October 19th marks Disability Mentoring Day (DMD). Coordinated by the American Association of People with Disabilities, this annually recognized day is designed to promote career development for students and job-seekers with disabilities through hands-on career exploration and ongoing mentoring relationships.
At Nielsen, we’re proud of our ongoing commitment to professional development for associates with disabilities and associates who are caregivers.
Through the ADEPT (Abled and Disabled Employees Partnering Together) employee resource group and our partnership with the United States Business Leadership Network (USBLN), Nielsen has been participating in Career Link, a mentoring program for high-potential students with disabilities since 2014.
Our Career Link mentors are experienced corporate employees who are matched with students based on personality and career interest. Once matched, mentors and mentees meet regularly—in-person if located in the same city, via phone or video conference if not—to discuss all aspects of the mentee’s career and goals, including resume review, interview tips and cover letter critiques. However, perhaps most important is the advice mentors give on how mentees should think and talk about their disability in the workplace. Often, mentees need help developing the confidence to talk frankly and openly about their disabilities with co-workers, supervisors and interviewers. Mentors can help guide their mentee through the process of crafting their personal narrative, helping them feel secure in their abilities to ensure their personality comes across in an interview or any other professional setting.
“Career Link has been invaluable, as much for our Nielsen associates who have had the privilege to serve as mentors as it has been for the mentees themselves,” said Megan Belden, Manager, Client Service and ADEPT ERG Lead. “ADEPT, along with Nielsen, is committed to creating an inclusive environment for associates with disabilities and for those associates who have loved ones with disabilities. Part of our efforts to foster an environment of inclusion include participating in events like Disability Mentoring Day. Events like these help give our associates first-hand experience with the challenges faced by fellow associates with disabilities, and it shows our mentees that Nielsen is a place where inclusion is embedded in our DNA.”
The unemployment rate of people with disabilities is more than double the rate of those without disabilities, and the labor participation rate (the percentage of people in a given population who are employed or unemployed) of people with disabilities is only 19.8%, compared to 68.8% for the total U.S. population. As a result, job-seekers with disabilities can face challenges when looking for employment. Through the Career Link program, mentees gain access to the experience and expertise of their mentor, which can make these challenges easier to overcome.
Disability inclusion is a key tenet of Nielsen’s overall Diversity & Inclusion strategy. The ADEPT ERG is central to fostering this inclusion, helping ensure that associates with disabilities have equal visibility, access and opportunity within Nielsen. These efforts were recently recognized, with Nielsen being named a top company for disability inclusion on the Disability Equality Index, a joint effort by the American Association of People with Disabilities and USBLN. The index gives companies a score from 0 to 100 based on their disability inclusion policies and practices. Nielsen proudly achieved a score of 90.
“Disability Mentoring Day, and by extension the Career Link program, has been the perfect platform to execute our commitment to disability inclusion,” said Nielsen’s Chief Diversity Officer Angela Talton. “I could not be more proud of the efforts of our ADEPT ERG, as they continue to promote the Nielsen Experience, where employees with disabilities are encouraged to Be Yourself, Make a Difference, and Grow With Us.”