Summit To Help Businesses Hire Graduates With Disabilities

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University is hosting a “disABILITY Summit” later this month to raise awareness in the local business community about the possibilities and benefits of hiring CSU graduates with disabilities.

“Students with significant disabilities – such as those in wheelchairs or who are blind, deaf or autistic – have a lesser chance of finding employment,” said Joy Norman, director of CSU’s Disability Services Office in the Division of Student Affairs. “I am hoping to open people’s eyes a bit and find these students opportunities for internships and jobs.”

All area employers are invited to campus to hear more on Tuesday, April 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Lunch will be provided.) The summit will take place in the Schuster Student Success Center, room 130, on CSU’s main campus. Submit RSVPs to 706-507-8755 by Tuesday, April 21.

The average cost of accommodating a disabled employee in the workplace is less than $500 and most accommodations cost nothing, Norman said. At the summit, CSU students will help with presentations about providing workplace accommodations, hiring graduates with disabilities and dispelling myths about workers with disabilities. The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency also will be present along with Tools for Life to provide demonstrations of typical workplace accommodations.

“I have very capable students graduating with marketable skills, but their visible disabilities prevent them from finding jobs,” Norman said. “It is often difficult for people to see beyond the disability. One in five Georgians have disabilities. Over 700,000 Georgians with disabilities want to work. I want our CSU students with disabilities to find satisfying work at competitive wages.”

[caption id="attachment_4590" align="aligncenter" width="597"]Cougar Spirit Two of Norman’s students, W.D. Feeney (left) and Justin Malone (right), sit in front of the iconic cougar statue at the Lumpkin Center on CSU’s main campus.[/caption]