Six new music videos plus American Sign Language music videos to be released, making music more accessible
Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), announced today that it is teaming up with inspiring singer-songwriter and “America’s Got Talent” finalist Mandy Harvey on six music videos from her anticipated album, PAPER CUTS, sharing Harvey’s messages of positivity and disability inclusion — and raising awareness of the talented pool of people with disabilities who are ready, willing and able to work.
This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220126005354/en/
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Harvey’s full-length album, PAPER CUTS, will release Jan. 28, with the first video for its featured song “Masterpiece” out now. “Masterpiece” emphasizes positivity about overcoming challenges beyond a person’s control. American Sign Language (ASL) music videos will also be released for every song on the album to support making music more accessible. The five additional music videos that Voya is sponsoring the production of will be released between now and mid-April, with one new video released every two weeks.
“We are proud to help to share Mandy’s positive messaging with the world by making her inspirational music more widely available and accessible,” said Rodney O. Martin, Jr., chairman and CEO, Voya Financial, Inc.
The music videos reflect the shared commitment of Harvey and Voya to advance inclusion – with an emphasis on people with disabilities. They are aligned with Voya’s focus on serving people with disabilities and special needs, and their caregivers, through its Voya Cares® program. Harvey, who lost her hearing when she was 18 years old as a result of a connective tissue disorder, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, is an advocate for the deaf community.
“I’m excited to team up with Voya once again in support of inclusion and accessibility – for everyone,” said Harvey. “I hope that my music and videos can inspire others to celebrate the things that make them unique, to not give up, and to show a different side of what a disability looks like. For example, I’m a musician, and I happen to be proudly deaf.”
This project is part of a broader movement and an ongoing collaboration between Voya and Harvey that calls on everyone to help build a more-inclusive global economy and advance disability inclusion in business. Recent research by Voya found that eight in 10 Americans agree that people with disabilities and special needs are an untapped talent pool and that hiring them:
- Makes good business sense (83%),
- Will increase employee morale (77%),
- Increases employee productivity (75%), and
- Increases overall profit of an organization (73%).1
Despite these findings, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was more than twice that of people without disabilities in December 2021 — at 7.9% compared with 3.5%.2 The DOL also reported a much wider 45% gap in the labor force participation rate for December of 2021 — 22% for people with disabilities vs. 67% for people without disabilities. Additionally, misconceptions continue to permeate, with 76% of Americans agreeing that hiring people with special needs or a disability may cause challenges for managers and colleagues,3 however, studies find:
- A high percentage (56%) of accommodations cost absolutely nothing to make,4 and
- Companies that offered the most inclusive working environment for [employees with disabilities] achieved an average of 28% higher revenue, 30% higher economic profit margins, and twice the net income of their industry peers between 2015 and 2018.5
“The mission of our Voya Cares program is to help all Americans – especially those with special needs and disabilities — make progress toward the future they envision. Meaningful employment is an important part of achieving that future,” said Martin. “It is critical that we dispel myths and bring awareness to the many benefits of increasing disability employment. Making the hiring of people with special needs a priority was an obvious choice for Voya — and should be for any business leader.”
Voya is a cofounder of the CEO Commission, which was established in 2018 with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to address how individuals with disabilities can meaningfully contribute to the future of work. Voya is a member of the Valuable 500, a global CEO community revolutionizing disability inclusion through business leadership and opportunity. The company has also earned recognition as a “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” for four consecutive years, with a top score on the Disability Equality Index®, which is administered by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and Disability:IN.
Harvey’s “Masterpiece” video and all upcoming PAPER CUTS videos can be viewed on Voya’s YouTube channel.
About Voya Financial®
Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), is a leading health, wealth and investment company that provides products, solutions and technologies that help Americans become well planned, well invested and well protected. Serving the needs of 14.8 million individual, workplace and institutional clients, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $7.6 billion in revenue in 2020 and $718 billion in total assets under management and administration as of Sept. 30, 2021. Certified as a “Great Place to Work” by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Voya is purpose-driven and is equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible. Voya has earned recognition as: one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute; the No. 1-ranked financial services firm among Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies for three consecutive years; a member of the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index; and a “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” on the Disability Equality Index. For more information, visit voya.com. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @Voya.
About Voya Cares®
An extension of Voya's vision and mission to help all Americans have the quality of life they seek in retirement, the Voya Cares program is committed to being a leader in making a positive difference in the lives of individuals with special needs and disabilities — as well as their families, caregivers and other providers — by offering a depth of resources focused on education, planning and solutions. Go to voyacares.com to learn more.
About Mandy Harvey
“Mandy Harvey lost her hearing – but then found her voice,” hails PEOPLE. Rising singer-songwriter Mandy Harvey is profoundly deaf after losing her hearing at 18 years old as a result of connective tissue disorder Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. On January 28, she’ll next release a vulnerable collection of lessons learned and emotions discovered with an independently-funded studio album, PAPER CUTS. Globally known for her uplifting performance of original song “Try” on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, which earned her the “Golden Buzzer” by Simon Cowell in 2017, her audition video has surpassed over 500 MILLION views collectively. Dedicated to her ongoing commitment to serve as an advocate for the deaf and disabled community, she’s part of nonprofit organizations like No Barriers USA and “Music: Not Impossible” with Not Impossible Labs. Lauded by critics and top-tier television outlets alike, Harvey’s been featured on NBC Nightly News, CNN’s Great Big Story, Dr. Oz, TODAY, and more, plus The New York Times, NPR, Entertainment Tonight, PEOPLE, American Songwriter, among others, with Fox News further stating that Harvey’s “changing the world in a big way.”
1 Based on the results of a Voya Financial survey conducted Nov. 23–24, 2021, on the Ipsos eNation omnibus online platform among 1,004 adults aged 18+ in the U.S.
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Disability Employment Statistics, on the internet at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/odep/research-evaluation/statistics (visited Jan. 22, 2022).
3 Based on the results of a Voya Financial survey conducted Nov. 23–24, 2021, on the Ipsos eNation omnibus online platform among 1,004 adults aged 18+ in the U.S.
4 According to employers participating in a study by Job Accommodation Network, a service from the U.S. Department of labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, Oct. 21, 2021, on the internet at https://askjan.org/topics/costs.cfm?csSearch=2546498_1 (visited Jan. 25, 2022).
5 Lindzon, Jared. Why companies who hire people with disabilities outperformed their peers. Fast Company. March 13, 2019. (https://www.fastcompany.com/90311742/why-companieswho-hire-people-with-disabilities-outperformed-their-peers).