A group of diverse colleagues with disabilities gather around a conference table with the skyline showing in the background.

Innovative program customized for people with disabilities also equips companies to retain, train, and advance disability talent 

ALEXANDRIA, VA. (May 2, 2024)—Disability:IN, the global nonprofit driving disability inclusion in business, today introduced the Early Career Talent Accelerator—a first-of-its-kind development program for professionals with disabilities—and announced the initial cohort of 25 individuals.  

Launching this week, the Early Career Talent Accelerator will give participants the opportunity to develop the skills needed for several aspects of holistic career development. With curriculum designed to be culturally competent, Disability:IN created the program to be inclusive of the unique experiences of professionals with disabilities. The program also considers participants’ career stages and relevant needs as individual contributors or first-time supervisors. The entire cohort self-identifies as a person with a disability, and more than half of the cohort identifies as either a person of color or a member of the LGBTQ+ community.  

“The Early Career Talent Accelerator was created in response to interest from our partner network to address the gap in corporate career development programs for people with disabilities,” said Jill Houghton, president and CEO, Disability:IN. “We’re providing training on skills that all professionals need regardless of identity, and we’re doing it through a disability lens. We want our participants to confidently own their story and position their disability as a meaningful aspect of their professional identity.” 

The Early Career Talent Accelerator offers employers an opportunity to retain and engage valued employees as well as signal their commitment to disability inclusion. In the 2023 Disability Equality Index®, a median disability self-identification rate of 4.6% was reported from among the subset of 485 participating companies that provided such data. Furthermore, only 5% of these companies said they offer employee retention and advancement programs that solely focus on employees with disabilities. 

The program follows Disability:IN’s NextGen Leader Initiatives, which provide professional mentoring and career readiness resources for college students and recent graduates with disabilities. The 12-week Early Career Talent Accelerator combines self-paced content with virtual instruction and will culminate with an in-person capstone learning session and graduation at the 2024 Disability:IN Global Conference & Expo on July 15-18 in Las Vegas.  

The inaugural cohort was selected after a competitive, nomination-based process that evaluated candidates on their career accomplishments to date and projectable potential to benefit from the program. Disability:IN engaged subject matter experts within its network to create the curriculum, and each week’s session will be led by a professional with a disability. U.S. salaried employees of a Disability:IN corporate partner company are eligible for the program.

Sena Pottackal, an associate of client experience, DEI, and corporate communications at Current Global, is an Early Career Talent Accelerator participant and NextGen Leaders alum. “I’m seeking guidance on embracing my new identity as a neurodivergent person with a mental health disability, and I look forward to meeting others with shared experiences and empowering each other to grow,” Pottackal said. “Together, we can learn how to leverage the power of our stories to champion disability inclusion in the workplace.” 

Read the Full Early Career Talent Accelerator Press Release

2024 Early Career Talent Accelerator Cohort

Chiril Calin headshot

Chiril Calin

Olivia Christmann headshot

Olivia Christmann
Pegasystems Inc.

Tolliver Davis headshot

Tolliver Davis
Walmart Inc.

Brittany Emery headshot

Brittany Emery
UnitedHealth Group

Alyse Erickson headshot

Alyse Erickson
NextGen Coordinator

Jon Fancher headshot

Jon Fancher
Ernst & Young

Katie Frayer headshot

Katie Frayer
Whirlpool Corporation

Colleen Giblin headshot

Colleen Giblin

Alex Gill headshot

Alex Gill

Agatha Ibe headshot

Agatha Ibe
Micron Technology

Amanda Kauffman headshot

Amanda Kauffman

Lucas Kilcoin-McPherren headshot

Lucas Kilcoin-McPherren
Blue Origin

Alexander Lieberman headshot

Alexander Lieberman
Wells Fargo

Shannon Maher headshot

Shannon Maher
Manager, NextGen Initiatives

Corinne Marlow headshot

Corinne Marlow

Angela Martin headshot

Angela Martin

Brittany Notaroberta headshot

Brittany Notaroberta
Neiman Marcus Group

Victoria O'Rear headshot

Victoria O’Rear
Northrop Grumman Corporation

Andrea Pitts headshot

Andrea Pitts

Sena Pottackal headshot

Sena Pottackal
Current Global

Robert Slater headshot

Robert Slater

Kaitlin Strathdee headshot

Kaitlin Strathdee

McCall Teicher headshot

McCall Teicher
Charles Schwab

Harrison Tu headshot

Harrison Tu
US Bank

Benjamin Wu headshot

Benjamin Wu