Global Careers Panel: Promoting Accessibility at Microsoft and Researching International Disability Rights

Man standing at head of table smiling to group of people sitting at table in a historical building with stain glassed window.
NCDE staff and panelists Dr. Robert Gould and Jessica Rafuse had the 2nd discussion on how disabled people can globalize their careers.
May 19, 2020

Global companies like Microsoft seek out ways to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for their teams around the world. Policymakers and universities want to advance better practices in areas like access to competitive employment or community living options, which is why scholars are engaged in researching those best practices and organizing workshops.

The audience heard how the 2 panelists got where they are now, and the strategies they used along the way.

The webinar is interpreted in ASL and a  transcript can be accessed under documents.

Presenter bios

Jessica Rafuse

Jessica Rafuse is a leader in Accessibility and Disability Inclusion. As the Senior Program Manager for Strategic Partnerships for Accessibility at Microsoft, Jessica is responsible for Microsoft’s engagements with organizations that focus on people with disabilities and accessibility.

Jessica is an attorney, who prior to joining the Microsoft team, promoted the principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action at Starbucks Coffee Company. Jessica began her legal career in government, including her work as an Administrative Judge for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Jessica earned Bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and Art History from the University of Washington, and a Juris Doctorate from Seattle University School of Law.

Jessica has muscular dystrophy and uses a power wheelchair. She studied abroad in Seville, Spain and continues to travel internationally for work and play. She and her husband live in the Seattle-area with their two sons and two mini-Australian Shepherds. Follow Jessica at LinkedIn and Twitter.

Robert Gould

Robert Gould, PhD, is an Assistant Clinical Professor and the Director of Research at the Great Lakes ADA Center in the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He also is a co-investigator of the ADA National Network Knowledge Translation Center, a US-based resource center devoted to disseminating and translating information about disability civil rights, with the ultimate goal of advancing voluntary compliance with the law. His research explores the broad social, political, economic, and cultural context of US and international disability rights laws and social movements. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on disability in world culture and disability rights and culture.

Rob has published and presented widely on domestic and international social policy and evaluation; international comparative policy; employment and disability inclusion in the workforce, knowledge translation, and issues of rights and social justice as they pertain to people with disabilities. His work is informed by his experience with disability and use of mental health services and supports. He recently participated in an international exchange program in Uganda, and is involved with various international networks and research projects related to disability rights. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two daughters (one human, one dog).

Justin Harford

Justin is a Program Coordinator with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, working to increase the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange by providing information and resources to both individuals with disabilities and international professionals. Previously, Justin worked for two years in disability community organizing and policy in the foothills of Northern California. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Latin American History and Spanish Literature from University of California, Berkeley. He studied abroad at the Pontifical Catholic University in Santiago Chile, where he researched and wrote a thesis on the history of the blind in Chilean society. In 2008, he spent 10 weeks immersing himself in the culture and language of Michoacan, Mexico.

Register for the Zoom Webinar