Making the Business Case for Hiring People with Disabilities

Monday, July 23
9:15 AM - 10:45 AM
Location: Grand Ballroom ABC

Your chapter of The Arc wants to find jobs for people with autism and other developmental disabilities. Businesses need talented employees who can get the job done and will stay for a while. So why are so many people with disabilities unemployed? During this plenary session you will learn from senior leaders of SAP, a Fortune 500 company, how to make the business case for hiring people with disabilities. Increased business innovation, improved employee productivity and performance, earned media exposure and brand burnishing, greater employee engagement, reduced turnover costs – all are impacts that result from hiring people with disabilities and all contribute to a better bottom line. So how’s that for a good business decision!

Jose Velasco

Jose H. Velasco is Vice-President of Operations and Strategy and is a Global Co-Lead for the Autism at Work program at SAP. Mr. Velasco’s 29-year IT/Software career spans public and private sectors in companies ranging from startups to Fortune 50 enterprises. During his tenure of almost 20 years at SAP, Mr. Velasco has occupied positions in product management, consulting, development, strategy, go-to-market and diversity functions.

In 2016, Mr. Velasco launched the first Autism at Work Summit, a conference series designed to foster collaboration between private and public sectors, academia, government, schools, philanthropists, civil societies and the autism community with the ultimate purpose of improving opportunities for individuals with autism in the labor market.

Jose participated as a panelist at the United Nations World Autism Awareness Day, testified before the United States Congress on the “Global Challenge of Autism” and collaborated on the topic of Corporate Social Innovation at the World Economic Forum. He has presented the topic of autism in the workplace at more than 20 conferences and seminars and has worked with and shared his experiences with graduate students at Duke and Cornell University. Jose was the recipient of the 2015 Employer of the Year Awards by the Department of Rehabilitation of the State of California, The Brighter Futures Occupational Wellness Award by the Philadelphia DBHDS, SpArc Philadelphia Employer Award and on behalf of SAP, the 2015 Arc Catalyst Employer of the Year award and the 2016 Ruderman Family Foundation Best in Business Awards. Through his work at SAP Autism at Work, Jose has been featured with the SAP Autism at Work Team in numerous global, national and local publications including the Wall Street Journal, CBS This Morning, NBC, Fox, Inc. Magazine and Forbes among others.

Jose is a board member of The Arc, the largest national community-based organization in the United States advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. He holds a Masters Degree in Technology Commercialization from the University of Texas at Austin and B.S. in Computer Science from Tecnologico de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico.

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