Image by Gerd Altmann
Author: Kyla Williams
As a country, we are at the precipice of a new body of society that encompasses more representation than ever before. The face of America is changing, not only attributable to the growing amount of people represented by minority groups, but also the growing recognition, inclusion, and embracing of people who are different from the narrow, prejudiced standards of what society would represent and uphold. The new generation of our modern world has demanded that our country recognize and respect our differences, and value our presence and voices not despite them, but because of them. The diversity in capabilities, perspectives, and skills is reflected by growing identity diversity. In the workforce, the importance of the inclusion of diverse groups of people is ever-growing as the face of America evolves. Employers 4 Change recognizes the importance of the need for diversity in the workplace and works to ensure the next generation of professionals is represented and embraced in the working world for an inclusive and better tomorrow. To ensure that diverse employees are listened to and supported as they enter the workforce, we shine a spotlight on different groups to make certain they know their value, can take advantage of resources available to them, and are offered the opportunities they deserve. We also aim to emphasize the importance of and appreciate the different perspectives and skillsets diverse employees bring to the table.
The Faces of Diversity
The incorporation of neurodiversity in the workplace offers new mindsets, work styles, and perspectives. The recognition and validation of neuro-divergent people has come a long way in the past few decades, especially in the workplace. However, there is still a significant amount of discrimination that neuro-divergent people experience in the workplace. Employees have experienced mistreatment from co-workers, inequality in the eyes of superiors, and even lower pay. Because of this, oftentimes neuro-divergent employees often have to "mask", meaning unnaturally changing their behavior to present themselves as palatable to neurotypical standards, which is a mentally draining activity that their neurotypical peers have the privilege to never deal with. Uplifting neuro-divergent individuals and demanding changes for them in the working is crucial.
According to the National Deaf Center, in 2014 only 48% of deaf people were employed, versus 72% of hearing people. This shows that despite the protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act, individuals who are hearing impaired still experience inequality in the workforce. Within the hiring process, often hearing persons are preferred and chosen despite the qualifications of the candidates. Within established jobs, companies are unwilling to/ have a difficult time implementing accommodations. Upon raising awareness of these issues and demanding change from employers along with establishing a supportive community for individuals who are hearing impaired entering and navigating the workforce, we can begin to even the playing field for deaf persons.
Veterans face many adversities as the transition from serving in the armed forces to the workforce proves to be a difficult one. This is due to many reasons, including lack of career experience, health conditions, and the stress that comes with a drastic change in lifestyle. Veterans are underrepresented in the workforce and struggle from a lack of support post-service. It is incredibly important for employers to be pushed to improve their recognition of veterans in hiring processes and for communities of professional and personal support to be created for them.
International students are often overlooked and not offered the same educational and career opportunities as their U.S. native peers, This discrimination is often based on both racial and/or ethnic discrimination and misconceptions about their legal work capabilities. Educating employers, raising awareness about the workplace discrimination international students face, and fighting to include international students in professional spaces are all steps that can be taken to begin to resolve these issues.