(201) 996-9100 Bergen / (201) 533-4407 Hudson
Register Ready – for individuals who may need assistance in a disaster

Register Ready – for individuals who may need assistance in a disaster

The first step in emergency preparedness for individuals who may need assistance in a disaster.


  •  Assemble a Go Bag with your ID, important papers, medication in labeled containers, and important contact information (cell phones may not work in a disaster). Keep your go bag updated.
  •  Make a Household Plan by going to www.ready.gov for checklists and preparedness guides. Your plan should identify evacuation routes and places to stay.
  • Make Plans for Your Pets before an emergency and ask your local emergency manager about pet sheltering. A service animal with a current rabies vaccination will be permitted in shelters. For more tips, visit:
  •  Register with the Public Alert Systems in your community (e.g. Reverse 911, Swift911, NJ 2-1-1, Nixle) through your county or local Emergency Management Office. Text “ReadyNJ” to 898-211 to get text alerts on how to prepare for emergencies and stay informed during the next disaster.
  • Inform your electric utility provider If you have medical equipment that requires power.
  • Visit ready.nj.gov today to better prepare for local disasters.info@fairhousingnj.org
    Text "ReadyNJ" to 898-211

    Text “ReadyNJ”
    to 898-211

    Stay tuned to local news, radio or television stations for timely disaster information.

    Register Ready is:

    • Free,
    • Voluntary,
    • Secure and confidential,
    • Protective of your privacy,
    • Used by emergency managers to plan for DAFN concerns.

    Register today—
    be ready for tomorrow!

    Update your information at least annually.

    In a life threatening situation, don’t wait for help — call 9-1-1.


    Register Ready is a free, secure, voluntary database designed
    to help emergency managers and first responderrs plan for and support people with disabilities and access and functional needs (DAFN) who may need assistance in the event of a disaster.

    You (or someone on your behalf) are encouraged to register if you have a physical, developmental, cognitive or behavioral impairment, language barrier, or transportation challenge that may make it difficult for you to safely shelter in place or evacuate in a disaster.


    Permanent and seasonal NJ residents with DAFN who may need help evacuating, sheltering in place or at a public shelter, or requiring emergency assistance should register. Individuals with a temporary disability, such as high-risk pregnancy or other serious medical condition, should register.


    • Go to: www.registerready.nj.gov
    • Telephone 2-1-1 (within NJ), or 877-652-1148 toll free (TTY/TDD and translation services available)
    • Contact your County Office of Emergency Management
    • Contact your local Center for Independent Living.
    Contact your local Center for Independent Living
    Contact your County Office of Emergency Management


    Register Ready complies with all laws to protect your privacy and personal data. The emergency management community, which includes public health officials and first responders, has access to Register Ready for planning and coordination.


    Communities use Register Ready in a variety of ways. Emergency managers and trusted personnel may use the information to plan, send public messaging, assist with evacuation, and support sheltering and post-disaster recovery. After registering, contact your local Office of Emergency Management to learn how staff utilizes Register Ready and what you can do to enhance your own preparedness.

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    We need YOU to help create an Inclusive Healthy Community

    We need YOU to help create an Inclusive Healthy Community

    Inclusive Healthy Community

    English and Spanish Flyers

    We need YOU to help create an Inclusive Healthy Community


    Focus Groups are being formed so that the voices of persons with disabilities and those who support them can be heard on the topic of participation in local government activities. Are there barriers to participation in your hometown? How can those barriers be eliminated? What is most important to YOU in your community?


    Persons with disabilities and those who support them.

    Be a part of the change.

    All 1 hour focus groups will meet on ZOOM. Please choose a date and pre-register, the ZOOM link will be sent to you.
    Number of participants is limited

    Monday, March 22 – 11:00am

    Registration closes March 17

    Thursday, March 25 – 11:00am

    (Spanish language) Registration closes March 20

    Saturday, March 27 – 11:00am

    Registration closes March 22

    Wednesday, April 7 – 7:00pm

    Registration closes April 2


    Register at http://NJID.eventbrite.com

    Request for accommodations must be made at time of registration. If you wish to provide written comments, please forward to comments@NJID.org  Information will be gathered until April 30, 2021.


    This project is a collaboration of The College of New Jersey Sustainable Institute; Sustainable Jersey; New Jersey Institute for Disabilities; Progressive Center for Independent Living; DAWN Center for Independent Living and Resources for Independent Living

    This initiative was funded by an Inclusive Healthy Communities Grant from the Division of Disability Services, New Jersey Department of Human Services.

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    Annual Report 2020

    Annual Report 2020


    October 1, 2019 – September 30, 2020

    Empowering People with Disabilities to Achieve Independent Living through Outreach, Advocacy and Education

    Heightened Independence & Progress
    2019-2020 Annual Report

    November 2020


    I’m reminded of our celebrations of 2019 when we had a great Annual Meeting, a wonderful Holiday Party, and the planning committee was excited about our plans for hip’s 40th Anniversary Gala. Suddenly everything changed when the COVID Crisis restricted our activities and made us aware of the dangers of the virus and the importance of following CDC guidelines.

    As you will see in the pages of our Annual Report, hip was able to exercise our contingency plans and the staff quickly adapted to working remotely to serve our consumers without missing a day.

    With the help provided by The CARES Act we were able to expand our programs and offer equipment to enable people to remain in their homes comfortably. We were also able to provide rental and utility assistance, expand people’s access to communications and provide much-needed food assistance to a wide variety of consumers. Perhaps the most important service that we provided was to connect with people who were otherwise isolated through our frequent consumer wellness calls.

    I have been impressed by the team spirit shown by the staff and their willingness to find creative solutions to assist people with disabilities to remain independent. I also want to express my appreciation to my fellow Board members whose commitment to the hip mission has made my role as Chair a worthwhile experience.


    Anna P.Navatta

    Anna P. Navatta


    Board of Trustees 

    Karen Canellos
    Lottie Esteban
    Betty A. Fetzer, Vice Chair
    Richard M. Hodgman, Treasurer
    Roy Lippin
    Anna P. Navatta, Board Chair
    Hyacinthe Nkurunziza
    Anne Marie Prendergast
    Joseph Tomasko, Secretary
    Mary Turner

    Ex officio: Brian Fitzgibbons, President/CEO 

    Hudson County Advisory Board 

     Ivis Alvarez, Chair
    Janet Jones
    Victor Muniz
    Carmen Reyes
    Michael Smith
    Marianne Valls 

    We are pleased to present the accomplishments of our Centers for Independent Living during
    FY 2020. Many of the initiatives have been administered by both the Bergen and Hudson CILs, while others are specific to one individual site. It has been our privilege to meet the independent living needs of the disability community for over four decades.

    “I like the work you do. Everyone is nice and talks to me. You help me with a lot of my things and the other girls help too. I give the office 100 out of 10 stars. Thank you for everything.”
    Hudson Consumer

    “Your agency provided me with a chair lift that enabled me to use my bedroom and bathroom. Maria was marvelous, kind and efficient – I couldn’t believe how fast she got everything done! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
    Bergen Consumer

    hip was there for us in our time of need. They helped my son and I with rental assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic and Alex consistently continues to check in on my son and I asking if we need anything else. We were truly blessed to have Alex assist us and thank you to hip for having such nice and caring workers.”
    Hudson Consumer.

    “I thank you for your quick response and appreciate receiving the help I needed.”
    Bergen Consumer

    “You have helped to increase my ability to function independently. Thank you for all your help and for caring!”
    Bergen Consumer

    “I am so thankful for the hip staff and everything they have done for me. You are always checking if I have enough food during the lockdown and that I have my health insurance. When you saw that I was sleeping on a chair because my bed broke, you gave me an air mattress, sheets and pillows. I am grateful that you all are helping me get a real bed. If I need something, I know that I can call you. Thank you and God bless.”
    Hudson Consumer

    “Thank you for the assistance I received
    as well as the mask and gloves. Help could not have arrived at a better time. God bless all of you at hip.”
    Bergen Consumer

    “My friends at hip are missed and oh how I treasure you all. Thank you for inquiring as to my health and my heart. I miss not having meetings, a gathering of friends and sharing with each other their problems as well as their successes. The hip staff is always going above and beyond and making sure we’re safe. Thank you for that.”
    Bergen Consumer

    “It would take me a lifetime to repay all that hip has done for us. We lost our daughter five years ago to cancer. Jennyfer is always keeping tabs on my husband and I and really cares, just like my late daughter would have. She has gone out of her way to assist us. All I can say is she is a true blessing in our lives.”
    Hudson Consumer

    “I was so grateful for hip during the pandemic. They checked in on me and made sure I had groceries and was safe. Everyone at hip made me feel like I wasn’t alone – they are truly my guardian angels.”
    Bergen Consumer

    “If hip hadn’t helped me with a new air conditioner this summer, I wouldn’t have been able to function independently and maintain my quality of life. Thanks again for all your help!”
    Bergen Consumer

    “I would like to say thank you for all the years of assistance with my parents. Since 1998, when my mom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, hip staff was extremely helpful, assisting both my parents adjust to new life limitations and hip became a resource and support for them. As a daughter living across the country, it was heaven sent to have such wonderful, dedicated people assisting them. They were both grateful for everything. In addition to the love and compassion that the entire staff showed my father after the passing of my mother, the support and dedication was life changing until the end. My family and I wish you all the best!”
    Hudson Consumer

    “Thanks for all the support and help that I’ve gotten on my journey to improve my health. I was diagnosed with Stage 5 kidney failure and was in desperate need of health insurance. Jennifer made it possible for me to focus on my health rather than the medical bills that were going to pile up. This invaluable assistance helped me tremendously and for that I could not thank her enough. I wanted you to know also how special you and your organization are. Thanks for not giving up on me through all that all of us have been through this year. Seniors and older people especially need to know that there are others, other than their family, that care. Jennifer Preciado never forgets to call and see how I am doing. She is a very special person.”
    Hudson Consumer

    “Thank you for being there for all of us.”
    Bergen Consumer

    Our Proudest Achievements…

    • The Bergen and Hudson CILs provided information and services to 919 consumers, family members, friends and professionals. Although the vast majority resided in Bergen and Hudson Counties, individuals from all areas of New Jersey benefited as well.

    • With funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020, hip launched the COVID-19 Community Response Program to address food insecurities, provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and emergency rental and utilities assistance, and purchase medical and non-medical devices and technology to assist consumers to access or reconnect with services and supports they needed to remain safely in their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds provided rental assistance to 8 families who had lost income due to COVID-19 job closings and utilities assistance for 9 families. Tablets and other technology devices were purchased which enabled 12 consumers to participate in virtual classes and Zoom activities and remain connected to the community. 52 consumers received funding for assistive devices and equipment including blood pressure monitors to enable them to practice telemedicine, air conditioners to make their living environments more comfortable as they spent so much time at home, microwave ovens to reheat weekly Meals on Wheels deliveries, and the construction of a ramp at the home of an individual who became an amputee as a result of COVID-19 complications. 56 individuals/families who were experiencing food insecurity received ShopRite gift cards or food deliveries. Consumers also received masks and gloves as well as hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies.

    • The Bergen and Hudson CILs partnered with the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities to provide Support Coordination services. Support Coordinators worked with 133 consumers to assist them in accessing community-based supports and services to enhance their independent living. Efforts were directed in such areas as identifying appropriate programs and providers, facilitating socialization skills and building life experiences with the ultimate goal of securing employment.

    • Rehabilitation Technology funding enabled 124 individuals to receive disability-related equipment. Home modifications that increased safety and access in home environments were funded for 23 individuals.

    • The Adjustment to Vision Loss Project Peer Support Groups gained many new members this year. In-person groups met monthly in Fort Lee, North Arlington, Washington Township, Jersey City and Secaucus, and then met remotely several times each month after COVID-19 hit. Consumers met to talk with one another to gain emotional support, exchange helpful information, and learn practical solutions to many new challenges, including social distancing. Many consumers have taken the opportunity to learn more about technology in this new virtual era. Consumers also had the opportunity to partake in informative presentations made by professionals in the field offering more knowledge to assist with learning how to live in our “new normal.” Two telephone support groups, with participants from all regions of the state, continued to meet and expand on a biweekly basis. One group is for young adults under 30 and the other is for individuals over the age of 30.

    • Care Management programs in both CILs provided assessments and linkages to financial benefits and community-based services such as Food Stamps, prescription assistance, Meals on Wheels, Medicaid and many other resources which enabled 153 individuals to live independently in the community.

    hip also provided case management services through the statewide Traumatic Brain Injury Fund. This Fund, which receives its revenue from a $.50 surcharge on motor vehicle registrations, purchases services and supports to enable individuals who have been impacted by a traumatic brain injury to live independently in the community.

    • The Youth Transition Case Management Program in Hudson County provided individuals age 16 through 24 both short-term and long-term services in order to remain in the community, increase their independence and successfully access adult services. This year 42 individuals and their families received services. The program provided information, resources, advocacy and support to enable young adults with disabilities to optimize control over their lives and increase their knowledge and skills.

    • The Hudson CIL staff conducted 2 parent workshops and participated in 2 transition fairs for high school students and parents in Hudson County. Youth transition workshops were provided to approximately 40 students and parents in English and Spanish. Although the pandemic impacted service delivery, hip staff continued to outreach to all high schools in an effort to provide information and link students and parents to available supports and post-secondary educational services.

    • The Hispanic Outreach Project provided all independent living skills to the Spanish-speaking community through the efforts of bilingual staff. Linking consumers to financial benefits such as medical/prescription coverage and providing assistance in preparing for re-certification for housing and/or Food Stamps were frequently requested services.

    • The Creating Livable Accessible Spaces and Solutions (CLASS) Project, funded by the Bergen County Division of Community Development, collaborated with the 5 Age Friendly Bergen County towns to offer independent living skills assessments to facilitate the ability of seniors to remain in their homes.

    • A grant program funded by the Polio Network of New Jersey continued to be available to assist individuals throughout the state who have been affected by post-polio syndrome. Financial assistance can be provided for home modifications that enhance accessibility as well as the purchase of mobility aids.

    • Braille by Multimedia Transcription Service continued to convert elementary, high school and college-level textbooks and exams into braille format, giving countless students across the country the ability to be on the same “page” as their sighted peers. While this year was certainly unique as many students were learning remotely rather than physically in the classroom, Braille by MTS worked hard from home and later in the year back in the office to provide the braille books requested by schools. Everyone at MTS is looking forward to working on projects for the community once again as soon as community activities such as theatre performances and museum visits can safely resume.

    hip conducted 357 Access Link eligibility interviews during this fiscal year. This NJ Transit program was established to provide public transportation to people with disabilities who are unable to use the fixed route bus services.

    • The Eileen Goff Legacy Fund as well as Our New Journey are programs funded exclusively through private donations. The Eileen Goff Legacy Fund provides financial assistance to individuals and families with compelling needs when one-time support can make a difference in their lives and no other funding is available. This year, the Eileen Goff Legacy Fund provided funding for assistance towards food, repair of a wheelchair-accessible van, and the purchase of a prosthetic leg. Our New Journey offered assistance and encouragement to families faced with the onset of illness or disability by providing caregiver peer-to-peer support, individual guidance directed toward the understanding of personal needs and limited financial support for direct care assistance.

    • Empowering Women, a peer support group for women with disabilities, played an important role for many women who benefited by sharing successes and challenges. This group, which has grown over the past year, met monthly to exchange helpful information and socialize until the COVID-19 pandemic began. Group activities included Arts and Crafts such as pottery painting and chocolate making. The women enjoyed a healthy luncheon and learned a few new recipes. The group took advantage of talks about financial planning, healthy lifestyles and alternatives to domestic violence.

    • Continuing this year until the COVID-19 pandemic began was a partnership that hip formed with the bergenPAC in Englewood. Through their Arts Access Program, hip members received approximately 145 free tickets to many diverse performances, including American Pop, The Nutcracker and Deepak Chopra. We look forward to re-starting this program once restrictions are lifted and bergenPAC can welcome audiences again.

    • The 2019 holiday season was brightened for many consumers due to hip’s affiliation with the generous parishioners of St. Peter the Apostle Church in River Edge and the individuals in the community who participated in the Volunteer Center of Bergen County’s “All Wrapped Up” holiday gift-giving program. These wonderful people enabled hip to distribute hundreds of gifts and thousands of dollars in gift cards to individuals and families who otherwise would not have had a holiday celebration.

    • The Holiday Party was enjoyed by both Bergen and Hudson consumers, families and friends. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all other in-person leisure activities, including the Summer Picnic, were cancelled in this reporting year.

    hip continued to be a host site for the Easter Seals Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) in which two participants worked in the Bergen office. In addition, hip supervised a student intern from Ramapo College.

    • Community Outreach – During the year all staff were called upon to represent the CIL in both counties at fairs, events and exhibits concerning senior services, care management and student transition. The President/CEO sits on The Bergen County Workforce Development Board (Executive and Abilities Committees), The Bergen County Human Services Advisory Council (Adult Services Committee), The Bergen County Division of Disabilities Advisory Committee, The Bergen County Elder Abuse Community Coordinated Response Team, and the Hackensack Area Chamber of Commerce. The Executive Director of Hudson hip sits on the Hudson County Human Services Advisory Council, the Project Search Committee and the Hudson County Office of Disability Services Advisory Committee.




    hip STAFF

    Brian Fitzgibbons MPA, CRC – President/CEO

    Trish Carney – Vice President/CFO


    Thanasis Aspras – Social Work Intern

    Joanna Benthall – AVL Peer Support  Group Coordinator

    Nicole Clark – Care Manager

    Tamara Clark-Gill – Care Manager

    Trisha Ebel – Vision Loss Specialist

    Barbara Farrell – Office Assistant

    Linda Horvath – Office Assistant

    Jayne Jacobs – MTS Project  Coordinator

    John Lampert-Hopkins – Multimedia Transcription Service

    Pedro Martin – Webmaster

    Kathy Moore – Office Assistant

    Mary Mulvaney – Care Management

    Mary Mulvaney – Care Management Supervisor

    Diomayra Ramos – Social Media Intern

    Victoria Robbins – Care Manager

    Kathy Rohr – Multimedia Transcription Service

    Ryan Roy – Office Intern

    Marie Sawyer – AVL Peer Support Group  Coordinator

    Barbara Schmitt – Office Assistant

    Shoshana Stubin – Care Manager

    Stephanie Thomas – Office Assistant

    Maria Valentin – Rehabilitation Technology


    Marily Gonzalez – Executive Director

    Natalie Alave – Case Manager

    Angela Arboleda – Case Management Supervisor

    Celia Chavez – Case Manager

    Van Dautruche – Support Coordination Supervisor

    Jennyfer Paniagua – Youth Services Case Manager

    Alejandro Paredes – Case Manager

    Jennifer Preciado – Case Manager

    Maria Smith – Independent Living Services Assistant


    Gillian Addison – Multimedia Transcription Service

    Debbie Baker – Multimedia Transcription Service

    Barbara Conklin – Graphic Design and Production

    Regina Jones – Multimedia Transcription Service

    Adam Krass – Assistive Technology

    Frank Lampert-Hopkins – Multimedia Transcription Service

    James Fee Langendoen – Technology Consultant

    Francesca Lewis – Multimedia Transcription Service

    Ginger Mabey – Multimedia Transcription Service

    Thelma Smith – Multimedia Transcription Service




    Paul Aronsohn

    Annie Been

    Darrell Bethea

    Trish Carney

    Kay Chase

    Lillian Ciufo

    Barbara B. Comerford, Esq.

    Marie & Mike Cook

    Jim & Jean Csaposs

    Carol Dass

    Barbara Dublin

    J. Robert Duffy

    Patricia & Dave Ebel

    Lottie Esteban

    Betty Fetzer

    Richard M. Hodgman

    Joan F. Klug

    John Koch

    Chili Li

    Gloria Lieberstein

    Roy Lippin

    Joyce & Leonard Malech

    Ann Melone

    Dr. Frances Meyer

     Marianne Pigoncelli

    Beverly & Dick Ryan

    Donn Slonim

    Michael Smith

    Jeffrey St. Germain

    John Stanik

    Carol Viceconte

    Anne Burton Walsh

    Philip & Linda Webster Cennerazzo

    Janice Willett

    Richard S. Wolfman

    Anthony & Mary Yorio




    Bergenfield Lions Club

    Michael & Marie Cook

    Lottie Esteban & Family

    Ms. Genevieve Farrell & Mr. Robbie Fisk

    First Presbyterian Church of Hackensack

    Kaplen Foundation

    River Edge Lions Club

    Beverly Ryan

    Lillian P. Schenck Fund

    Donn Slonim

    St. Peter the Apostle Church, River Edge


    Bergen County Community Development

    Bergen County Department of Human Services

    Coronovirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020

    Hudson County Department of Health and Human Services

    New Jersey Department of Human Services Traumatic Brain Injury Fund

    New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities

    New Jersey Transit ACCESS LINK Project

    Polio Network of New Jersey – Alan and Peggy Ruprecht Memorial Fund

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Administration for Community Living

    In addition to the funding sources noted above, hip also has contracts with many school districts across the country for the production of braille textbooks.

    2019-2020 INCOME
    Government Contracts $725,068
    Membership $4,170
    Contributions $15,390
    Foundations $6,000
    Program Fees $5,269
    MTS Program Fees $79,640
    Fundraising $688
    Special Agency Projects $411,279
    Miscellaneous Income $828
    Client Assistance $127,642
    Total Income $1,375,974
    2019-2020 EXPENSES
    Personnel $922,069
    Consultants $57,485
    Supplies $54,557
    Program Costs $9,225
    Transportation $9,096
    Occupancy $161,475
    Training $2,711
    Miscellaneous Expenses $11,063
    Client Assistance $138,452
    Total Expenses $1,366,133

    hip also has a Diversified Portfolio of Invested Assets

    New Jersey Legislative Disability Caucus Backgrounder

    New Jersey Legislative Disability Caucus Backgrounder

    New Jersey Legislative Disability Caucus Backgrounder

    The establishment of this Bi-partisan Legislative effort represents the hard work of many disability advocates. We at hip support this initiative and look forward to enhancing our communication with our elected officials and program leadership.
                                                                                                   Brian Fitzgibbons

    November 2020

    New Jersey Legislative Disability Caucus Backgrounder  


    To serve as a bipartisan forum within the New Jersey Legislature for lawmakers and their staff to consider the impact on the disability community when shaping ALL public policies in the Garden State through increased awareness and a greater understanding of the complexities of the disabilities service system and issues affecting individuals with disabilities and their families.  

    25.6% of adults in the U.S. have some type of disability.

    24.6% of adults in New Jersey have some type of disability.

    Did you know?
    Disability cost in healthcare expenditures are $1.4 billion per year** in New Jersey.

    THE FACTS:  

    • According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 61 million Americans – 25% of the population – have a disability that “impacts major life activities”. 
    • Approximately 25% of adults in New Jersey identify as having some type of disability. This equates to 2,227,250. * 
    • Despite progress, adults with disabilities in New Jersey and across the country continue to experience significant differences in health characteristics and behaviors compared to adults without disabilities. ** 
    • The jobless rate for persons with a disability continues to be about twice as high as the rate for those without a disability. *** 
    • People with disabilities live in poverty at more than twice the rate of people without disabilities. ****

    12.5% of all US males and 12.8% of US females have a disability


    Individuals with disabilities, their families and organizations that serve, support and advocate for individuals with disabilities in New Jersey will be a resource to the NJ Legislative Disability Caucus, providing education and programming as needed. Legislators who join the caucus agree to be champions for individuals with disabilities in New Jersey by meeting with them in their district offices; participating in quarterly education forums; and above all, promote policies to improve the lives of people with disabilities and consider the impact on the disability community in shaping all public policies in New Jersey.  

    * Disability & Health U.S. State Profile Data for New Jersey (Adults 18+ years of age), Centers for Disease Control.  

    ** Disability-associated healthcare expenditures are presented in 2006 dollars as reported in Anderson et al, 2010. This value represents approximately 26% of total healthcare expenditures for the state of New Jersey.  

    *** Current Population Survey (CPS), US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, February 2020.  

    ****Disability Poverty Connection Report, National Council on Disability, October 2017 


    Founding Caucus Members  

    Senator Stephen M. Sweeney – Chair  

    Senator Anthony M. Bucco  

    Senator Kristin M. Corrado  

    Senator Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr.  

    Senator Vin Gopal  

    Senator Thomas H. Kean, Jr.  

    Senator Fred H. Madden, Jr.  

    Senator M. Teresa Ruiz  

    Senator Troy Singleton  

    Senator Joseph F. Vitale  

    Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson  

    Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro  

    Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti  

    Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer  

    Assemblywoman Joann Downey  

    Assemblywoman Aura K. Dunn  

    Assemblyman Louis D. Greenwald  

    Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling  

    Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle  

    Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt  

    Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez  

    Assemblywoman Nancy F. Munoz  

    Assemblywoman Carol A. Murphy  

    Assemblywoman Holly T. Schepisi  

    Assemblyman Adam J. Taliaferro  

    Assemblywoman Britnee N. Timberlake  

    Assemblyman Anthony S. Verrelli  

    Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker 


    2021 Issue Briefing Schedule  

    Virtual or in Trenton – One hour for Caucus members and their staffers 

     January 26 @ noon – Covid and the Disability Community  

    April 27 @ noon 

     July 27 @ noon  

    October 26 @ noon 


    The New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities (NJCDD) is proud to announce the Supporting Agencies for the NJ Legislative Disability Caucus:  

    New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities  

    Autism New Jersey  

    Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey  

    Disability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ)  

    New Jersey Association of Mental Health & Addiction Agencies, Inc. (NJAMHAA)  

    New Jersey State Independent Living Council  

    Ombudsman for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities and Their Families  

    SPAN Parent Advocacy Network  

    Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey  

    The Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities (ABCD)  

    The Arc of New Jersey  

    The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School  

    The New Jersey Association of Community Providers (NJACP) 

    New Jersey Legislative Disability Caucus Backgrounder

    What companies gain by including persons with disabilities

    What companies gain by including persons with disabilities

    What companies gain by including persons with disabilities


    More than one billion people in this world are living with some form of disability. That’s one in seven of us. Eighty percent of these people acquire their disability between the ages of 18 and 64 – the average working age for most – and they are 50% more likely to be unemployed.


    At Davos 2019, a panel of business leaders including Accenture’s North America CEO Julie Sweet discussed the power of disability inclusion, led by Binc founder Dr Caroline Casey. At a time when there are more job vacancies than workers in several countries, businesses are realizing the advantages of recruiting from a diverse and inclusive talent pool. Companies in the US that are advancing disability inclusion are also achieving significant gains in profitability, value creation and shareholder returns. However, some companies are still not recognizing the importance – and potential business benefits – of hiring persons with disabilities.


    In the US alone, there are 15.1 million people of working age living with visible and nonvisible disabilities, many of whom are un- or underemployed. If companies were to embrace disability inclusion, they would gain access to a new talent pool of more than 10.7 million people, suggests Getting to Equal: The Disability Inclusion Advantage, a recent report from Accenture in partnership with Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). This represents a significant opportunity to strengthen their business and the economy.

    Why are companies not capitalizing on this untapped resource? Some buy into the misconception that it might be costly for businesses to accommodate specific needs of persons with disabilities. However, our research indicates the opposite – that those companies embracing best practices for employing and supporting persons with disabilities in their workforce are also outperforming their peers and achieving tangible financial benefits.


    In fact, the research shows that more inclusive companies are twice as likely to have higher total shareholder returns than their peers, on average. Additionally, companies that have become more inclusive over time are four times more likely to have total shareholder returns that outperform those of their peer group. When it comes to profitability and value creation, these companies achieved 28% higher revenue, double the net income and 30% higher economic profit margins over the four-year period we analyzed, on average.

    These gains more than offset the cost of accommodating persons with disabilities. A separate study by the Job Accommodation Network revealed 60% of workplace accommodations can be made for free, while the remaining cost is $500 per employee, on average.

    Of course, the benefits of disability-inclusive hiring practices extend far beyond the bottom line. Persons with disabilities must be creative to adapt to the world around them. Strengths such as problem-solving skills, agility, persistence, forethought and a willingness to experiment – all of which are essential for innovation – are an inherent part of reality.

    More inclusive workplaces also perform well when it comes to staff retention. Studies show that working alongside employees with disabilities makes non-disabled individuals more aware of how to make the workplace more inclusive and better for everyone. Staff turnover is also lower – by up to 30% – when a well-run disability community outreach programme is in place.


    Then, of course, there are the reputational benefits. A survey undertaken by the National Business and Disability Council in 2017 found that 66% of consumers will purchase goods and services from a business that features persons with disabilities in their advertising, while 78% will purchase goods and services from a business that takes steps to ensure easy access for individuals with disabilities at their physical locations. Diversity-inclusive supply chains are also correlated with stronger financial returns, brand enhancement and innovation.

    Several companies are raising the bar for disability employment and inclusion. T-Mobile has started sponsoring National Wheelchair Basketball Association youth events, where staff speak with children about what it means to work at T-Mobile, opening children’s eyes to new opportunities. Bank of America has created a support services team comprised of 300 people with intellectual disabilities to manage fulfilment services and external client engagement.


    At Boston Scientific, the onboarding process includes a virtual tour and videos from leaders speaking about their diversity and inclusion (D&I) commitments, sharing valuable information for individuals to understand resources available to all employees. CVS Health has refocused its training programmes, from philanthropy to skill search, to capitalize on the unique qualities brought by persons with disabilities, such as creativity, problem-solving and loyalty.

    Many companies have seen tangible benefits from disability inclusion, and they are finding that employing persons with disabilities isn’t as challenging as often assumed. For example, Microsoft has built a successful disability hiring programme specific to people on the autism spectrum. The goal of this programme is to attract talent and build an inclusive approach to support individuals on the autism spectrum that will contribute to the way they work as a company in building and servicing its products. The Hiring Program is a multiple-day, hands-on academy that focuses on workability, team projects and skills assessment. The event gives candidates an opportunity to showcase their unique talents and meet hiring managers and teams, while learning about Microsoft as an employer of choice.


    At Accenture, we found that being honest about where you stand can be a hard yet crucial first step toward becoming a more inclusive company. As one of the first companies to publicly disclose the demographics of our US workforce by gender, ethnicity, veterans and persons with disabilities, we learned that transparency creates trust.

    In 2018, 4.5% of our people in the US have voluntarily self-identified as having a disability, up from 3% the previous year. Accountability and creating an environment of trust where employees feel comfortable self-identifying as having a disability are important measures of inclusion.

    Understanding the experiences of our people at Accenture was a critical first step to learning more about how to make disability inclusion an advantage. In partnership with Disability:IN and the AAPD, we analyzed the disability practices and financial performance of the 140 companies participating in the Disability Equality Index. The study Getting to Equal: The Disability Inclusion Advantage revealed four key actions that companies should take to bring about change.



    Organizations must ensure that persons with disabilities are represented in their workplace and in their talent pipeline. Beyond hiring, employers should implement practices that encourage and progress persons with disabilities.



    Leaders must provide employees with disabilities with accessible tools and technology and/or a formal accommodations programme. To improve awareness and integration across teams, companies should consider introducing formal training programmes for employees without disabilities to learn about the tools and accommodations available to their colleagues.



    To foster an inclusive culture throughout the organization, companies must invest in awareness-building through recruitment efforts, disability education programmes and grassroots-led efforts (for example, employee resource groups) and events.



    Companies must offer mentoring and coaching initiatives, as well as skilling/reskilling programmes, to ensure that persons with disabilities continue to grow and succeed. Persons with disabilities should occupy roles at all levels, including top leadership positions.


    To unleash the trapped value within the persons-with-disabilities community, organizations must assess where they are by leveraging benchmarking tools such as the Disability Equality Index, self-identification of their current employee base, and employee engagement and awareness surveys.


    At the same time, CEOs and investors need to understand the strong qualitative and quantitative business case for robust disability inclusion programmes. By making companies aware of the potential gains, sharing success stories and demonstrating how to build a more inclusive talent pipeline, we can quickly get more persons with disabilities into the workforce.

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