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Professional Development

Assess your professional development activities and paths to ensure they are accessible to employees with disabilities.

People with disabilities very often stay in the same positions longer than their non-disabled peers. This situation happens not because of a lack of ambition, but rather due to a lack of access to the training, development and career advancement opportunities that are available to others within an organization. These opportunities include mentoring and coaching. 

You are more likely to keep valued employees with disabilities if you invest in training, development and career advancement opportunities. The EARN resource, Professional Development and Advancement of Employees with Disabilities, explains how organizations can ensure equal access to these important programs for employees with disabilities. 

Reskilling and Upskilling

“Reskilling” means offering training to employees who demonstrate an ability to learn new skills to benefit the organization and move ahead in their careers. “Upskilling” is learning additional skills for enhancing existing skills in order to advance. You can learn more about reskilling and upskilling, and other emerging workplace issues, in the EARN policy brief, The ADA@31: A Review of Emerging Implementation Issues

Mentoring and Coaching

Mentoring and coaching are effective strategies to help develop and advance employees with disabilities. Mentoring means forming a professional relationship with a colleague in order to advise or train them. Mentoring helps to encourage personal growth, build skills and increase knowledge of the work or industry. Coaching aims to improve performance by helping them to learn new skills. It allows people to enhance their current performance within an organization. 

Mentoring is an effective tool for shaping an inclusive culture. EARN’s resource on Mentoring as a Disability Inclusion Strategy will help you learn more. Visit EARN’s Workplace Mentoring Playbook to learn about strategies, tools, types of mentoring and other vital information to develop a mentoring program in your organization. Peer mentoring and coaching can be an effective means of professional development for all employees, and can ensure the success of workplace neurodiversity initiatives.