“As life happens, I followed a college sweetheart to Indianapolis. Got involved working at an organization that served people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. When I helped an individual with Down syndrome get a job, honestly, I knew why I existed. It wasn’t about having a paycheck. It was about being included,” says Jill Houghton, president and CEO, Disability:IN.
WorkingNation sat down with Houghton at her organization’s gathering – 2022 Disability:IN Conference – in Dallas.
Houghton – who has dyslexia – says, “Growing up, I always had to be pulled out of the classroom and go have extra help reading. I never learned how to tie my shoes. When it came time to go to college, I knew that what I needed to do was never miss class. Be that student that asked a million questions. Ask the teacher if I could take the test in their classroom without the other students in an untimed environment.”
Houghton continues, “When I went to take the test to go to law school, I bombed. So we had a family convention. We sat down and we talked about, ‘What’s Plan A and what’s Plan B?’ And that took me to Washington, D.C.”
“I worked for Senator Robert Dole and I had this experience being an intern during the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
Fast forward to today, Houghton says, “Discrimination is alive and well. And at Disability:IN, we are the place where companies come together to learn from each other, to be competitive, and to advance disability, inclusion and equality.