Empowering Special Olympics athletes, on and off the field

Heather Harper, who competes in Special Olympics swimming, basketball and softball events, sorts, scans and electronically files mail addressed to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. (Photo by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures)


While the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will showcase the incredible talent of thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities, this summer’s USA Games will also mark a milestone moment off the field. For the first time in the Special Olympics’ 50-year history, Special Olympics will offer a job fair and employer training for athletes as part of the USA Games in Seattle.

The U.S. Office of Disability Employment Policy estimates the unemployment rate of people with disabilities is twice the rate of people without disabilities. The Journey of Employment job fair aims to change that by offering the Games’ 3,000 athletes with career coaching and a chance to present their skills to employers, including Microsoft, recognizing the value of inclusive hiring. It will also offer trainings for other employers — of all sizes and across all industries — on creating or expanding inclusive hiring practices. The Journey of Employment job fair will be held at University of Washington’s Husky Union Building on July 5 and 6.

At Microsoft, we have already seen the positive impact of inclusive hiring through our Autism Hiring Program, and we’re thrilled to connect with Special Olympics athletes. As the Premier Partner of the 2018 Special Olympics Games, it’s both a privilege and incredible opportunity to support these athletes and learn more about their talents, rooted in our company’s mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.

You can read more about employers across the state who are prioritizing inclusive hiring, along with this summer’s 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, on Microsoft on the Issues.