PITTSBURGH, PA – Joyce A. Bender, president and CEO of Bender Consulting Services, Inc. and international advocate for the employment and empowerment of people with disabilities, has been selected by the U.S. State Department to represent the United States in South Korea, as the leading expert on the employment of people with disabilities.  The trip is scheduled for April 16, 2016 through April 23, 2016.  During that time, Joyce will share her disability employment expertise with academic institutions, government officials, private sector businesses, advocates, and individuals with disabilities.  “Since passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 26 years ago, it is exciting to see positive action throughout the world to ensure countries respect those of us with disabilities and remove barriers to our full participation in all aspects of community life,” said the Honorable Tony Coelho, former congressman from California and author of the ADA.

As a Pittsburgh-based entrepreneur, Joyce has aligned over 1,000 people with disabilities with career opportunities and has developed expertise through her volunteer efforts serving on the boards of both the national Epilepsy Foundation and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). 

“We are thrilled to hear that Joyce’s message of freedom through competitive employment will be shared both in Seoul, as well as in South Korea’s rural areas,” said Helena Berger, CEO of the AAPD.  “As an AAPD board member and catalyst for change, Joyce’s leadership will help to increase equal opportunity and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities in South Korea.”

This is the second time Joyce will participate in the State Department’s International Information Program as an expert on the employment of people with disabilities.  In 2013, Joyce represented the United States in Panama, as the State Department sought to share best practices in disability employment to assist similar entities in the region and to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities in Panama.

“It is an honor for me to represent the United States in South Korea discussing the employment of people with disabilities,” said Joyce Bender.  “Hiring employees with disabilities impacts not only the corporate bottom line, but also the economic power, community involvement, and independence of the person with a disability.  Employment provides the opportunity for these individuals to contribute new ideas and unique perspectives in the workplace and the communities in which they live.”

As president and CEO of Bender Consulting Services, Inc., Joyce collaborates with the public and private sectors to assist them in hiring people with disabilities for competitive careers.  She advises these organizations on all aspects of disability inclusion strategy and practices.  In addition, Joyce hosts a weekly radio show, Disability Matters on www.voice.voiceamerica.com, every Tuesday, focusing on issues related to the employment and empowerment of people with disabilities.  For more information on Bender Consulting Services, Inc., visit www.benderconsult.com.