“In 1995, I said, ‘That’s it. I’m starting my own company. I know people with disabilities can work equally to anyone else,’” says Joyce Bender, CEO and founder, Bender Consulting Services, Inc. and the Bender Leadership Academy.
WorkingNation sat down with Bender at 2022 Disability:IN Conference in Dallas.
Bender Consulting Services helps companies hire people with disabilities and create an inclusive culture. Bender – who has epilepsy – says it’s important to facilitate job placement at all levels, including the executive level.
She explains that job seekers often come to the company through referrals. “We have many referral sources, including our colleges, college partnerships. We have a very strong partnership. We have a virtual career fair at Bender Consulting Services. We have a lot of avenues where people with disabilities are referred to us.”
“When I work with a company, [they] think it’s only going to be a junior level person. And many times, it is. Why? The high unemployment in this country for people with disabilities. We also place people at the executive level, only people with disabilities. If a company would say to me, ‘Joyce, we want to have a project manager or a director over supply management,’ we also recruit people at that level.”
She continues, “Sadly, today, 70% of people with disabilities are still not counted in the workforce. When I go to a company, I believe the reason that companies do not hire people with disabilities – there are several, but one is fear and the second is ignorance.”