Businesses Must Recognize the Importance of Flexibility for Caregivers | The COVID-19 Experience from the NOD Team

June 29, 2020 | By Karel S. Karpe, Associate Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations, National Organization on Disability

Karel KarpeBeing a caregiver is incredibly rewarding.

You spend quality time with a loved one. You make a difference in a person’s life, and you have  peace of mind that someone you care about is safe and secure.

As many of us know, however, being a caregiver can be difficult, not leaving the person doing the caring with a lot of time to look after themselves.

My caregiving is sandwiched between my 90-year-old mother and my 29-year old son who has a disability. Each morning, I start my day by checking in on my mother (fortunately she lives in the same apartment complex as me) and then making sure my son is ready for his day. At that point I start my full-time job with the National Organization on Disability.

COVID has changed aspects of my care rituals. Many of my son’s normal activities have either been cancelled or altered. My mother is much more isolated. For me, life is more stressful and I am careful to ensure that I prioritize some self-care.

More than 1 in 6 working Americans care for an elderly or disabled family member, relative or friend. Two-thirds of these caregivers are women and those of us with jobs average 34.7 hours of work a week.

The impacts of caregiving and work add up. As many as 70 percent of people who are caregivers suffer work-related problems because of their dual roles and 39 percent of caregivers leave their job because they need more time to care for a loved one. And sadly, 34 percent of people leave a job because their work does not provide the flexible hours they need.

All of those statistics could be significantly altered for the better if more employers allowed their staff to modify work hours when necessary. Many organizations are still rigid about employee time. Only 53 percent of companies offer flexible hours/paid sick days.

This really comes down to a matter of trust: employers need to realize work will get done, it just might not be between the hours of 9 to 5. And flexibility benefits employers — studies show employees who have a flexible schedule take less sick and vacation days, clock shorter breaks and get assignments done more quickly.

Telework provides even more opportunities for flexibility, and now during COVID, when so many of us are home, it is a good time to focus on how we can help caregivers. One way is to know who they are in a workforce. Over 50 percent of employers don’t track data on their employees’ caregiving responsibilities.

Disasters sometimes give us opportunities. I am buoyed during this pandemic that COVID is bringing us back to discussions of what it means to be an employee, of being a parent, of family, of caregiving. I hope even after the crisis passes, we continue to talk about the value of having a lifestyle – and work day — that allows us to care for others.

NOD Welcomes Toyota Financial Services President and Chief Executive Officer to Board of Directors

Headshot of Mark TemplinNEW YORK (May 19, 2020) – The National Organization on Disability (NOD) today announced Mark Templin, president and CEO of Toyota Financial Services, as the newest member to join its Board of Directors. Mr. Templin will join 19 other civic and corporate leaders from across the country working to advance disability inclusion in the workforce.

“This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of the most comprehensive and sweeping pieces of civil rights legislation in our nation’s history,” said NOD Chairman, Gov. Tom Ridge. “Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to roll back many of the gains we have made since then. Mark’s arrival to our Board of Directors comes at a critical time. We will need to tap his considerable skills, along with those of our entire Board of Directors, to work with the disability community to ensure people with disabilities are not excluded from the economic recovery once our nation has been able to defeat the virus. We thank Mark for his leadership.”

Mark Templin oversees all Toyota Financial Services activities in North and South America as well as in Australia and New Zealand. He is also the chief executive officer of Toyota Insurance Management Solutions, the director and group chief operating officer of Toyota Financial Services Corporation, and has served as chairman of the board of Toyota Motor Credit Corporation since May 2016.

“The National Organization on Disability is performing vital work to advance employment opportunities for the 20 million Americans with disabilities,” said Mark Templin. “I look forward to working alongside their dedicated group of leaders to make progress on this crucial issue.”

Since joining Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) in 1990, Templin has held a number of positions including serving as group vice president and general manager of the Lexus Division for TMS, overseeing all aspects of Lexus’ U.S. automotive operations, including sales and marketing, retail development, customer satisfaction and product planning. He later served as executive vice president of Lexus International, responsible for leading the luxury brand’s global operations.  Before joining Toyota, Templin held several positions at General Motors Corporation.  Templin earned a Bachelor of Science degree at University of Central Missouri where he studied automotive technology.

Response to COVID-19/Coronavirus

Response to COVID-19/Coronavirus

The National Organization on Disability is closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19/Coronavirus. During this time, we remain committed to ensuring the well-being of everyone in our community. Some immediate measures we have taken as an organization are to:

  • Cancel our in-person events in the months of March and April and transition to virtual gatherings.
  • Ensure our staff are working remotely for as long as necessary. At this time, we know one of the most effective and powerful measures is to adopt social distancing and we are fully supportive of this strategy.
  • Remain in close contact with our partners and community members. We understand that COVID-19/Coronavirus may have a greater impact on persons with disabilities and remain committed to doing our part to ensure that persons with disabilities in the workforce and in the community are supported during this time.

Our leadership team will be in touch to share any changes in our regular calendar of events as and if applicable. We will appropriately account for all new developments, so as to safeguard all our clients, funders, partners and staff members.

Thank you,

The National Organization on Disability

Key Strategies For Boosting Disability Recruiting

A professional worker works in a wheel chair.

September 09, 2019 | BEST PRACTICES: Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

When it comes to college recruiting, there are several common missteps or “missed steps” that employers commonly make in terms of recruiting students with disabilities. Felicia Nurmsen, managing director of employer services for the National Organization on Disability (NOD), says the thing she hears most from employers is that they want to understand how to find this talent.

“However,” Nurmsen says, “results from our 2019 Disability Employment Tracker show that while there was some growth in university recruitment, through NOD’s Campus to Careers program, we know that often there is a disconnect on campus with disability services and careers services.”

As a result, she adds, students with disabilities—particularly those who require accommodations—are not fully participating in the services offered through the career services offices and are not informed of the employment opportunities with companies interested in them as a large untapped talent pool.

“The common mistake is for companies to assume that they have access to students with disabilities through their existing contacts on campus,” Nurmsen says.

“Companies need to inform career services they are interested in hiring students with disabilities and expect to interview them while they are on campus.”

She says that having a recruiter with a disability on the campus recruitment team is also a clear indication the company hires people with disabilities. Furthermore, it allows students with disabilities to feel comfortable disclosing their disability and asking for an accommodation, if needed.

Nurmsen recommends that employers also provide training to their recruiters and staff on interview skills, disability awareness, and accommodations to empower them to feel confident in all interview situations.

“Recruiters must understand there are some guidelines on how to handle certain situations,” Nurmsen says. “Clearly establishing fit for a position must be their top priority with all candidates—including students with disabilities.”

She explains that if companies are not working with career services to distinguish students with disabilities as an important diversity segment for their business, they will miss out on this talent pool entirely.

“Research shows that the number of students with disabilities attending college has doubled in the last 10 years, with more than 40 percent of young adults with disabilities attending a college or university within four years of leaving high school,” she says.

However, Nurmsen continues, this statistic, paired with data from the 2016 American Community Survey showing adults with a disability and a college degree have an employment rate that is 10 percentage points lower than all adults with a high school diploma or less, and 27 percentage points lower than all adults with a college degree.

“Clearly, this indicates that a strong campus recruitment program will allow employers to take advantage of this large untapped talent pool,” she points out.

“The benefits of this targeted recruitment strategy continue to be highlighted as a best/emerging business practice.”

It makes good sense. Nurmsen points to a NOD/Kessler Foundation survey and recent Accenture research that indicate companies realized several benefits when hiring people with disabilities. These include:

  • A larger labor pool;
  • Lower turnover;
  • Reduced recruiting costs;
  • Positive diversity impact; and
  • Better retention rates.

NOD’s 2019 Disability Employment Tracker data show that the two most effective channels for disability recruiting are community partners and existing channels, such as recruitment agencies, websites, and others.

“On the other hand, use of job boards has gone up 5 percent, but the success rate stayed pretty flat at 48 percent reporting they hired through this source,” Nurmsen explains.

“University hiring is also interesting. There was some growth in use—up 4 percent to 54 percent—with 57 percent reporting they hired through this source.”

Still, even with college recruiting for students with disabilities growing, many employers struggle with outreach and recruitment, and require support from organizations like NOD to help identify the best local recruitment resources, with plan design and employee education, and provide overall support.

“This challenge may be mitigated by colleges and universities understanding the value of this sought-after population for employers,” Nurmsen says.

It is also important to understand what students with disabilities want from the employers they are considering for employment. This includes:

  • Mentors;
  • A clear understanding of the specific requirements their roles;
  • Support and accommodations that are easily requested and provided;
  • The ability to see themselves in the existing employee population; and
  • Opportunities for growth.

“Salary is important,” Nurmsen says, “but the overall experience, values, and culture need to align with their own values.”

Read on the NACE website

Looking Back at NOD’s Annual Forum | “Shifting the Talent Paradigm: Inclusive Cultures for a Modern Workforce”

September, 2019, Washington, D.C. – More than 200 diversity and inclusion leaders from companies around the country gathered at the National Organization on Disability’s (NOD) Annual Forum and Dinner, entitled Shifting the Talent Paradigm: Inclusive Culture for a Modern Workforce.  Sponsored by Lead Partners PwC and Spectrum, the all-day forum explored the best change management tactics that corporate leaders can deploy to create a more diverse and inclusive culture. Senior managers heard from executives and experts on the most effect tools and tactics to create an inclusive culture, as well as the leadership skills and personal attributes needed to lead a culture change.

Corporate Leadership Council Members: See more video and access exclusive resources in the Members’ Only Portal.

Not a member of the Council? Find out about the many benefits of joining today!

Shifting the Talent Paradigm | Shift Communications: Breaking Barriers with Technology

Featuring: Rhonda Nesmith Crichlow, Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer, Charter Communications; Mark Balsano, Vice President of Accessibility, Charter Communications; Amy Warner, Vice President and General Manager, IT Digital Business Solutions and Corporate Director of Accessibility, Intel; and Simon Dermer, CEO & Co-Founder, eSSENTIAL Accessibility

September 26, 2019 – More than 200 diversity and inclusion leaders from companies around the country gathered at the National Organization on Disability’s (NOD) Annual Forum and Dinner, entitled Shifting the Talent Paradigm: Inclusive Culture for a Modern Workforce. Sponsored by Lead Partners PwC and Spectrum, the all-day forum explored the best change management tactics that corporate leaders can deploy to create a more diverse and inclusive culture. Senior managers heard from executives and experts on the most effect tools and tactics to create an inclusive culture, as well as the leadership skills and personal attributes needed to lead a culture change.

Want more content like this? Join the NOD Corporate Leadership Council to access resources in the Members’ Only Portal

Celebrate the 2019 International Day of People With Disabilities


Since 1945, the United Nations (UN) has outlined and reiterated its commitment to calling for the creation of inclusive, accessible and sustainable societies and communities – most notably with the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Over time, the UN has honed its focus on promoting the well-being and welfare of people living with disabilities, and in 1992 called for an international day of celebration for people living with disabilities to be held on December 3 each year.

NOD Founder and first Chairman, Alan Reich, played an important role in the UN’s focus on disability issues, including as the first wheelchair user to ever speak before the General Assembly in 1981.

The International Day of People with Disabilities is not owned by the UN – it is owned by everyone: people, organisations, agencies, charities, places of learning – all of whom have a vital role to play in identifying and addressing discrimination, marginalization, exclusion and inaccessibility that many people living with disabilities face. International Day of People with Disabilities is one day on the international calendar, yet it symbolizes the actions we should take every day, in order to create diverse and accepting communities.



  • Reflection – to look at our own past individual and collective actions, and to identify our goals for the future;
  • Celebration – to recognize and value the diversity of our global community, and to cherish the role we all play, regardless of our abilities;
  • Learning – to understand and learn from the experiences of people with living with a disability;
  • It is a day for optimism – to look towards the future and the creation of a world where a person is not characterized by their disabilities, but by their abilities;
  • Action – where all people, organisations, agencies and charities not only show their support for International Day of People with Disabilities, but take on a commitment to create a world characterized by equal human rights.



How you can get involved:

• Use #IDPWD, #thefutureisaccessible, and #LookCloser to engage in the global conversation on social media. Share your stories as people with disabilities and allies at work or in the community

• For companies, join NOD’s Corporate Leadership Council & Look Closer campaign to advance your commitment to disability inclusion in 2020

Make a donation to NOD

Victory for disability advocates: Supreme Court won’t hear Domino’s Pizza accessibility case

By Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY | Published 9:56 p.m. ET Oct. 7, 2019


The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to not hear Domino’s petition on whether its website is accessible to the disabled is considered a loss for the pizza giant and a win for disability advocates.

The case was one of a long list of those the Supreme Court announced it wouldn’t hear, and as is usual the high court made no comment in declining to take the case. Monday was the Supreme Court’s first day of arguments after its summer break.

The order to not hear the case keeps in place a January ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that Domino’s and other retailers must make its online services accessible. It also means the case is expected to go to trial.

“Although Domino’s is disappointed that the Supreme Court will not review this case, we look forward to presenting our case at the trial court,” Domino’s said in a statement posted on its website Monday. “We also remain steadfast in our belief in the need for federal standards for everyone to follow in making their websites and mobile apps accessible.”

Dominos store

Photo courtesy of Domino’s Pizza


Guillermo Robles, who is blind, claimed in U.S. District Court in California that the pizza maker violated the federal disability requirements because he couldn’t order a pizza on his iPhone: The website didn’t work with his screen-reader software.

“In today’s tech-savvy world, blind and visually-impaired people have the ability to access websites and mobile applications using keyboards in conjunction with screen access software that vocalizes the visual information found on a computer screen or displays the content on a refreshable Braille display,” the lawsuit argued.

In January, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Domino’s and other retailers must make its online services accessible.

Robles’ attorney, Joe Manning, said in a statement to CNBC Monday that the Supreme Court’s decision was “the right call on every level.”

“The blind and visually impaired must have access to websites and apps to fully and equally participate in modern society – something nobody disputes,” he said. “This outcome furthers that critical objective for them and is a credit to our society.”

Domino’s along with the National Retail Federation and Retail Litigation Center urged the Supreme Court to hear the case because the appeal court’s ruling “stretched the definition too far by deciding that websites and mobile applications must be judged as public accommodations rather than just considered as one of many ways in which a consumer might access a retailer’s offerings.”

According to the pizza company, a customized pizza can be ordered in-store, by phone, text, social media and voice-activated devices like Alexa and Google Home. Domino’s says it is developing a proprietary voice-ordering digital assistant, Dom.

Domino’s said in its statement that a nationwide standard would “eliminate the tsunami of website accessibility litigation that has been filed by plaintiffs’ lawyers exploiting the absence of a standard for their own benefit.”

Giant Eagle + NOD Case Study

Giant Eagle + NOD | ‘A customized workplace solution from the ground up’


To architect a plan to implement universal design principles – a designed environment that can be utilized by all people, regardless of their age, size, disability – in Giant Eagle’s distribution facility to make every job position within the facility available to people with disabilities.


When Giant Eagle made the decision to extend their diversity and inclusion goals beyond retail outlets to distribution centers, they brought in experts from the National Organization on Disability (NOD) to help. NOD conducted interviews with Giant Eagle team members and held a collaborative workshop to tailor a plan unique to Giant Eagle’s goals and worksite. NOD also analyzed jobs at Giant Eagle, including assessing how work gets done, and identified feasible changes to job structures, roles and shifts. Giant Eagle attributes much of the success of the six-month engagement to NOD’s inherent knowledge of and experience in the business world, as well as NOD’s ability to build trust across the company during a time of change.


“The NOD team was incredibly professional. They clearly are experts. They took time to figure out our culture. They took the time to meet the right people. They brought the right people to the table, from the HR staff to the operations staff to the union representatives. And really built trust across all of the teams. You know, when we’re talking about making changes, not everyone is always open to that. NOD was just so good at making sure that they were leveraging their expertise, all the while making the team feel like they were developing the strategy themselves. And I think that that’s so important for the long-term ownership of the plan. I absolutely would recommend NOD to any company that’s trying to improve their disability inclusion. I know they helped us and their professionalism and expertise is unrivalled.”

Jeremy Shapira | Special Projects, Inclusion and Diversity