Employment for People With Disabilities Is Topic of Thornburgh Lecture

Issue Date: 
October 28, 2013

The founder of a national consulting firm that recruits and finds employment for people with disabilities will present a talk Nov. 6 as part of the Thornburgh Family Lecture Series on Disability Law and Policy.

Joyce Bender, the founder, president, and CEO of Pittsburgh-based Bender Consulting Services, Inc., will present the lecture “Competitive Employment, The Last Frontier: Our Journey of Removing Barriers and Overcoming Stigma.”

In 1985, Bender survived a life-threatening accident caused by epilepsy, leading to a cerebral hemorrhage requiring brain surgery. The accident left Bender with 60 percent hearing loss in one ear and inspired a passion for helping those with disabilities. She founded Bender Consulting Services in September 1995, followed by the 2001 establishment of Bender Consulting Services of Canada.

Both organizations recruit individuals with disabilities who are trained in the areas of information technology, engineering, finance and accounting, human resources, and general business for competitive career opportunities in the public and private sectors.

“You can never be free in this country without competitive employment,” Bender said. “As Americans with disabilities, we are more resolute than ever in our fight to remove barriers and overcome stigmas to ensure our freedom through competitive employment.”

In addition to her work with Bender Consulting Services, Inc., Bender chaired the board of the American Association of People with Disabilities from 2011 to 2013 and has served as a member on the boards of the Epilepsy Foundation of Western/Central Pennsylvania, Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania, and Carlow University. Bender also is vice president of board governance for Variety the Children’s Charity.

This free and public lecture will be presented at 1 p.m. Nov. 6 in Ballroom B of the University Club, 123 University Pl., Oakland. Registration is requested because seating will be limited. Please visit the Thornburgh Forum’s Web site to register. The lecture has been approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board for one hour of ethics credit.

The Thornburgh Family Lecture Series on Disability Law and Policy, dedicated to expanding the public understanding and political voice of people with disabilities, is sponsored by the Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy. After receiving the 2003 Henry B. Betts Award, Dick and Ginny Thornburgh donated the proceeds from that award to the University of Pittsburgh to establish the lecture series. The fund has been supplemented by grants from Pitt’s Office of the Chancellor and assisted by the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and the School of Law.

Thornburgh (LAW ’57), a Pitt alumnus and emeritus trustee, was a two-term governor of Pennsylvania and U.S. Attorney General under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.