportive environment. This year's program involves two robust components from MDA Summer Camp to fall programming. This program is supported by a grant from General Motors.
  • Quest Media the adaptive lifestyle platform of the Muscular Dystrophy Association will feature content on knowing your rights in the interview process, a podcast with corporate leaders on creating an inclusive culture at work, and more.
  • On the Road with MDA: During NDEAM, MDA will launch a new MDA LinkedIn series highlighting MDA's extended leadership team as they attend and speak at prestigious conferences and meeting with valued partners, such as The White House, Smithsonian Institution, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Financial Force and more.

Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is the #1 voluntary health organization in the United States for people living with muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related neuromuscular diseases. For over 70 years, MDA has led the way in accelerating research, advancing care, and advocating for the support of our families. MDA's mission is to empower the people we serve to live longer, more independent lives.

To learn more visit mda.org and follow MDA on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube.