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Working Together Chicago [WTC] and Netrix come together to discuss the benefits of having an intern with a disability in the workplace

disability in the workplace

Leveraging the framework built by Microsoft for recruiting and hiring individuals with Autism, Netrix, a Microsoft Systems Integrator partnered with the Center for Independence through Cognitive Education (Center) to launch a new program named Working Together Chicago (WTC).

After learning that the unemployment rate of individuals with disabilities is near 70%, Netrix and the Center decided it was time to act. The goal of WTC is to help connect Chicagoland businesses with various social agencies that can help them recruit and hire from a new talent pool of individuals with various abilities. The program promotes a ten-week internship, with the goal of long-term employment.

WTC will provide the business with candidates to match existing job requisitions and roles, or to carve out tasks and responsibilities that can be combined to free up other resources, that may be a perfect match for the intern. The intern is supported by a free job coach that assist with training and provides coaching both to the individual but also the businesses to ensure success. The goal is to lower any burden on existing employees and the business, to remove any barriers to success.

WTC has also developed a mentor program, that leverages professional individuals outside the employer to provide a longer-term support and networking connection. Netrixs’ intern, Rachel, is leveraging an individual from Microsoft, to support and coach for long term career goals and advice.

Recently, WTC was highlighted at Microsoft Inspire, with Sherlaender “Lani” Philips, Vice President, US Channel Sales at Microsoft in a panel that discussed inclusion and diversity. The panel highlighted the importance of leadership and guidance of inclusion and diversity, in all that we do from mentoring, recruiting, hiring and within new applications that provide accessibility.

WTC is challenging every business within Chicago, and beyond, to hire an intern for ten weeks, with the long-term goal to offer permanent employment. Achieving this goal can help reduce the unemployment rate significantly, build stronger cultures and connections within the businesses that participate, and provide everyone with the pride of employment.

For more information please contact WTC at www.workingtogetherchicago.org

A video of the work is available here: https://youtu.be/b-jmAAGYlV4

Guest Author: 

Don Penland, Partner Netrix, dpenland@netrixllc.com

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