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Economy & Business

Disability Summit Connects Employers with Potential Employees

Corporations large and small, along with service providers, local activists, leaders and education officials are gathered in Pittsburgh for the first Disability Employment Summit, sponsored by the PNC Financial Service Group.

“Knowing that there’s a high unemployment rate with people with disabilities in this region,” said Amanda Snow, with PNC, “there are a number of opportunities and current openings, so how do we match those up?”

The hope is that the organizations will learn about what options are available from local resources, what organizations to partner with, and hear best practices from businesses that employ people with disabilities. The summit is also open to those with a disability who are 18 and older as well as their friends, family and service providers so they can learn more about the region.

“What’s the economy? What’s going on? Where are there a lot of opportunities from a job perspective, where are companies that are seeking candidates like them to be employed by their organizations? They’ll have an opportunity to listen to industry panels as well as personally network with corporate representatives in a smaller forum,” said Snow.

Employers that will be there include PNC, Giant Eagle and Bayer, along with many smaller companies. The event, said Snow, will be critical in addressing the problem of unemployment in the disability community.

“For Americans living with disabilities, nearly 80 percent are not participating in the workforce,” said Snow. “In the Pittsburgh region alone, approximately 240,000 individuals with disabilities who are of the working age are either not employed or not seeking employment.”

And the issue, according to Snow, is a disconnect between employers and possible employees.

“I don’t think it’s a lack of jobs, there’s definitely a huge opportunity, I think it’s connecting the dots,” she said.

The Disability Summit will kick off with a welcome Monday evening, with the full-day summit taking place Tuesday, Oct. 14. In addition to the summit, PNC will host Pittsburgh-area high school students who have a disability for a day of job shadowing and Mentoring on Wednesday.