Creating an inclusive approach to employment
The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is more than twice that of people without, 7.9% versus 3.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One major hurdle is the job application process, where applicants with disabilities often struggle with how and when to disclose their disability and talk about needed accommodations.
J.P. Morgan alumni Charles Trunz and Jeff Chapski are on a mission to help ease this process and bring meaningful employment to all people. Trunz is executive chairman of Inclusively and Chapski an advisor. The start-up has developed a first-of-its-kind platform connecting job seekers with disabilities, mental health conditions and chronic illnesses with employers committed to cultivating diverse, inclusive and accessible workplaces.
“Every person deserves an opportunity to have meaningful and gainful employment that’s suitable to their skills and accommodations,” Trunz says. Adds Chapski, “solutions like this are so needed. It’s past the right time.”
Matching companies and candidates
With Inclusively, job seekers set up profiles that specify the accommodations they need to be successful at work and during a job interview. An algorithm matches applicants to companies that subscribe to the platform.
Job seekers apply to positions through Inclusively, and employers can also reach out to qualified candidates for an interview. Candidates can rest assured that employers on the platform are actively looking for a diverse set of candidates.
In 18 months, Inclusively has brought dozens of companies on as subscribers, and has worked with Fortune 500 and 100 companies, including JPMorgan Chase.
The startup is also well on its way, with 20,000 users, toward building a disability community where people can share and communicate, and it’s connecting with career centers at colleges and universities to bring the platform to soon-to-be graduates.
Promoting equity and equality
Trunz, who spent 21 years at J.P. Morgan, became involved in the start-up after his son introduced him to a friend in London launching a platform to help job seekers with disabilities.
“I fell in love with the concept and the idea,” Trunz says. “It’s about equality and equity. I feel very strongly that companies have a requirement and responsibility to the communities they serve, and those communities are made up of diverse people.”
Trunz invested in Inclusively before becoming its executive chairman, bringing years of experience in both finance and healthcare.
He started at J.P. Morgan in 1981 when the firm was Morgan Guaranty Trust and served in a variety of leadership roles. He was president of J.P. Morgan Securities, helping the firm get into the corporate and high yield debt and equity business. Trunz also served as both chief operating officer and chief financial officer of the Global Investment Bank. At Lab Morgan, he helped develop and launch start-ups.
While at the firm, Trunz learned the importance of character and integrity, and treating clients and employees with the utmost respect and dignity. “J.P. Morgan always had a culture and philosophy of first-class business in a first-class way,” he says.
After a family illness, he left J.P. Morgan to work closer to home in Long Island where he could better care for his four young children. He became chief operating officer at Northwell Health, New York State’s largest healthcare provider, where he had previously done volunteer work.
“It taught me about the importance of helping others and having compassion,” he says.
Trunz and Chapski crossed paths at J.P. Morgan, but then lost touch. Both graduated from Georgetown University, where Chapski launched an angel investor network several years ago. Trunz ended up advising the network’s first investment company, and the two reconnected. Trunz then brought Inclusively to the angel network.
Chapski, too, has fond memories of the four years he spent at J.P. Morgan, and he left with lessons learned that have helped him throughout his career. He joined the firm in 1992 as a trainee on the U.S. dollar swaps derivatives desk. His last two years he worked in derivatives valuations services helping develop an independent derivative valuation service. It was a start-up-like experience that prepared him well for entrepreneurship.
After J.P. Morgan, Chapski worked elsewhere in financial services, and then started his own career coaching business focused on college students and recent graduates. “J.P. Morgan is the one employer I regret leaving,” he says. To this day, he reunites each December with former J.P. Morgan colleagues.
In addition to helping develop Inclusively’s college and university recruiting program, Chapski is helping attract more employers in the finance, consulting and law industries.
For many people with disabilities, he says, there are so many hurdles when it comes to gaining employment, and some are invisible. It can be overwhelming for candidates and anxiety-producing, he says. His hope is that Inclusively’s platform will help to reduce gaps in people’s resumes and put them on a path to success.
Going forward, Trunz is excited to build partnerships with non-profits like the Special Olympics and Best Buddies. “We’re looking to expand our user population and make ourselves better known,” he says. “It’s all about, how do we positivity impact the life of one person each and every day.”
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