ATU296 – Old National Bank and the Employment of People with Disabilities

first_imgShare this…TwitterFacebookPinterest1LinkedInEmailPrint RelatedAT202 – Assistive Technology Man Cave! (The dudes: Scott Fogo, Jeremy Curry, Ben Trockman, & Wade Wingler)April 10, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU331 – WADA Live with Barry WhaleySeptember 29, 2017In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU256 – ATLAS Vantagepoint, Podcasts Now on Google Play, Google AT Grants Awarded, $400k ALS AT Challenge PrizesApril 22, 2016In “Assistive Technology Update” Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadYour weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Ben Trockman, Old National Bank’s AchieveAbility program | www.oldnationalbank.comTell us what you thought was cool from the ATIA conference?App: Fit bit Zip |——————————If you have an AT question, leave us a voice mail at: 317-721-7124 or email [email protected] out our web site: https://www.eastersealstech.comFollow us on Twitter: @INDATAprojectLike us on Facebook:——-transcript follows ——BEN TROCKMAN:  This is Ben Trockman, employment and outreach specialist at Old National Bank, and this your Assistive Technology Update.WADE WINGLER:  Hi, this is Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals crossroads in Indiana with your Assistive Technology Update, a weekly dose of information that keeps you up-to-date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Welcome to episode number 296 of assistive technology update. It’s scheduled to be released on January 27, 2017.Today we are going to spend some time visiting with my good friend Ben Trautman in Evansville, Indiana, and a program he is doing with old national Bank that’s all about the employment of people with disabilities but kind of from a different and fresh perspective. It’s called achievability.We’ve got an app from the folks over at BridgingApps about a fit bit, fit bit zip.We hope you’ll check out our website at, send us a note on Twitter at INDATA Project, or call our listener line. We love to hear from you. We like to your questions and comments and those kinds of things. Also you can leave a question there for our very popular ATFAQ show, a frequently asked questions show where we had all of your assistance technology questions. Our listener line is 317-721-7124.***Did you happen to attend the ATIA show in Orlando a week or so ago, the Assistive Technology Industry Association show?  I would love to include a segment on a future show on what you saw at ATIA that you thought was cool or interesting or different. Call our listener line, 317-721-7124, and leave us a message and let us know what you thought was cool at ATIA. You might hear your voice on an upcoming show.***Each week, one of our partners tells us what’s happening in the ever-changing world of apps, so here’s an app worth mentioning.AMY BARRY:  This is Amy Barry with BridgingApps and this is a health and fitness tracker and app worth mentioning. This week I’m sharing a fit bit zip and the fit bit app. The smallest member of the fit bit family of products, the fit bit zip is a wireless activity tracker that is a fantastic tool for kids, teens, and adults. Being active and getting exercise can be a challenge for individuals with disabilities, but using a fit bit zip can make counting steps and being active fun. The small, colorful, water resistant device track steps, distance, calories burned, and active minutes. We found that the setup takes less than five minutes. It’s super easy. It syncs wirelessly with both iOS and Android smartphones. The zip comes in four colors, can fit in a pocket, or be clipped onto a belt loop, backpack, shirt, or belt. Many of our special needs friends, especially those diagnosed with sensory processing disorders or individuals with skin allergies prefer this clip device over wristband trackers.The fit bit zip wireless app tracker is an efficient way to monitor everyday fitness. Its versatile functionality provides detailed feedback so users can easily stay on track. Whether you are online or using the fit bit app, you can use this wireless fitness tracker to set goals and stay motivated to keep on your path to fitness with the graphs and congratulatory badges, which we really like—those seem to keep our users motivated. The fit bit zip enables you to see how you compare with your friends and family for mutual goals or even a little bit of friendly competition. The fit bit zip starts at $59.99. They are available for purchase at Amazon, Target, and Walmart. The app is free to download at the iTunes and Google play stores.For more information on this app and others like it, visit***WADE WINGLER:  It is a cold winter day in Evansville, Indiana, and I am on the third floor in an office at Old National Bank’s headquarters, hanging out with a friend of mine who actually, I want to hear your voice, has been on our show before, is a friend of the show. Ben Trockman, how are you, sir?BEN TROCKMAN:  Fantastic. Thanks from me on today.WADE WINGLER:  Not a problem. Thanks for letting me come and hang out in your office for just a little bit. For those who haven’t met Ben before, he’s been on our show at least a few times. I think we’ve had some conversations about accessible airline travel, and we did a show called assistive technology man cave. That was a ton of fun where we hung out with some friends and talked about the more masculine side of the assistive technology. We talked about home theater and sports and some alcoholic beverages—BEN TROCKMAN:  Never, not me.WADE WINGLER:  Not at all. The reason I’m hanging out with Ben today is, he is an outreach and employment specialist at Old National Bank in Evansville and is an assistive algae user. He’s doing something pretty cool here that has to do with the employment of people with disabilities and sort of a different approach to how that’s been done. We caught up at a conference – we bump into each other pretty regularly. We caught up at a conference recently, and there was a training at a conference put on by a disability organization for disability providers talking about the implement of people with disabilities. One of the question was, where are the employers?BEN TROCKMAN:  That’s right.WADE WINGLER:  The thing that is interesting is Ben does not work for a government organization, does that work for a disability organization. Ben works for a bank but his job is all about the employment of people with disabilities. Tell us a little bit about your job here and then we are going to talk a little bit about what you’re doing with achievability and some things happening here originally with the chamber and some employers and those kinds of things. Take us to school on you and your job.BEN TROCKMAN:  I have to give the listeners a picture of what’s going on. We are sitting in my office which is a 10 by 14 office. That may be generous. Wade is holding a mic up to my face right now. If, listeners, you see Mr. Wingler out and about with a very strong right arm, you know that he’s been building his strength in this way.It’s really cool. My job started— I was hired about 2 ½ years ago by old national. I’ve been a disability advocate for a long time, since my injury in 2006 which is going on 10 ½ years which is crazy. I have a spinal cord injury. At that time, I became very involved with Easter Seals. I had a chance to travel throughout the country and learn about disability issues. As I graduated from the University of Southern Indiana, which was about three years ago, I was talking with some folks at old national and they had a passion to start doing some disability inclusion work. One of our mission statements, if you will, is diversity and inclusion. We realized that people with disabilities are one eighth of the world’s population, and they are one of the largest and most underemployed minorities in the United States.As we talk about employment and having a lack of talent and trying to find a good talent pool, people with disabilities haven’t been at the table because employers— the employer community is sometimes scared to interview, or the interview is not made for people with disabilities to be successful. Maybe it’s a phone call that someone with autism can’t get through the interview questions right. It’s been an interesting experience, it’s been a lot of fun. I started my position 2 ½ years ago and my boss told me, we don’t have a job description for you. We are going to make it up as we go and continue making it up as we go. What’s really neat is having a corporation that cares about the community, cares about moving forward, doing the right thing. We are in a four-state footprint. You were just in here and we had an individual, region CEO walk in and talk to us about some cool stuff happening in Michigan. It’s really neat to be part of an organization that is trying to change the culture and be more inclusive and recruit intentionally people with disabilities in our workforce. We’ve created programs. We’ve created resource groups. We go out in the community and talk about it and are open with ourselves. I think it’s been a lot of fun. We get to meet a lot of great people. We are making progress.WADE WINGLER:  I think it’s interesting. We talked about the conference, that there are organizations and nonprofits that do employment services targeted towards folks with disabilities to help them find jobs. They are organizations like the United States business leadership network where employers have attempted to get together and create some of this idea of how can employers be more directly involved in the employment of folks with disabilities. But I think what you guys are doing here is a little bit unique and different because it’s a very active program, and you’re becoming very directly involved in it. I know that there are a couple of different initiatives here copper one of them is called achievability. Can you tell us a little bit about what’s going on with that?BEN TROCKMAN:  This was one of our first initiatives in the beginning of what we are doing as a company to create an inclusive atmosphere. Just for an example, I work in HR and talent acquisition, which is really strange because I knew very little about HR before. I still don’t feel like I fit in. I’m too loud sometimes and say too many things. We thought, if we are going to champion and inclusive effort, this doesn’t need to come out of HR. This needs to come from the top down.What we did was we created a program where we are trying to align, just as you said earlier – it’s called the Achievability Professional Mentoring Program. We are trying to align our 21 ELG, our Executive Leadership Group, for a year-long mentoring relationship with a person with a disability. For instance, we’ve been working just here in Evansville with the University of Evansville, University of Southern Indiana, and Ivy Tech. We are working with their disability services offices. Whenever they meet with a student that they think is an exceptional student, someone that goes above and beyond, that maybe has terrible policy or the blind or deaf or has spinal injury or autism, bring them over to old national. Let’s have an exploratory interview. Let’s get to know these people.What we’ve done so far is have 11 relationships where we’ve paired an individual with a disability with our executive leader for this year-long program. The idea is very casual. We have people that hang out, go to basketball games, football games, talk about networking, resumes, anything. We actually have a parent right now that’s working on pitching a business idea. The idea is that, for the mentor, our executive leader, they are exposed to someone differently abled than they were before. Someone with a spinal cord injury, they learn why someone like me can show up to work at 7 o’clock in the morning, because we have nurses that come in and help me get up so I can make it.One of the most interesting stories is that we paired our CFO, Chris, with a young lady with the University of Evansville who is a double major in finance and accounting. She’s blind. Chris thought, my goodness, how is Madeleine going to be able to work the computers and all these numbers?  It was all of those assumptions that we all make about people before we get to know them. Quickly, Chris realized how Madeleine has adapted to her disability and all the cool assistive technology that she uses to accomplish things probably way faster than most of us do. He found out that Madeline, when traveling to Europe, went to 15 different countries by herself as someone with a visual impairment. Our executive leaders, not they would’ve thought that people can do that, but they are exposed to these relationships, these ideas that people with disabilities maybe do a lot more than we think. There is that problem where a lot of people are afraid to encounter, talk to, shake hands, say hello to someone who is differently abled. We are knocking down those barriers. That’s the idea of the program, to create relationships, friendships, knockdown barriers, hopefully find employment weather at old national or somewhere else. Build the careers for the young people that are participating but also increase the knowledge base of our executives. It’s been a lot of fun.WADE WINGLER:  I love the idea that it’s one of those things that’s so simple but I have found to be elusive in my career, where people with disabilities might not have access to a senior executive in a bank or anyplace like that unless their outside life, church or family, made that happen. The point that executive leadership in a bank might not have exposure to some of the day-to-day reality of what it’s like to live with a disability, use assistive technology, and those kinds of things. The awareness is amazing. You guys are having some concrete outcomes from this as well, right?  Some good stuff is happening, more than just friendship.BEN TROCKMAN:  We’ve hired two people out of our program so far in about a year and a half. We’ve gotten a part-time position here at Old National Bank. We’ve helped two of our participants find employment elsewhere. People are building their network basis. What you talk about is really important. This gives these individuals is someone, and executive leader in the community that they can talk to and say, I’m interested in sports. What do you know about sports?  We had an individual that wants to be the first person in a wheelchair on ESPN. He’s an awesome young guy and is about to graduate with a Masters degree at Ball State. He was paired with our community relations executive. She actually introduced him to a few people in Indianapolis and other sports talk shows. Zach is having the opportunity to meet people that he would’ve never before. That’s the idea, as we are getting people out there. It’s very casual, like you said. There is no demand out of the program other than be enthusiastic. Be willing to share your story and try to make a difference in the world. That’s what we are trying to do.WADE WINGLER:  Maybe I’m spinning this a little bit too much, but you just told me that I think in Evansville, Indiana, has an employment, job placement for folks with disabilities, and not only for the bank by other employers?BEN TROCKMAN:  That’s exactly right. Our whole goal is to meet people and help them find a career, whether it’s here or down the street at one of our competitors, whatever the best fit. That’s what we think about all the time, it’s fit. It’s cool— and don’t tell anybody – but I really love where I work. I work for a really good place that cares about the community. That’s what nice. We are not worried about the bottom line all the time. It’s more about what happened with the individual. That’s what we work for every day. It’s pretty cool to see what happens.WADE WINGLER:  Obviously you are doing a corporate culture shift here which is doing stuff inside the bank that I find remarkable. But you’re also doing things in the local and regional community. You talk about the mayor and chambers and partners who have become part of a dialogue that is like this. Can you tell me a little bit about what you’re doing there?BEN TROCKMAN:  A few months ago we brought in a guy by the name of Randy Lewis. Randy Lewis is a former executive at Walgreens. He was in charge of distribution. Randy really set a precedent for disability inclusion employment at his Walgreens distribution Center at Anderson, South Carolina. Randy has been a good friend of ours on employment issues. We brought Randy in and had 80 executives listen to a story. What’s interesting is at their distribution center, they have about 45 percent of their employees are people with disabilities which is unprecedented. They really set up an interesting dynamic culture that many other places don’t have. Randy got a chance to share his story with about 80 executives locally.What’s come out of this presentation and some of the work we are doing is we have created a committee which we have entitled the “Inclusive Evansville Action Committee.” It is comprised of Bob Jones, the CEO at Old National Bank, Maryland with Nikki of Evansville, and Christie Gillenwater, the president of the Southwest Indiana chamber. We meet on a bimonthly basis to talk about inclusion issues. What can we do to move our city forward?  What’s been interesting is a byproduct of our recent visit with Randy Lewis, with our local executives, as Ron Hickey, my direct boss and I have started a committee, a subcommittee of our Inclusive Evansville Action Committee, called Action Partners. Essentially the idea is we have about 22 businesses represented in Evansville or tri-state that are getting together monthly talking about inclusion issues, whether it is talking about our achievability program, talking about one specific person with a disability that we had trouble here or didn’t know what to do, or here is an accommodation that we made. We are being open and honest with each other and trying to promote inclusion issues. It’s been a lot of fun to get the business community at the table and talking about these important issues. We have 50 percent of the solution. We have the jobs so we’ve got to move our mindset forward so we can have an inclusive environment to hire people, bring them on board. It’s pretty cool.WADE WINGLER:  I’m going to ask an out of the blue question. As somebody who’s worked for Easter Seals for over 23 years now, and also somebody who has an MBA and spends some time thinking about business related stuff, what has been the response from the organizations who this has been their job for generations, to see an employer sort of driving the process instead of showing up for a job fair scenario and saying hire folks with disabilities. What is the traditional nonprofit plumbing jobseeking community, what has the reaction been?BEN TROCKMAN:  They couldn’t be more excited. These folks have been looking for an employer to step up to the plate. Our not-for-profit friends have been pushing candidates on us for a long time, and they haven’t known how to connect with us because they wanted to sell their product. They knew they had good people but they didn’t know the fit. Having a company that’s willing to invite them in the doors and say let’s figure out what the fit of this candidate is or this person or whether it is here or somewhere else, it’s really cool. We meet on a pretty regular basis with about five of the job coaches within our community just to say how can we be doing is better. We’ve had times where we have shared, open up our operations center where we’ve had some of the job coaches go through and observe jobs. They couldn’t be more excited because we need a champion in the disability community to step up to the plate. Luckily I get to work for that champion. It’s been really cool.WADE WINGLER:  This interview is a little out of character from what we’ve done because it is not necessarily technology focused and is more of a local or regional story. I don’t normally put stories on the show that are very local, but I think that one of the most remarkable things about what’s happening with all of this work is that it’s more than just a local thing. I think these concepts and ideas are a little bit long overdue and are applicable anywhere. I know you guys have been talking to folks not just in the US by outside, and I also know some of the folks listening today are going to say these guys are onto something.  Two things:  tell me about your international reach which I think is interesting; and tell me, if folks who are interested in having some conversation with you and what you’re doing, how might they do that?BEN TROCKMAN:  I spend time looking up and trying to find as many people and meeting people around the country or outside that have done an exceptional job in this area. We found some folks in Sarnia, Canada, which is right outside of Detroit. They are not too far from home, but they are still Canadians. We can make our Canadians jokes. Hopefully they are not listening to the show. We had a phone call recently with the mayor of Sarnia and two of the employment providers in the community, guys by the names of Joe Dale and Bob Van Sickle. Their community has really stepped forward. To have a phone conversation with the mayor of 75,000 people and employment providers, that is saying a lot. They’ve been on a vision the mayor began in 1988 and he’s been the mayor of Sarnia since then and has championed disability inclusion issues. Those are the communities we are trying to learn from and share with and try to implement the things that they are doing. We want Evansville to thrive. We want Indianapolis to thrive. We want every single branch where we are located to reshape their thinking, but do more than that. This is a country thing. This is a long overdue mindset and shift in culture.If you want to get in contact and talk, it starts by email. [email protected] Or you can call me at any time, 812-449-3224, cell phone. If I get a bunch of calls and solicitations, I’m going to be in big trouble here. We welcome any conversation. Find me on LinkedIn, find me wherever. The more people we can meet, hang out with, talk to, and really gain some enthusiasm, the better.WADE WINGLER:  By sharing your information, you may also have opportunities to buy energy drinks or Amway or those kinds of things coming your way.BEN TROCKMAN:  Mountain Dew, Amp, Monster energy. I’m in.WADE WINGLER:  Ben Trockman is an outreach and employment specialist here at old national Bank in Evansville Indiana, good friend of mine, and has been our guest on the show today. Thanks so much.BEN TROCKMAN:  Thanks. I appreciate it.WADE WINGLER:  Do you have a question about assistive technology? Do you have a suggestion for someone we should interview on Assistive Technology Update? Call our listener line at 317-721-7124, shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAProject, or check us out on Facebook. Looking for a transcript or show notes from today’s show? Head on over to Assistive Technology Update is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. Find more shows like this plus much more over at That was your Assistance Technology Update. I’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana.***Transcript provided by TJ Cortopassi.  For transcription requests and inquiries, contact [email protected]***last_img read more