Kessler Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to the SHRM Foundation, in Alexandria, Va, the 501c (3) philanthropic arm of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), to develop its Employing Abilities @Work certificate program.

The grant was reportedly the largest single award made by the Foundation’s Center for Grantmaking in 2021.

Since 2005, the Kessler Foundation has awarded more than $50 million to nonprofit programs that expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities striving to work. The grant to SHRM Foundation was Foundation-directed, an award category that prioritizes critical needs identified by the Foundation and its partners.

“We see human resource professionals as critical to the success of jobseekers with disabilities. This certificate program will equip decision makers in the hiring process with the knowledge and skills they need to effectively recruit, onboard, and retain employees with disabilities. This will help employers compete successfully for qualified candidates as the economic recovery evolves and job openings multiply.”

— Elaine E. Katz, MS, CCC SLP, Kessler Foundation Senior Vice President of Grants and Communications

SHRM Foundation will partner with Global Disability Inclusion, which creates disability inclusion solutions and trainings many recognized brands. The certificate will be the educational program for HR professionals actively engaged in recruiting candidates who add to the diversity of their workforces. Employing Abilities @Work will comprise 10 hours of education delivered in an e-learning format. The impact of the new certificate program on HR practices will be evaluated, and participation by the membership will be encouraged and acknowledged by a tailored marketing and communication plan.

“Our goal is to train 2,000 HR professionals in the year following the launch of Employing Abilities @Work, with 95% of participants committing to hiring at least one candidate with disabilities within a year of earning their certificate. We provide continuing education for our global membership of more than 300,000 HR professionals and are well positioned to meet these goals.”

— Wendi Safstrom, President, SHRM Foundation

The certificate program is an important addition to SHRM Foundation’s educational offerings as people with disabilities are often overlooked in hiring initiatives. While many large companies have diversity and inclusion programs, only a small minority of those target disability as a minority group for recruitment.

“Employing Abilities @Work emphasizes that diversifying the workforce depends on equitable and inclusive hiring practices that include jobseekers with disabilities,” Safstrom adds. “With this training, HR professionals will recognize the ability of candidates with disabilities to fulfill the pressing need for workers in many sectors of our pandemic-era economy.”

[Source(s): Kessler Foundation, EurekAlert]