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Challenge and Yang-Tan Hold Free Disability Employment Summit at Cornell 10/15

By Challenge Workforce Solutions Staff

Are you a local employer struggling to recruit and retain dependable workers, or an educator wondering what the job market holds for students with disabilities or other kinds of barriers?

Challenge Workforce Solutions is teaming up with Cornell’s Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability to organize The Right Talent, Right Now—a free disability employment summit for employers and educators in the Ithaca area and beyond.

It will be held on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 from 8:45 AM to 12:00 PM at Clark Hall, Room 700, on Cornell’s central campus. A complimentary breakfast buffet will be offered starting at 8:00 AM. Participants can register online at and can select from general registration (no charge) or registration plus sponsorship ($250), which comes with special print and online recognition as well as an invitation to a catered luncheon with featured speakers and other VIP guests.

The U.S. Department of Labor has hosted National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) every October since 1945 as a way to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year, the theme is The Right Talent, Right Now, reflecting the fact that in the current labor market—when so many employers are scrambling to fill positions of all types and levels, from housekeeping to manufacturing and food service to construction—bringing new, under-recognized talent into the workforce is not just a charitable act but a business imperative.

This theme will be explored in depth at Challenge’s inaugural NDEAM summit, which will bring together prominent researchers, activists, filmmakers, and performing artists from around the community and nation, each with a distinctive and informed perspective on this timely topic.

Featured presenters include:

  • Brad Bailey, Oscar-winning Director of the Documentary Short Hale

  • Dr. Kelly Clark, Education & Transition Program Director at the Yang-Tan Institute

  • Rik Daniels & Nicole Agaronnik, Wheelchair Ballroom Dancers

  • Bryan Roberts, Associate Dean of Ithaca College’s Park School of Communications and Advocate for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

  • John Robinson, CEO of Our Ability and author of Get Off Your Knees

Thomas Golden, the Executive Director of the Yang-Tan Institute, will deliver the welcome message. To wrap the morning up, all presenters will participate in an audience talkback and panel discussion moderated by Dr. Susanne Bruyère, the Institute's Director.

A special note about the event poster: This graphic features an original painting by Adam Delli-Bovi, an Ithaca artist with Down Syndrome. Already well-known in the community through his work at GreenStar, Challenge, and many other local organizations, Adam began his art career at the age of 30. He has since exhibited widely and produced artwork for book jackets, greeting cards, and logos. His punchy, passionate interpretation of a rushing waterfall is both a celebration of our local environment and a demonstration of thriving with disability.

For more information about the event, including accessibility details, please contact Kimberly Pugliese, Challenge’s Director of Development, at or 607-272-8990 ext. 177.


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