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Wine Industry Scholarship Program Provides Opportunities for First-Generation Students

The Johnson Scholarship Foundation and Sonoma State University (SSU) are partnering to support an innovative scholarship program focused on first-generation, low-income students whose families are connected to the wine industry. SSU is located in the heart of California’s premier wine region and serves approximately 9,300 students annually. Approximately 30 percent of SSU students are first-generation, low-income, or from underserved populations. Given the location of our campus, many of these students have family members employed by wineries.

Large group of students in front of the Wine Spectator Learning Center at Sonoma State University
Students in the Summer Bridge orientation program pose for a photo in front of the Wine Spectator Learning Center at Sonoma State University. SSU hosts Summer Bridge for first-generation low-income students in the summer prior to their first year on campus.

Given the wine industry’s interest in supporting the children of employees— as well as educating the future workforce —SSU’s Wine Business Institute started the Wine Industry Scholarship Program (WISP) in 2016. WISP is designed to attract financial support for first-generation, low-income students who have family ties to the wine industry. WISP scholarship recipients do not need to be pursing wine business as a major: they simply need to have a family member who is employed in the wine industry, for example a vineyard worker or cellar staff member.

The Wine Industry Scholarship Program has expanded to attract financial support for SSU’s academic and career services for first-generation, low-income students. The additional advisors and programs created by WISP now serve nearly 2,000 students each year, in addition to the students who receive WISP scholarships.

WISP began as a program offering students $2,500 scholarships that are renewable for up to four years ($10,000 total). Thanks to the generosity of SSU’s winery partners, SSU quickly secured commitments from some of the industry’s largest names, including Korbel, Rodney Strong, and Wine.com. SSU’s first cohort of WISP scholars in 2017 featured 15 students, with 27 WISP scholarships awarded in 2018 and an additional 27 in 2019. To date, SSU has awarded WISP scholarships to 69 students for a total of nearly $700,000 in scholarship support in just three years!

Sonoma State University Logo

The guidance and financial support of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation (JSF) has inspired SSU to grow its ambitions for how the campus can assist first-generation, low-income students. SSU is currently laying the groundwork for a much larger fundraising effort that will create a WISP scholarship endowment and bring in significant additional funds to enhance our overall support for the students who need it most.

SSU is grateful to the Johnson Scholarship Foundation for its commitment to provide 10 WISP scholarship matching gifts in 2020 and 2021. JSF is also providing a match commitment for WISP endowment gifts in subsequent years. SSU anticipates another remarkable program transformation as a result of this new fundraising effort, on the scale of the one that has taken place in the last two years. SSU looks forward to securing scholarship funds and program support that will benefit SSU students for generations to come.

Khou Yang-Vigil is the Educational Opportunity Program Coordinator and Professional Academic Advisor at Sonoma State University.

Science Confirms It: Best Practice Instruction Can Rewire the Brain’s Ability to Learn

Recently a grandfather of a student who attended Groves Academy for six years sent a note thanking the school for its supportive classroom instruction that he felt greatly contributed to his grandson’s successful transition to a public school. He mentioned in his note that Groves’ teaching process seemed to re-wire a part of his grandson’s brain, positively impacting his ability to learn, understand and enjoy classroom instruction.

Two girls with markers working at a table

Science confirms what this grandfather observed. With evidence-based, best practice instruction the brain’s neural pathways can be re-wired to influence a person’s ability to learn. This is called brain plasticity. Research also strongly supports the positive influence of brain plasticity on those with a learning disability or attention issues. Groves Academy meets its mission of providing transformative learning experiences to children with dyslexia, ADHD or other executive functioning challenges through its consistent use of evidence-based research, including what we know of the brain’s plasticity.

We recognize that children with learning disabilities are equipped and capable of reaching their full potential both in and out of the classroom. We extend this belief beyond our school through our Learning Center which provides diagnostic services to Groves’ students and to children throughout the Twin Cities community.

Teacher and four students working at a desk

In 2016, Groves launched a new initiative to bring our proven literacy instruction to K-3 classrooms across the Twin Cities Metro area. With the success of training and coaching an increasing numbers of teachers to deliver evidence-based literacy instruction came the realization that the academic needs of children with a learning disability were not being met. This is a reality that Groves cannot walk away from, but we also know that creating a solution will take commitment and collaboration from both us and our partner schools.

As a start, we now provide our diagnostic services to the low-income children identified by our partner schools as needing additional support. We are grateful to the Johnson Scholarship Foundation for supporting this much needed service. Groves holds as its vision to redefine the way our nation is taught, one student, one teacher and one school at a time. It is a vision that acts as our compass as we work towards bringing true equity to the education of children with learning disabilities. Equity that brings the best of what research is telling us and applies it individually to each child so that they recognize their strengths in being successful in the classroom and beyond.

Lynn Giovannelli is Director of Advancement at Groves Academy, a 501c3 educational institution. Its school is focused on building confidence, success and purpose for over 280 students with learning disabilities. The Learning Center extends Groves’ mission to children and families who do not attend the school by offering diagnostic testing, tutoring, speech services and summer programming. The Institute for Professional Learning shares Groves’ evidence-based literacy instruction with elementary schools in the community to help close the literacy achievement gap.

College Tours Give Students a Taste of the Higher Education Experience

Recently, the Johnson Scholars Program of the School District of Palm Beach County in collaboration with Take Stock in Children of Palm Beach County (jointly known as the JSTSIC Program) facilitated college tours to three colleges. Students were able to choose one of two trips: A local tour and research presentation at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton or a trip to Orlando that included both Valencia College-East Campus and University of Central Florida.

Group of 6 students in front of I love FAU sign

College tours are one of several components of the JSTSIC program that serves more than 400 students throughout Palm Beach County each year. Students in the program are mentored from 9th grade through high school graduation by a community mentor. Each has access to college coaches throughout high school as well, and each receives a two-year Florida Prepaid scholarship.

The college tours help our students have tangible contact with the college experience, increasing their motivation toward achieving post-secondary success. On the recent tours, each school showcased programs and support services specific to each institution, and our students were able to see college life as they moved throughout the campuses.

Young man working at a computer

Florida Atlantic University showcased an engaging research initiative in which students learned how to research from their freshman year. They learned how to research areas of interest in which they would like to invest. They were able to see the campus during Homecoming as the campus was preparing for the night’s homecoming game.

University of Central Florida, also in the middle of their homecoming week, allowed our students to see college students participate in their annual “fountain run, known as Spirit Splash where students run into the Reflecting Pond and collect rubber duckies. Besides the fun they got an informative look at the overall campus, which included support systems and programs offered by UCF.

Large group of students holding Valencia College banners

Valencia College showcased a few unique programs offered to its students. Officials explained to our students that graduates of Valencia are automatically accepted into UCF. The two schools’ programs are linked, which helps students to transfer smoothly from state college into the university system. Valencia showcased its Fire and Rescue Department and Agricultural Science Department, and students saw a presentation in Graphic Interactive Design.

Gbolade George was educated in the School District of Palm Beach County, Florida, and he has worked in the district for 21 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in behavioral disorders in education from the University of South Florida. He is in his third year as resource teacher and mentor facilitator for the Johnson Scholars Program.

American Indian Business Leaders Blaze a Trail to the Future with New Advisory Board

There’s an adage about having a direction that says, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

A couple years ago, the American Indian Business Leaders, with the assistance of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation, spent some time examining where we wanted to go – and how to get there.

The American Indian Business Leaders was founded in 1994 with the mission of empowering Indigenous business students in the United States to foster economic improvement in Native American communities. We’ve grown from one chapter at the University of Montana at Missoula to 120 chapters at universities, tribal colleges, and high schools with more than 250 tribal nations represented. With 2019 marking our 25th anniversary, it was an appropriate time to evaluate where the next 25 years would take us.

Young man wearing Indigenous Entrepreneur shirt

Through about a year of analysis and planning with input from respected leaders throughout Indian Country, AIBL learned what programs were most successful, and also, which ones needed improvement. Specifically, we realized that we could only guess at how to prepare our students to participate in corporate America because we didn’t know what attributes corporate America needed.

We’re excited that in the future, AIBL will get those answers straight from the executives themselves. AIBL is building a new advisory board with representatives from many of America’s best known corporations. We expect to hold the first meeting in the first quarter of 2020.

We anticipate having 8-10 members on the advisory board, and I’m happy to share that it will include Sam McCracken, general manager for Nike N7, Nike’s product line that supports the N7 Fund to provide sport and physical activity programming to kids in Native American and Aboriginal communities. Longtime AIBL supporter Trina Finley Ponce, the diversity and inclusion program manager at HP, also has agreed to join the board along with Micah Highwalking, senior operations manager at Dr. Pepper.

Two men on stage in front of American Indigenous Business Leaders logo

In addition to advising us on corporate culture, the advisory board will help us cultivate relationships with corporate America that can benefit our students in numerous ways. We’ll be using them as a sounding board to learn what kinds of skills we should be helping our students develop. That feedback is important as we prepare our students to work in corporate America. We also know it’s important to hear from people in a diverse range of businesses as each business and industry has its own corporate culture.

We also anticipate that the advisory board will act as a bridge to greater diversity for corporations wanting to be inclusive of Native Americans and our culture.

We at AIBL are proud of our first 25 years supporting Indigenous business students. We look forward to a future with even greater opportunities.

Prairie Bighorn Blount is the executive director of American Indian Business Leaders (AIBL). She grew up on the Northern Cheyenne reservation in eastern Montana and is an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Sioux Tribe. Before joining the AIBL organization, she worked in Washington, D.C., providing contract management services to help support economic development within American Indian communities.

Career Development Program Helps Students ‘Do More, Be More, Achieve More’

At The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) our vision is to provide students the opportunities to Do More, Be More, and Achieve More as they prepare for a lifetime of success. Career Development and Career and Technical Programs (CTE) enable our students with deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired to compete in the world of work. FSDB offers students comprehensive programming to prepare them for college and careers. Students can explore potential careers and obtain skills within those career paths such as Construction Technologies, Culinary Arts, Digital Media, Horticulture Science and Services, Promotional Enterprises, and other exploratory courses. In addition, students can participate in post- secondary CTE programs at local colleges.

Instructor and student working on a t-shirt design

However, even with these courses available, students who are deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired still have obstacles to overcome before entering the workforce. At FSDB, we are grateful to have the Johnson Scholarship Foundation that graciously supports the work we do to give our students the readiness career skills they need to be successful and contributing citizens. Our CTE programs prepare students to learn technical skills and earn industry certifications by utilizing rigorous curriculum rooted in critical instruction, professionalism, and employable skills.

As our motto at FSDB states, students…

“Do More.” By guiding them through the process of advocating for themselves and taking initiative, students who are deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired are taught to embrace their passions and abilities. This is supported by our Job Coaches who give our students the personal guidance specific to the tasks they perform on the job. Our community partners and employers can count on the Job Coaches to assist the students to learn the hands on tasks while continuously providing guidance and feedback to students on how they can improve their work and effectiveness in the workplace. This enables students to become valuable employees for life.

Instructor and two students working in a garden nursery

“Be More.” In the Career Development office, students can apply for on campus work through our After School Work Program. Students have over 40 available paid positions on campus. They are guided through the job search, application and interview process — just like in the real world. Students look for job postings through various communications on campus, obtain an application, complete it, and wait for the email for an interview. By going through the interview and receiving feedback this entire process improves their job searching skills.

“Achieve More.” Students are asked to go above and beyond when preparing for the work placement programs at FSDB. Students have opportunities to work on and off campus to gain hands-on real world experience and put the skills they have obtained to the test. These experiences enable our students to further develop knowledge and skills to select career options, access community resources, and apply work-related behaviors through guided practice in school and community work settings. Some students are able to obtain community work placement as paid employment.

Instructor and two students working in a wood shop

Entering the job market can be a stressful time for anyone. Often, deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired have more to overcome than the average person with the same skill set. Our students enter the workforce with career skills, preparation and practice — all of which build confidence and resilience. This prepares them to overcome the obstacles placed before them. As this is National Disability Employment Awareness month, FSDB is grateful to have business partners that understand our students’ abilities and potential. We ask them to share their employee success stories with other employers to spread the awareness. We desire for our students to have positive employment opportunities in the community through the FSDB K-12 work placement program. This is just one way in which employers will be able to perceive all people as potential employees. Through personal experiences, they recognize there is a greater population of skilled and ready-to-work individuals with the ability to become successful employees.

Leonora Hughes is Executive Director of Career Development for the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. She works in the Career Development office overseeing Career and Technical Programs as well as instruction, workforce training, campus and community internships, paid employment for students and developing industry partnerships with community stakeholders.

When Discussing Diversity and Inclusion, Include People with Disabilities

This item originally appeared on the website of Minnesota Diversified Industries.

Minnesota has come a long way when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We’ve learned that our differences are assets, and diversity of thought, experience and identity translates into meaningful work, success and growth, no matter the industry. Companies and their leaders have made commitments to diversity and inclusion, setting goals and benchmarks for success – but most of those commitments are missing a huge piece of the puzzle.

People with disabilities represent an untapped workforce that is continually left out of the diversity and inclusion conversation in the business community, and it shows. While Minnesota faces a deepening workforce shortage, individuals with disabilities are 2.6 times more likely to be unemployed than the general population among people ages 18-64, according to a 2017 report from the Minnesota State Demographic Center.

MDI employees work in a sterile room to package items such as medical supplies.
MDI employees work in a sterile room to package items such as medical supplies.

At MDI, we operate on a social-enterprise model, successfully hiring and training people with disabilities who make up nearly 45 percent of our 450 employees. Our operations in plastics manufacturing and assembly services are second to none, providing high-quality and efficient services to everyone from food distributors to medical device companies to the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, UPS and Amazon. People with disabilities bring unique skills and talents to the table that make our organization great, and it doesn’t take much to create an inclusive environment for them. Support, limited accommodations and focusing on their abilities – instead of disabilities – are the key ingredients to creating an inclusive and productive culture for people with disabilities.

Businesses cannot be truly diverse if people with disabilities are continuingly ignored on leadership agendas and in diversity, equity and inclusion statements. In honor of October’s National Disability Employment Awareness month, we are calling on all of Minnesota’s incredible organizations, both large and small, to reexamine or rewrite their diversity and inclusion statements to intentionally include people with disabilities.

We know that our differences make us stronger – but it takes inclusion to make them matter. Unified work brings us one step closer to realizing it.

Peter McDermott is president and CEO of Minnesota Diversified Industries, Inc., a not for profit social enterprise serving people with disabilities by offering inclusive employment opportunities and services.

Bus Tickets, Pathways to Education, and Potential Greatness

Growing up, I had always had a bit of trouble when it came to academics, especially math. I couldn’t easily understand numbers as much as I wanted to. As the courses advanced, I found myself more and more confused than I had been the year before. In 2013, when I was starting Grade 9, I came across an opportunity to join a program called Pathways to Education. The flyer detailed all the resources the program provided to its participants, and it was all without cost.

To anyone reading this flyer, I’m sure the opportunity would sound too good to be true. I was not excited. I was offended that I was being offered tutoring. Unrightfully so, I had a negative outlook about tutoring, even though no one placed these notions in my mind. I don’t know where the mindset came from, but because of it, I did not register for a program that would have helped my Grade 9 year flow a lot smoother. This was a decision that I regret to this day.

For me, the bus tickets weren’t the only beneficial aspect . What had me coming back to the program every day was the incredible support at Pathways. The staff genuinely wanted to see the students succeed. Their help was never-ending, and it really made me feel welcomed very quickly. When at tutoring, they were quick to set me up with a volunteer who walked me through my math unit. They taught me the subject in such a clear way that I finally had that “eureka!” moment I long desired. The staff and volunteers helped me succeed through high school more than I ever imagined.

Since beginning the program, I have talked to the staff there as if they were friends. I would seek out advice from them, which helped my decision-making skills in the long run. I made connections with the trusted staff that I never thought I could make. They made me feel as if I had a voice– a voice worth listening to.

Youth tend to feel unimportant and parented by those in authority, so having mentors that understood and listened was worth a thousand words. Now I have connections that will last a life time, as well as loving friends who were also in the program. I give some of the credit of my successes to the Pathways program because without it, I never would have realized that I have potential for greatness.

Sidra is a recent graduate of Pathways to Education Canada, an organization that provides youth from low-income communities with the resources they need to graduate from high school and break the cycle of poverty.

Start Planning for College the Day You Start High School

Going through the college admissions process is as much an opportunity to learn about yourself as it is a journey to define and pursue your future college and career goals. Path to College aims to demystify this competitive and sometimes overwhelming process by providing in-depth and comprehensive expert advice to students across our county regardless of economic background. As a partner of Achieve Palm Beach County along with the Johnson Scholarship Foundation, we are committed to increasing the rate of students preparing for, enrolling in, and persisting through degree credentialing programs. With that shared mission in mind, we are happy to share a few quick tips to help you manage your career and college search.

9th Grade — Take a Career Aptitude test through a free account at My Career Shines. Next, explore the suggested careers through volunteer and enrichment opportunities. Consider how you can plan your course load to prepare for this career path. Look for academically rigorous courses. Challenging electives like journalism, debate, or high-tech computer classes are a great way to round out your transcript. Talk often and excitedly about your goals or ideas for your future. Look for opportunities and feedback. Expert tip: The Admissions committee loves to see more than two years of a foreign language on your transcript. Science courses are the number one reason students do not graduate on time. Make sure to get your required science classes completed as soon as possible. Do not put them off and plan on taking two at once!

10th Grade — Seek advanced coursework and volunteer opportunities that match your career interests. Take your PERT test and try to dual enroll over your summer break. Otherwise, try to find a job, internship, or volunteer opportunity that will help you gain skills for the workforce.

11th Grade — Complete a virtual tour or on-campus tour. Research the colleges you are interested in at College Navigator. Study for your SAT or ACT regularly, aiming to put in at least one to two hours a week. There are free online preparation resources through Khan Academy or ACT Academy Aim to revise your personal statement (College application essay) three to five times over summer. Get a second reader, and make sure to follow the instructors.

12th Grade — Choose three teachers to ask for a recommendation letter. Give them between two to four weeks to prepare. Ask them, “Can you write me a STRONG recommendation letter?” In October, fill out your FAFSA. Apply to your dream school during early admission in November. Set a goal to apply to one college every other week and stick to it. Use the Common App to help manage the process. Apply to scholarships between October and March and shoot for one a week. Use your personal statement as a starting template and rework for each scholarship you apply for.

Additional resources for students and parents are available on the Achieve Palm Beach County website at achievepbc.org/resources.

Christine Sylvain is the Founder and Executive Director of the Path to College Fellowship, whose mission is to secure the acceptance of as many high-achieving, low-income students into top-tier universities as possible.

Internships: Just do it!

The number of college students pursuing internships is on the rise, but more often than not, students hesitate to seek them. Palm Beach Atlantic University Director of Career Services Dr. Kimberly Ladd says that students often question their job readiness. They ask her if they know enough or have the right skills to do an internship. Her response? “You just have to do it!” 

Dr Kimberly Ladd
Dr. Kimberly Ladd

Why is Ladd so high on internships? According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 93 percent of employers are more likely to hire students who have completed internships and 67 percent of internships turn into full-time job offers. However, only 15 percent of students actually pursue them.

PBA Rinker School of Business Dean Dr. Leslie Turner (left) and senior Eva Bracciale
PBA Rinker School of Business Dean Dr. Leslie Turner (left) and senior Eva Bracciale

PBA senior Eva Bracciale has completed three internships, one at a video marketing agency, one in franchise marketing and one in franchise finance and accounting. Reflecting on these internships, she said, “All three of my internships gave me a perspective of myself and my ideal work environment based on experience, rather than assumption and expectation. To me, that is invaluable.”

This is what Ladd says is most important about internships. They give students the opportunity to visualize themselves in specific work environments and decide if their career interests are in alignment.

David L. Williams, II
David L. Williams, II

David L. Williams, II, a 2016 graduate of PBA, completed two internships, one as a writer for an online magazine and the other as an assistant to the CEO of an events agency. He says that while his internships helped him realize that he didn’t want to be an editorial journalist or an event planner, he doesn’t regret doing them because they “bolstered my resume, giving me a competitive edge right out of college.” He landed his current job in public relations and marketing at a premier golf and country club community shortly after graduation.

Kyle Anderson
Kyle Anderson

During his time at PBA, Kyle Anderson ’18 carried out two internships. The first was as a financial accounting intern in PBA’s Student Accounts Office and the second was as a marketing intern at a travel agency in Santiago, Chile. He found his experience in both roles very helpful to his current position as a marketing assistant in a nutrition-based company. He said almost daily he uses the data management skills he learned from his first internship and the international experience he gained from the second one. In addition, he said, “my internships taught me to be extremely flexible, which is a skill that I can apply anywhere.”

Ladd advises every student to begin thinking about internships as soon as they enter college. In career counseling sessions, she says, “the minute you feel that you are ready to pursue an internship, do it that minute. If that’s today, then start today.”

Note: While at PBA, Bracciale, Williams and Anderson received scholarships through the Johnson Scholarship Foundation.

Vicki Pugh has more than 30 years of experience advancing the non-profit sector through, executive management, fundraising, marketing, public relations and volunteerism. As Vice President for Development at Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA), she leads a multi-million dollar fundraising effort and oversees university relations and marketing.

Looking Closer: Raising Expectations of People with Disabilities Helps Us All Move Forward

This item originally appeared on the Campaign for Disability Employment’s blog.

It is not unusual for waiters and waitresses to look only briefly at my son Jacob before turning to ask me what he would like to eat. With a shrug, I almost always say the same thing: Ask him.

Jacob, 26, has apparent physical and cognitive disabilities. His arms sometimes hang awkwardly, and his eyes can wander. His speech isn’t always fluid. To many, it is the appearance of someone lacking agency—someone who needs help. It’s an appearance that belies a keen sense of observation, strong personal desires and a quick wit. Jacob knows what he wants. Ask, and he’ll tell you.

When meeting him, even people who interact regularly with people with disabilities tend to speak at enhanced volumes and reduced speeds. When this happens, Jacob will ask them why, and, ironically, check that they are okay (his emotional intelligence and sense of humor have always outpaced those of others his age). These exchanges are mostly innocuous and even funny, if not a bit awkward for the would-be do-gooders. But they reveal a worrisome truth about our society.

The term “stigma” is often used in the context of discrimination. And although stigma is certainly problematic, it is not always actively pernicious. Those waiters are not avoiding Jacob to be insulting. They are trying to spare him embarrassment — and perhaps themselves some discomfort. But in doing so, they rob him of his voice and his volition. For whom is that good?

Society has certain expectations of people: expectations of education, of employment, of contributions to the common good. But, for totally outdated and cynical reasons, those expectations do not typically extend to those with disabilities, especially when it comes to work. Rather, it’s seen as a miracle that they get out of bed in the morning.

Smart people — and smart businesses — do not subscribe to this tyranny of low expectations, however. Rather, they know that including people from all walks of life, with different perspectives and experiences, is the key to success. People with disabilities are above all problem solvers; in the workplace, this translates into innovative thinking. It’s no coincidence that businesses that excel at disability inclusion — for instance, those recognized as National Organization on Disability (NOD) Leading Disability Employers™ — are among the nation’s, and in fact world’s, most successful organizations.

National Organization on Disability logo

As president of NOD, I have the privilege of working with these companies, as well as those at different points in their disability inclusion journeys. Those more towards the beginning often have the same question: What kinds of jobs can people with disabilities do?

There are more than 50 million Americans with disabilities in the United States today, constituting a remarkably diverse group that includes people with Autism, asthma and arthritis, as well as cancer, depression, dyslexia and myriad other conditions. They are black and white, young and old; they live in Brooklyn, San Francisco and Iowa City. No two people have the same talents or interests — regardless of disability status. So, what kind of jobs can people with disabilities do? Any jobs that people can do.

The frequency with which this question is asked was a significant driver for NOD in launching the Look Closer campaign, as well as joining the Campaign for Disability Employment. Through these initiatives, we are working to recast Americans with disabilities as a capable, untapped workforce, with new terminology and new archetypes. The key is sharing their stories. Some of the individuals featured in our Look Closer campaign are low-skilled, hourly workers. Others are senior managers and C-level leaders. In almost every case, the individual’s disability played either no role in their career whatsoever or created competitive advantages. It turns out, disability has very little to do with ability.

So, have people with disabilities failed to exceed the low bar set for them? Or has society failed to set the bar high enough? It’s time for us all to look closer at our beliefs, expectations, and yes, our stereotypes.

Carol Glazer is president of the National Organization on Disability. For more information about the Look Closer campaign and how individuals and employers can get involved, visit nod.org/lookcloser.