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Architectural rendering of Digital Express with open seating area and service desk called Reboot Central.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM))

MCC’s Disability Employment Awareness programing will begin in October, but also be offered throughout the rest of 2021.


Discussion led by Steve Ascher & Jeanne Jordan, Filmmakers

“Raising Renee” begins in 2003 as Beverly McIver is savoring opening night of her first solo art show in New York.
A talented painter and winner of major awards, her career was skyrocketing. She flew in her mother Ethel, a maid from Greensboro, North Carolina and her sister Renee, 43, who is mentally disabled and functions at about the level of a third grader.
Years before, Beverly had casually promised her mother that she would take Renee when Ethel died, an event that seemed infinitely far off and unlikely to impinge on her life as a single black woman, painting and teaching where her work took her. But in 2004, Ethel died suddenly and Beverly’s promise was put to the test.
“Raising Renee” is the story of a family’s remarkable response to being broken apart and rearranged after nearly 50 years. 
The film explores deep themes of family, race, class and disability through the interplay of painting, cinema and everyday life.
Date: Thursday, December 9, 2021
Time: 10-11:45 a.m. CST
Location: Raising Renee
Access to the Zoom presentation is free & open to the public.
Film materials and licensing support provided by Metropolitan Community College Libraries.
Contact for more information.

VIRTUAL Video & Discussion: Go Far: The Christopher Rush Story

Discussion led by Zack Arnold, Producer/Director

At the age of seven months, Christopher Rush was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, and his parents were told he would be “no more than a dishrag, and dead by the age of two.” Christopher lived to 30, and in that time he achieved more than most able-bodied people do in a lifetime including becoming the first quadriplegic in the United States licensed as a scuba diver. He was the manager of his high school basketball team; he went to prom; he graduated from the University of Michigan with honors; and he graduated with a Juris Doctor from Wayne State University.

Shortly before his death, Chris developed a motivational program called GO FAR, a series of steps that could help guide people who wanted to achieve their goals despite the insurmountable obstacles in front of them. His mission was to share this program with those with disabilities, and by his definition, “Everyone has a disability.”

This film is Chris’ life story and a continuation of his work; it will inspire not only those with disabilities, but everyone, to follow their dreams, no matter the obstacles.

The film is narrated by actor Mark Hamill as the voice of Christopher Rush.

Date: Thursday, October 28, 2021
Time: 2-3:45 p.m. CDT
Location: Connect to Go Far: The Christopher Rush Story 
Access to the Zoom presentation is free & open to the public.

VIRTUAL LECTURE: Autism Cultural Responsiveness: Moving Towards More Successful Inclusion

discussion led by: Sara Sanders Gardner, Director, Neurodiversity Navigators Program, Bellevue College, Bellevue, WA

Gardner presents practical applications on how to interact with college students on the autism spectrum as well as how to normalize autistic students’ concerning behaviors for others. Lessons learned from the Neurodiversity Navigators program at Bellevue College will inform the conversation. We will discuss strength-based growth models, behavior management theories, and include tools you can use immediately to make a difference in the classroom and on campus.

Sara Sanders Gardner is the designer and director of Bellevue College's nationally recognized Neurodiversity Navigators program, now in its 11th year. They are lead curriculum designer and adjunct faculty for the program’s seven-course career preparation cohort series. In addition to work for the college, Sara owns Autistic at Work LLC, and contracts with Microsoft Corp, Amazon Web Services, and others to provide live, virtual, and eLearning training on the topic of neurodiversity cultural responsiveness and more worldwide. Sara is autistic and uses they/them pronouns.

Date: Tuesday, November 9
Time: 9:30 a.m. CST
Location: Connect by Zoom: Autism Cultural Responsiveness
Access to the Zoom presentation is free & open to the public.


  1. Freshen up bulletin boards in workplaces, schools, libraries or other community locations with disability information including the National Disability Employment Awareness poster.
  2. Review company policies to ensure they convey a commitment to workplace culture inclusive of people with disabilities.
  3. Conduct training for supervisors to ensure they understand their role in fostering an inclusive workplace culture.
  4. Reinforce a commitment to an inclusive workplace through disability training or informal educational events.
  5. Issue a press release to local media to announce involvement in NDEAM.
  6. Participate in Disability Mentoring Day
  7. Incorporate NDEAM into accessible social media including the hashtag #NDEAM
  8. Establish an Employee Resource Group or highlight existing groups that offer employees an opportunity to connect and receive support from others with similar backgrounds or interests.
  9. Hold discussions on the topic of disability employment with students, particularly those considering career options and learning about the world of work.
  10. Hold an assembly addressing the topic of disability employment
  11. Educate about disability history.
  12. Train front line staff to use knowledge, skills and abilities to effectively serve those with disabilities
  13. Engage student leaders to include NDEAN content in their activities.
  14. Include timely and fresh NDEAM content in magazines or newsletters.
  15. Post the NDEAM link on websites to demonstrate commitment to advancing disability employment.
  16. Solicit an NDEAM proclamation from the mayor, governor or other officials.
  17. Sponsor an informal seminar or panel presentation for local employers on the topic of disability employment and the benefits of a disability-inclusive workplace.
  18. Reach out to local media to highlight NDEAM programming.
  19. Use the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) to identify qualified, pre-screened college students and recent graduates with disabilities.
  20. Receive free, confidential and expert one-on-one guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN).
  21. Review the accessibility of the technical side of an organization's recruiting operations with assistance from the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) developed TalentWorks.
  22. Expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities by joining a business organization committed to increasing the employment of people with disabilities.
  23. Foster inclusive internship programs.
  24. share the working works PSA
  25. Share Disability Employment's BECAUSE PSA to instill the expectation of employment in young people with disabilities.
  26. Share the “I Can” PSA
  27. Share the “Who I Am” PSA
  28. Sharpen workplace readiness skills using the "Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success" series
  29. Proactively recruit people with disabilities
  30. Gain knowledge about the importance of accessible technology to the employment and education of people with disabilities.
  31. Subscribe to the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s News Brief

Disability Employment Awareness Resources

Heal Profession Classrooms

The following points should be considered when working with students with a disability:

  • Students with disability may also be gifted and talented and/or have English as an additional language and/or dialect. In some instances, a student may require support in more than one element of diversity
  • Students with disability can achieve educational standards commensurate with their peers
  • Students with disability who require adjustment/s to one learning area may not require the same adjustment/s to another learning area
  • Not all students with a disability require adjustments to all dimensions of the curriculum
  • Students with the same category of disability do not always require the same adjustments
  • Students with disability may require different levels of adjustment over time to reach their potential
  • Ongoing formative assessment, particularly pre-assessment, is critical to ensure that learning area content and adjustments align with student needs.

Strategies for Working with People who have Disabilities

There are many ways that disabilities can affect the ability to perform effectively on the job. Following these simple suggestions will help people with disabilities to fully participate in work-based learning experiences.

Administration for Community Living

Employment Resources for People with Disabilities and Their Families

University of Washington

Tips for Engaging with Differing Disabilities

Participation for all programs is free and open to the public.

Contact: for more information.
Additional International/Intercultural Education virtual programming can be found on Youtube.

ACCOMMODATIONS:  Audience members requiring accommodations due to a disability must contact Barbara Velazquez,, 531-622-2253 at least two weeks prior to the program.