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Accessible Job Pipelines

Charles G. Baldwin, Program Officer

photo of 3 people sitting on a stage with African-style drums between their knees
Beat drummers from BFAIR at CATA’s 2019 Annual Performance. Photo: Christina Lane.

Mass Cultural Council’s Universal Participation (UP) Initiative stewards a Community of Practice to activate inclusive design in policy and program development. To build access into institutional systems, a key principle is realized under the banner of “nothing about me, without me” through the role of user/experts in an organization’s ongoing evaluation and improvement. The lived experience of a person with disabilities offers an expertise which can contribute to an organization’s accessibility and usability of services, technologies, and/or physical environments (from a playground to a stage).

The benefit of diversifying your workforce is like embedding a consultant into your design process. Centering a Deaf artist can deepen your patronage from the Deaf community. A staff member who is blind should be on task for refining audio recordings. Who better to be part of the emergency evacuation committee than the staff member who uses a wheelchair? There are no limits to participation, merely the need to be accommodating and ready.

While disabled people saw increased employment rates in 2021, their employment rates continue to lag significantly behind those of their non-disabled counterparts. Within every demographic group, the disabled population faces the worst employment outcomes.

Removing obstacles to hiring and retention policies can contribute to your organization’s growth and a more equitable cultural sector. Here are a couple ways to get started:

  1. Reach out to the Mass Commission of the Blind and/or Mass Commission for Deaf and Hard of Hearing as they look to place constituents in internships (and will pay their stipend).
  2. Begin to ensure organizational readiness. Several national websites provide information on hiring people with disabilities and outline the benefits of a diverse staff:

Planning for access will be the topic covered during our UP Office Hours on November 10 and December 15. The UP Office Hour is a monthly open forum to address access questions, ideas, and solutions with peers in an informal, yet informed environment. Interested in attending and learning more?

RSVP for an UP Office Hour

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