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DePaul forms resource group for employees with disabilities


Lincoln Park Campus
(DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

DePaul employees have developed a new employee resource group, Ability Alliance with Allies and Advocates. Known as A4DePaul, the group's first meeting will take place May 26 at 1 p.m. All faculty and staff are welcome to attend.

The university currently has seven ERGs, or affinity groups, for employees to network around a common cause or interest. This is the first ERG focused on providing a network for employees interested in the topic of disabilities in the workplace. ERGs in this area of disability are common and growing in the private sector.  

“I am excited to be part of the launch of this new Employee Resource Group," says Kent Klaus, a senior instructor in the College of Business and one of the steering committee members for A4DePaul. “Before joining DePaul, I was the leader of the ERG at Deloitte that supported employees with disabilities. I saw first-hand the benefits of providing opportunities for shared experiences and support among employees with disabilities and their allies." 

Several areas in the disability sector at DePaul are coming together for employees and learners. There is a Faculty Learning Community, which provides a network of teaching learners with disabilities. This group has met monthly during the academic year and plans to continue next year as well. DePaul also has supported a multi-year grant, as part of the Academic Growth and Innovation Fund project, to help recruit learners with disabilities.

"People with disabilities are an essential part of an inclusive and diverse workplace," says Julie Markgraf, a learning specialist in the Center for Students with Disabilities and a steering committee member. "This group presents an opportunity to work towards a more just and caring workplace, while improving the lives of others. When any of us do better, we all do better.  This work is at the heart of social justice and the Vincentian mission."

Elizabeth Ortiz, the vice president of Institutional Diversity and Equity, notes this affinity group is another example of how the university continues to strive towards equity and inclusiveness.

“DePaul and OIDE are honored to partner with the newly formed Ability Alliance with Allies and Advocates group on how to improve DePaul's support to persons with disabilities," she says. “Our collaborative partnership will include education, programming, advocacy and providing a network of support and mentoring for employees who may have a visible or invisible disability, a chronic medical condition or a family member or loved one with a disability."

Those interested in attending the May 26 meeting can RSVP online. Visit the A4DePaul website for more information.

Please take a moment to complete a short  A4DePaul survey to help provide guidance moving forward and building community at the university.

The meeting on May 26 will cover the group's draft mission statement, survey feedback and scheduling of future meetings, as well as a fall welcome event to officially launch A4DePaul.  ​