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Recap of 2015 CTBLN (now Disability:IN Connecticut) Programming

Posted in: Events

1/14/2015 – CTBLN Announces the Appointment of Sharon Denson as Executive Director

What a great start to the year it was. Sharon’s biography can be found on the “Board” page. Click the BOARD link at the top of this page to learn more about Sharon.

2/13/2015 – Tapping into the “Hidden Talent Pool”: Where to Find Qualified Job Applicants with Disabilities.

Our panel composed of organizations which work with people with disabilities to enable them to reach their employment goals answered the burning question: “Where do we find qualified job seekers with disabilities?” The program took place on Friday, February 13th from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Eversource (then Northeast Utilities), 107 Selden St., Berlin, CT.

3/2015 – CTBLN Honored by USBLN as the Spotlighted Affiliate for March 2015

CTBLN was honored by the United States Business Leadership Network (USBLN) as the Spotlighted Affiliate for March 2015.  This honor was based on the hard work of Board President Joe Wendover, our Secretary, Sandy Lavoy and Executive Director Sharon Denson to create a successful and active BLN in Connecticut.

In a note to our leadership, Lynn Kirkbride, Director of Affiliate Relations for the USBLN, congratulated CTBLN stating  “On behalf  the USBLN, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for all of your hard work and to congratulate your BLN on being the Spotlight Affiliate for March 2015. I think that your Spotlight will be of particular interest to our network since you restarted your BLN… You are not the only BLN in that  situation and I know that we look to each other for answers and helpful hints that contributed to your being able to get back on your feet. Thank you for being willing to share your journey.

I know that much of your success is due to the leadership of companies like Walgreens (Joe), the Travelers, Firestone Building Products, Northeast Utilities [Eversource], and Prudential Retirement as well as the steady work to support the BLN that Sharon has provided.  It sounds like the disability organizations that  partnered with you added to your success. Our hats go off to all of you for your intentional, creative and hard work which has now set CT BLN on a strong course with the potential to be more effective than ever before.

Please know that the USBLN values our Affiliates and is especially proud to  “spotlight” the great work of the CT BLN. Thank you again for all of your efforts to make our workplaces, marketplaces and supply chains more inclusive of people with disabilities. We value your “lessons learned” that will help other affiliates trying to renew their efforts as well. I am sure I will be sending others your way for guidance.  We look forward to hearing of the great things that CT BLN will do in 2015″ 

CTBLN took the opportunity to thank CW Resources, CBIA, Deloitte and ConnectiCare for their support, making it possible to achieve the cited continued success. Also thanked for their dedication were individual members Angie Querido (Treasurer), Uma Bahn and Marc Dupont of Sikorsky.

4/28/2015 – CTBLN Co-Sponsors DiverseAbility Career Fair, Sheraton in Rocky Hill

CTBLN was a co-sponsor of this well-attended event that provided employers the tools to gain a competitive edge by recruiting from a diverse pool of qualified candidates. They also learned what’s available in Connecticut to help their business grow. The event kicked off with breakfast and guest speakers, allowed time for visiting exhibitor booths, and then provided a venue to meet a broad range of qualified candidates. More than one third of the attendees had attained a college degree or higher, and the majority had work experience and skills. Recent graduates eager to join the business world also participated..

CTBLN and other vendors provided information on successful recruitment, hiring incentives, reasonable accommodations and other helpful resources including specific responsibilities as a federal contractor under Section 503. Participants learned how to start a disability hiring program and how CTBLN can help reach disability diversity goals through training (available nationwide), peer support and informative meetings and events.

Registration included a skirted table with company sign, a professional, convenient facility and plenty of parking and Breakfast & Lunch, with coffee and water throughout the day

The turnout was boosted through community calendar listings, press releases and newsletter notifications. Thousands of jobseekers were also reached  through Twitter, Facebook and email, along with advertisement via the Department of Labor website, the statewide American Job Centers, veterans’ centers, local libraries and community groups

4/17/2015 – Best Wishes to Valued Board Member Peter Cross as He Leaves CTBLN

CTBLN sent best wishes to Peter Cross, one of its most valued Board members who left Connecticut for Texas in order to be closer to his grandchildren.  Peter continued in his role as a Talent Leader for Deloitte and Touche.

Peter was an active Board member whose roles included Chair of the Membership Committee and Chair of our Career Fair Committee for two consecutive years. As Chair of the Career Fair in 2013, he lead a team which produced the most successful Career Fair to date.  It included Opening Remarks by Connecticut’s Governor Dannel P. Malloy and a keynote address by Jim Weisman of United Spinal Association. CTBLN was also able to secure a proclamation from the Governor naming the date of the Career Fair as Connecticut Business Leadership Network Day. This could not have been accomplished without Peter’s strong leadership and organizational skills.  He kept the committee on track, leading to a very successful outcome.

Peter was known at CTBLN for his humble nature and thoughtful leadership style. He was always willing to volunteer his time wherever needed and CTBLN misses having his help and advice.

Executive Director Sharon Denson first met Peter a few years before her tenure at CTBLN at a ConnectAbility awards breakfast.  He was accepting an award on behalf of Deloitte and Touche for their disability hiring initiative. She then discovered that he was a colleague at Deloitte of her sister, Ellen Quint. Her sister worked with Peter and she shared the same high regard for Peter as the people at CTBLN.

When Sharon told Peter that CTBLN wanted to honor him for his service, he replied in his characteristically humble style, “I got much more out of my time with CTBLN than I contributed”.

6/25/2015 – CTBLN Inaugurates Accommodations Series

The Connecticut Business Leadership Network held its Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 25, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Walgreens Distribution Center, 80 International Drive, Windsor, CT.

This meeting was the first of the critically acclaimed Accommodations Series, a series of meetings which educated attendees on disabilities, the effects of those disabilities in the workplace and appropriate accommodations for individuals with those disabilities. The topics covered in this series also assisted human resources professionals as they encounter employees who have family members who acquire these disabilities.

Educating participants on the disabilities which they might encounter among their job candidates and incumbent employees takes the mystery out of accommodating individuals with disabilities.

The June 25th meeting consisted of a panel of representatives from the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Spinal Cord Injury Association.  These three disabilities are often confused with each other, however, each of these disabilities can have different effects on the individuals who have these disabilities and the types of accommodations which they need. A question and answer period followed the presentation.

9/25/2015 – Strategies for Accommodating Veterans

CTBLN’s Accommodation Series continued with a focused program from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Eversource (formerly Northeast Utilities), 107 Selden Street, Berlin, CT. Veterans represent a uniquely qualified pool of job candidates, but how does one accommodate the needs of wounded warriors? How can a veteran’s military experience translate into value for available positions in a civilian workforce?

A panel of representatives from a veteran’s organization, the military and experts on the conditions most commonly acquired by wounded veterans will speak about workplace accommodations for veterans and strategies for successfully recruiting, hiring and retaining veterans in your workplace.

Companies believe that hiring veterans is the “right thing to do” and federal contractors are required to hire a certain percentage of veterans and individuals with disabilities (including wounded warriors). For companies covered by Section 503 or a VEVRAA company, this meeting fulfilled outreach requirements and CTBLN provided proof of attendance to include in reports to OFCCP.

About CTBLN’s Accommodations Series: CTBLN’s Accommodations Series was designed to be an educational experience which to help one design a workplace inclusive of individuals with many types of disabilities including veterans. Participants learned about the disability, its effects on the individual and appropriate accommodations to help that individual reach their highest potential. Future meetings l included information about Cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, Autism, mental health disabilities and more. The series made make it easier to funderstand and accommodate individuals with disabilities.

10/29/2015 – DiverseAbility Career Fair, Courtyard Marriott in Waterbury

The Connecticut Business Leadership Network in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Labor and Department of Rehabilitation Services teamed up for another great opportunity for employers to find the qualified candidates with disabilities which you have been seeking.

Executive Director Sharon Denson, M.Ed., J.D., E and renowned expert on Section 503 and disability employment spoke about “How to Make Section 503 Work for You” (a $1,000.00 value). Proof of attendance letters for federal contractors subject to Section 503 were given to attendees. (Such letters can be used as proof of training and outreach for OFCCP reporting.)

11/12/2015 – Accommodating Individuals with Learning and Developmental Disabilities Including Autism

CTBLN held the third of its meetings in the successful and informative Accommodations Series: Accommodating Individuals with Learning and Developmental Disabilities and Autism. The meeting was held from 9am to 11am at Walgreens Distribution Center, 80 International Drive, Windsor, CT.

There are many questions about the employability of individuals with learning and intellectual disabilities including those on the Autism spectrum. Most employers don’t realize that there is a great variety of abilities and talents in this pool of job seekers and that an ideal employee may be someone with an intellectual or learning disability.

A panel of experts addressed myth busting ideas about individuals with these disabilities and how they can become a vital part of the workforce and great hires.