Melwood Brings Together Experts in Neurodiversity Employment to Mark National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Melwood Brings Together Experts in Neurodiversity Employment to Mark National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October 1, 2019

UPPER MARLBORO, MD, October 1, 2019 – As one of the nation’s leading nonprofit employers of people with disabilities, Melwood is convening experts from around the nation to highlight the benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace – in both the public and private sectors.

While diversity has been touted by businesses for decades, neurodiversity is just emerging as a critical element of diversity hiring. According to the Brookings Institution, only four out of 10 neurodivergent people are employed, leaving millions of Americans who want to work and are capable of doing a great job without the opportunity to succeed.

“Melwood is convening these conferences because, for more than 55 years, we have seen firsthand how individuals with disabilities can positively transform the workplace and society,” said Melwood President and CEO Cari DeSantis. “There are so many companies today looking for talent to fill high-demand jobs, We want to show them how a neurodiverse workforce can be the answer they have beenseeking.”

In October, Melwood will host two conferences aimed at advancing the employment opportunities of people with disabilities in the public and private sector.

The second annual Javits-Wagner-O’Day Legal & Policy Symposium will take place on Thursday, Oct. 17, at The George Washington University Law School. The symposium will focus on disability employment policy, government procurement goals, and the future of government programs that encourage neurodiversity in the federal workforce. Participants include appointed officials from federal agencies and departments such as the U.S. AbilityOne Commission, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); leading disability employment organizations such as the Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE), and leading government contracting attorneys. The symposium will culminate with a Congressional briefing.

The following day, Melwood will host The Right Talent, Right Now: Breaking Workforce Barriers Summit on Friday, Oct. 18, at The George Washington University and will feature speakers from organizations like Mitre, BB&T Bank, Accenture, General Dynamics IT, University of Virginia, Ernst & Young, and JP Morgan Chase. The summit will bring business leaders and HR professionals together with academics, assistive technology companies, policy makers, and advocates to explore the latest research, promising practices and the benefits of employing a neurodiverse workforce. The goal of this year’s summit is to bring experts from various sectors together to discuss how to train, recruit, and retain neurodiverse talent and build a reliable new workforce pipeline.

Melwood’s Symposium and Summit are held in celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and are intended to advance the field in the hiring of individuals with disabilities.

About Melwood

Melwood is one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in the country, employing more than 1,600 workers – nearly 1,000 of whom are people with disabilities. Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,500 people each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Melwood also has an inclusive summer camp program for children and provides employment and support services to veterans and active-duty military members who have experienced service-related trauma or injury. For more information, visit

Media Inquiries

Jewelyn Cosgrove
Vice President of Government and Public Relations
O: 240-846-3952
[email protected]


FacebookTwitterLinkedInCopy Link

Recent Posts

Explore Our Programs

Learn more about our efforts in support of our mission and vision.

Vehicle Donation Program

For over 16 years, we’ve operated one of the most successful car donation programs on the East Coast, processing over 200,000 vehicle donations.

Donate Today