Jamie Robinson: Finding Employment for People with Disabilities

By Kathy Gurchiek Jun 14, 2016
​​​Jamie Robinson Jamie Robinson started her career in Massachusetts as a disability program navigator collaborating with the Workforce Investment Board, workforce management and staff, business service teams, and employers to offer training and technical assistance to enhance the employment of people with disabilities.

She also coordinated a vocational program in New York City for adults with hearing disabilities, where she helped individuals secure jobs while supporting employers in the hiring and accommodating of those individuals.

Today, Robinson is manager of financial empowerment and workforce for the National Disability Institute (NDI), a not-for-profit organization in Washington, D.C. She is part of an NDI team that is building a consultancy arm focused on disability as part of diversity and inclusion efforts. She wants to learn more about progressive HR strategies for recruiting and accommodating people with disabilities. 

As one of seven recipients of the 2016 SHRM Foundation Annual Conference & Exposition Scholarships, she will be able to do just that.

The Foundation launched the Annual Conference scholarship initiative in 2015. Five scholarships are awarded to Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) members from each of five regions of the U.S., one is awarded to a veteran who is a SHRM member, and one is awarded to a SHRM student member. Robinson is the recipient from the Northeast region of the U.S.

The nearly $2,500 scholarships give HR professionals who might otherwise be unable to attend because of a lack of financial support the opportunity to experience Annual Conference. Each scholarship comes with full-conference registration, four nights’ housing at a conference hotel and a $500 travel stipend.

“Over the past 15 years, my work has centered on increasing employment and financial stability of individuals with disabilities,” Robinson wrote in her scholarship application. 

She has been at NDI since its inception in 2005, when it was founded by a small group of parents, family members and individuals with disabilities. She is one of 35 NDI employees, and she has spent the last three years there in human resources.

“My focus has shifted to exploring effective practices in hiring and supporting veterans and people with disabilities across corporate, federal and non-profit organizations,” she said.

NDI and SHRM have begun to build a partnership over the past year, Robinson noted.

“Being able to represent NDI [at Annual Conference] would support this partnership by providing me the opportunity to interact and learn from a diverse HR community about their most pressing needs and best practices around disability. In turn, NDI and SHRM may continue to work together to serve the needs of HR while building a better economic future for people with disabilities and their families.”

Kathy Gurchiek is the associate editor at HR News. Follow her @SHRMwriter.

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