Building Capacity in Industry: Recruiting and Retaining Employees with Disabilities (2016)

A speaker signs to a table of people during a presentation.

Proceedings of the April 2016 AccessComputing Capacity Building Institute (CBI)

The Alliance for Access to Computing Careers (AccessComputing) coordinates multiple activities to increase the participation of people with disabilities, including veterans, in computing and information technology (IT) postsecondary education and career fields. AccessComputing is led by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, the Information School, and the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center at the University of Washington (UW) and is funded by the Computer and Information Science and Education (CISE) program of the National Science Foundation (grant #CNS-1042260, CNS-1539179). 

This publication shares the proceedings of Building Capacity in Industry: Recruiting and Retaining Employees with Disabilities, an AccessComputing-sponsored CBI that was held June 15 – 17, 2016 in Seattle, WA. The content may be useful for people who

  • were participants in the CBI,
  • are employers who are interested in recruiting and retaining employees with disabilities,
  • are disability service and career service providers in higher education,
  • are motivated to engage in an electronic community to discuss these issues, and/or
  • have promising practices to share with others.

About AccessComputing

AccessComputing works to increase the participation of people with disabilities in computing and IT fields. Institutional and organizational partners apply evidence-based practices to

  • increase the number of students with disabilities successfully pursuing degrees and careers in computing fields;
  • increase the capacity of postsecondary computing departments to fully include students with disabilities in computing courses and programs;
  • increase the capacity of employers to recruit and retain employees with disabilities in computing-related employment;
  • encourage computing educators to teach about accessibility and universal design in the computing curriculum;
  • create a nationwide resource to help students with disabilities pursue computing fields; and
  • help computing educators and employers, professional organizations, and other stakeholders develop more inclusive programs and share effective practices nationwide.

Institutional partners are Auburn University, Carnegie Mellon, Clemson University, Cornell Tech, DePaul University, Gallaudet University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Landmark College, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, New Mexico State University, North Carolina State University, Old Dominion University, Portland State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Towson University, University of Alabama, University of California Santa Cruz, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Maine, University of Maryland, University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Nevada Las Vegas, University of Nevada Reno, University of Portland, University of Washington, and Washington State University.

Organizational partners are the Alliance for Students with Disabilities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (AccessSTEM); the Anita Borg Institute, the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Information Technology (CMD-IT); the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA); the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI); the Computing Research Association (CRA); Expanding Computing Education Pathways (ECEP); the Institute for African-American Mentoring in Computing Sciences (iAAMCS); Into the Loop; the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT); the National Girls for Collaborative Project (NGCP); and the STARS Computing Corps.

Industry partners are companies that are working to make the technical workplace more welcoming and accessible to computing professionals with disabilities. Companies learn about strategies that can be successful in recruiting and retaining employees with disabilities. Industry partners include Yahoo! and Salesforce.

AccessComputing engages with project partners by

  • conducting CBIs focused on increasing the participation of students with disabilities in computing and IT academic programs and careers,
  • sharing the results of the CBIs with other institutions and individuals who serve students with disabilities,
  • providing an electronic forum to continue discussion of issues for students, including veterans, with disabilities and increase services and supports for these students, and
  • extending resources to other programs and promising practices via an online searchable Knowledge Base.