Disability Employment Policy: What Are We Missing?

By Guest Blogger Paul Hippolitus, Director, Disabled Students’ Program, Equity & Inclusion, University of California, Berkeley

Watch a YouTube video of Paul Hippolitus discussing UC Berkeley’s “Professional Development and Disability” course

As a longtime advocate and professional working in support of the employment of people with disabilities, I was very excited to recently report for work at the University of California, Berkeley — to have the privilege of assisting the University’s students with disabilities with both their education and career ambitions.  UC Berkeley has some of the “best and brightest” of our young people with disabilities, so helping them to achieve their career goals seemed to me to be the easiest assignment I would ever have.

During my first few weeks at Berkeley, I embarked on a quest to ask every student with a disability I met the question, “What’s your career goal?” I couldn’t wait to hear about their lofty goals, serious plans and impressive ambitions.

Much to my chagrin, the response I most often got (about 99 percent of the time) was the student casting their eyes to the ground and saying, ”I’m not sure, I guess I’ll go on to graduate schools; or, law school; or medical school.”

I was shocked. Our “best and brightest” were just as perplexed about their career potential as most people with disabilities.

Read More about Disability Employment Policy: What Are We Missing?


No Boundaries Photo Project: Leah Katz-Hernandez, 2011 HSC Foundation Youth Transitions Fellow

A photograph of Leah Katz-Hernandez sitting in front of a poster that says, "Redefining Deaf."

By Stephanie Bostaph, Communications Specialist,

Leah Katz-Hernandez isn’t shy around the political arena – in fact, she welcomes the opportunity to give a voice to the deaf community and other individuals with disabilities. A 2010 Magna Cum Laude graduate of Gallaudet University, she gained national attention during the 2008 presidential election with her bi-partisan blog, The Deaf Perspective, which examined the political process through American Sign Language (ASL) video blogs (vlogs), which were also transcribed in English. Leah used this platform to emphasize the importance of being an informed voter.

Although she has been fascinated by politics her entire life, Leah didn’t consider it as a career path until choosing to major in government. In the summer of 2009, she participated in the American Association of People with Disabilities’ (AAPD) Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation Congressional Internship Program. The 10-week experience piqued her interest in disability advocacy and gave her insight into lawmaking and public policy development.

“I met many leaders with disabilities, and I wanted to be like them,” Leah explains. “I think it’s really important to find something you’re passionate about and keep working away at it.” Following her graduation, she interned for the White House Office of Public Engagement and was elected executive director of Deaf Youth USA, a social justice advocacy group.

Read More about No Boundaries Photo Project: Leah Katz-Hernandez, 2011 HSC Foundation Youth Transitions Fellow