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Hitting the Road

Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disabilitiy Policy, talks about his recent trip to Chicago, where he met with officials in the Labor department and professionals in the healthcare industry to talk about how hiring practices in the healthcare field affect people with disabilities.

It’s always refreshing to hear from ordinary Americans across the country and outside the Washington bubble. After all, the real action and real change is happening every day in local communities. So, last week I hit the road and returned to my hometown of Chicago for a number of different events and meetings. Yes, I was back at home and it’s always good to be home, but the mission for the week was work and to hear from you. So, over the next few blogs, I’ll tell you about my adventures in Chicago.

My visit kicked off on Tuesday, May 17, where I joined U.S. Department of Labor Secretary, Hilda L. Solis and U.S. Department of Labor Assistant Secretary Kathleen Martinez in Chicago to discuss the hiring and retention of people with disabilities in the healthcare sector. The Career Trends, Best Practices & Call-To-Action Summit brought together people from all sides of the healthcare system, from hospital administrators to human resource managers to medical school deans. The goal was to raise awareness about how the valuable contributions of people with disabilities have often been overlooked in healthcare hiring.

Not only did we discuss the best practices for training, hiring and retaining medical professionals with disabilities, we heard from a number of successful healthcare providers with disabilities who not only navigate the demands of the healthcare industry, but work tirelessly to improve it. We heard from blind physicians, nurses with disabilities and many other health care professionals with disabilities, once again proving that there are no limits for people with disabilities.

There are millions of Americans with disabilities with millions of different passions and talents and it is our hope that following this summit, more people with disabilities will be able to pursue and fulfill their dreams of careers in health care. Stay tuned for the next installment of my trip to Chicago.