I have a disability and I work for the Federal Government. In an endeavor to acquire reasonable accommodations for my disability I reached out to Human Resources. My experiences with the "HR" department have been poor at best. In spite of this, I am still hopeful that things will change for the better.
These ideas come from my experiences:
In order to create opportunities for disabled population, a very misunderstood and neglected group of individuals who are talented and qualified yet overlooked and ignored. These people bring qualifications and skills that are sorely needed in our world. To make this group of people a viable resource the first thing that we need to do is to earn their trust. TRUST. Not only should this fundamental keystone be there for the disabled but for everyone, disabled or not.
During our training we are told to find the answer yourself. Don't TRUST your colleagues. You have to know the right person to ask because it's your fault otherwise. You can't trust anyone. This mires you down with doubts. In the end you stop TRUSTING yourself.
The lack of TRUST is the catalyst to the decay in the system. TRUST is the keystone to a well functioning organization.
Without TRUST, there is more friction between people. People won't listen to new ideas. Criticism is not constructive but becomes personal attacks. More doubts develop. No one is responsible but there are thousands to blame. Management begins to scapegoat certain class of people because "…they are the root of the problems that they see...". Removal of the person who is different is an easy solution. There is no incentive to keep them. There are mass exoduses from critical departments. Any employee who accepts this status quo is isolated from peers who don't want to "rock the boat" with management. Reasonable Accommodation requests become comical. I know because I requested one once. My Manager suggested an unrelated solution that was considered granted although it was of no help to me.
All of these programs need to be accountable to those they serve, which is EVERYONE. I could go on about levels of TRUST, to how to develop it, to how to maintain it but that would be a thesis I am too tired to write. I will say this though whatever you create, it has to be approachable as well as visible and it has to be accountable.
If we put as much effort and energy in better training and team building along with fostering a culture of TRUST, as we do in figuring out who to blame for errors, we would be way ahead of where we are now.