The National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center offers its corporate partners access to a diverse, experienced team of professionals – all of whom are people with disabilities.
Michael J. McGowan is the Corporate Services Specialist for the National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center. McGowan joined NBDC in 1998, and has continually taken on increased responsibilities since that time to assure that private and public sector employers have the information and technical assistance needed to meet their goals in marketing to, recruiting, hiring, employing, accommodating, retaining, and promoting individuals with disabilities.
McGowan manages the Emerging Leaders Summer Internship Program for College and Graduate Students with Disabilities. He attends College Career Fairs throughout the year, as well maintains an extensive database of college recruiters and advisors. He is also responsible for soliciting companies to participate in the program, and in that capacity he interviews intern candidate and prepares them for interviews with the participating companies. He also oversees internal participation on departmental projects, and assists the participating by providing support in choosing the most appropriate student intern candidates.
In addition, McGowan is responsible for responding to employer inquiries about a litany of issues relating to disability in the workplace. He also provides informational support for seminars and training programs, and other duties that may be required for efficient, effective delivery of services to NBDC’s corporate partners.
His experience includes providing technical assistance to support employers and individuals with disabilities through the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN), which is a service of the National Employer Policy, Research and Technical Assistance Center on the Employment of People with Disabilities, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.
He has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Queens College, NY and an Associate’s degree in Business Administration from Phoenix University Online. He resides in Queens, NY with his wife.
In 2015, Gary Karp was retained as the lead training consultant for the National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center. Karp is an internationally recognized public speaker, corporate trainer, author, and editor.
On the Fourth of July, 1973, Karp was injured in a fall from a tree at the age of eighteen. He broke two vertebrae at T12 and L1, injuring his spinal cord. He has not walked since.
Following surgery and a long hospital stay, Karp was transferred to the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan where he spent seven weeks of hard labor (as he describes it!) gaining strength and balance, and learning the range of skills and methods he would use to return to the community and live an active independent life.
He graduated with degrees in architecture from the Lawrence Technological University in his hometown of Southfield, Michigan, where he also became a student leader as president of the Lawrence student chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Having discovered his greater talent and passion in graphic design, he worked for eleven years in the presentation graphics industry, first as a production artist (on one of the earliest computer graphics systems in the early 80s), and then a production manager and vice president.
Karp is the author of three books “Life On Wheels: The A to Z Guide to Living with Mobility Issues,” and “Disability & The Art of Kissing: Questions and Answers on the True Nature of Intimacy,” all widely reviewed as definitive guides for people with disabilities. His book of essays by people with spinal cord injuries — co-edited with Stanley Klein Ph.D. — is titled “From There To Here: Stories of Adjustment to Spinal Cord Injury,” and will be available again soon as an eBook.
His investigative articles and profiles have appeared regularly in New Mobility Magazine, and he is the former Executive Editor of SCI Life, the quarterly newspaper of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA). Gary’s commentaries have been heard on KQED-FM, San Francisco’s NPR affiliate.
In November 2007, he was inducted into the Spinal Cord Injury Hall of Fame as a Disability Educator.
Karp is sponsored by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center for speaking in rehabilitation settings and to university students of physical and occupational therapy across the United States. Visit this page to learn more.
As a corporate speaker and trainer on disability and employment, Karp helps integrate a clear understanding of working with people with disabilities, who are making a historic emergence as productive employees and as consumers in a dramatically transformed society. Visit this page to learn more.
Also an accomplished musician and juggler, he has produced a CD of original guitar music and brings his juggling skills to bear in his appearances as a speaker and in his training. Gary currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his Labrador retriever Trilby, where he bakes bread, plays backgammon, and sits in as a guitarist at blues jams.