Cornell University

December 18 2012

"They Get It"

ILR Public Engagement: Students serve communities worldwide

Adel Benslimane '13Adel Benslimane '13 got his first exposure to disability studies through the course Disability Employment Policy in the spring of 2011.

Months later, as a compensation analyst intern with Boeing's Defense Division, he was working with Fortune 500 companies such as Nordstrom, Microsoft and Starbucks to facilitate their participation in a career fair for military veterans.

"After taking this course, I was knowledgeable about the disabilities experienced by veterans, and the fact that many, if not most, of these disabilities are invisible— they're mental or emotional, not physical," says Benslimane.

Course knowledge, he said, "really came in handy when we were selecting jobs to advertise at the career fair."

"ILR studThomas Goldenents participate extensively in internships, and we are seeing a growing trend of students shaping their internships to match their disability interests," says Thomas Golden, associate director of the Employment and Disability Institute, who teaches the class.

Another Golden student, Sam Dix '12, was an intern at Ernst and Young when he led the firm’s student community service team of more than 100 in a community-based initiative to increase accessibility in the Manhattan area.

Others have gone to South Africa, India and Israel to work with nongovernmental organizations to promote more effective employment policy and practice for people with disabilities.

"These students are shaping the future world of work," says Golden. "They're making it a different place, considering new approaches and practices for integrating people with disabilities into the workplace alongside their nondisabled peers."

"For today's students, it's just a natural part of managing diversity in the workplace. They get it."