NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), today announced that it is teaming up with inspirational singer-songwriter and “America’s Got Talent” finalist Mandy Harvey on six music videos from her album expected, 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.

Harvey’s Complete Album, PAPER CUTSwill be released on January 28, with the first video for its featured song “Masterpiece“out now.” Masterpiece emphasizes positivity to overcome challenges beyond a person’s control. American Sign Language (ASL) music videos will also be released for each song on the album to make the music more accessible. The five additional music videos that Voya is sponsoring to produce will be released by mid-April, with a new video released every two weeks.

“We are proud to help share Mandy’s positive messages with the world by making her inspirational music more widely available and accessible,” said Rodney O. Martin, Jr., President and CEO of Voya Financial, Inc.

The music videos reflect Harvey and Voya’s shared commitment to advancing inclusion – with a focus on people with disabilities. They are aligned with Voya’s emphasis on serving people with disabilities and special needs, and their carers, through its Voya cares® program. Harvey, who lost his hearing at the age of 18 due to a connective tissue disorder, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, is an advocate for the deaf community.

“I’m thrilled to team up with Voya again to support inclusion and accessibility – for everyone,” said Harvey. “I hope my music and videos can inspire others to celebrate the things that make them unique, to not give up, and to show another side of what disability looks like. For example, I’m a musician and it’s think I’m proudly deaf.

This project is part of a larger movement and 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 from Voya found that eight out of 10 Americans agree that people with disabilities and special needs are an untapped talent pool and that hiring them:

  • Good business sense (83%),

  • Increase employee morale (77%),

  • Increases employee productivity (75%) and

  • Increases the overall profit of an organization (73%).1

Despite these findings, according to the US Department of Labor (DOL), the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was more than double that of people without disabilities in December 2021 – at 7.9% compared to 3.5%.2 The DOL also reported a much wider gap of 45% in the labor force participation rate for December 2021 – 22% for people with disabilities compared to 67% for people without disabilities. Additionally, misconceptions continue to spread, with 76% of Americans agreeing that hiring people with special needs or disabilities can cause challenges for managers and co-workers,3 however, studies find:

  • A high percentage (56%) of homes cost absolutely nothing to do,4 and

  • The companies that provided the most inclusive work environment for [employees with disabilities] averaged 28% higher revenues, 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 — progress toward the future they envision. Meaningful employment is an important part of achieving this future,” said Martin. “It is critical that we dispel myths and raise awareness of the many benefits of increasing employment for people with disabilities. Making hiring people with special needs a priority was an obvious choice for Voya – and should be for any business owner.

Voya is co-founder of the CEO Commission, which was created in 2018 with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to explore how people with disabilities can meaningfully contribute to the future of work. Voya is a member of the Valid 500, a global CEO community that is revolutionizing disability inclusion through leadership and business opportunity. The company has also been recognized as “Best Workplace for Disability Inclusion” for four consecutive years, scoring high on the Disability Equality Index.®which is administered by the American Association of Persons with Disabilities (AAPD) and Disability:IN.

Harvey’s “Masterpiece” Video and All Upcoming PAPER CUTS videos can be viewed at 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 technology that help Americans be well planned, well invested and well protected. Serving the needs of 14.8 million individual, professional and institutional customers, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had 2020 revenue of $7.6 billion and total assets under management and administration of $718 billion. dollars as of September 30, 2021. Place to Work” by Great Place to Work® Institute, Voya is driven and also committed to conducting its business in a socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible manner. Voya has been recognized as: one of the world’s most ethical companies® by the Ethisphere Institute; the leading financial services company among Barrons 100 Most Sustainable Companies for three consecutive years; member of the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index; and a “Best Workplace for Disability Inclusion” on the Disability Equality Index. For more information, visit voya.com. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @voya.

About VoyaCares®

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 people 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 regained her voice”, salutes PEOPLE. Rising singer-songwriter Mandy Harvey is profoundly deaf after losing her hearing at 18 to a connective tissue disorder, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. On January 28, she will then release a vulnerable collection of lessons learned and emotions uncovered with an independently funded studio album, PAPER CUTS. World famous for her uplifting performance of the original song “Try” on NBC America’s Got Talent, which earned him Simon Cowell’s “Golden Buzzer” in 2017, his audition video collectively surpassed 500 MILLION views. Dedicated to her ongoing commitment to championing the Deaf and disabled community, she is part of non-profit organizations such as No Barriers USA and “Music: Not Impossible” with Not Impossible Labs. Hailed by critics and top TV stations, Harvey has been featured on NBC Nightly NewsCNN Big big story, Dr Oz, TODAYand more, more The New York Times, NPR, entertainment tonight, PEOPLE, American songwriteramong others, with FoxNews further stating that Harvey “changes the world in a big way”.

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1 Based on results of a Voya Financial survey conducted November 23-24, 2021 on the omnibus online platform Ipsos eNation among 1,004 adults aged 18 and older in the United States

2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Disability Employment Statistics, on the Internet at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/odep/research-evaluation/statistics (visited January 22, 2022).

3 Based on results of a Voya Financial survey conducted November 23-24, 2021 on the omnibus online platform Ipsos eNation among 1,004 adults aged 18 and older in the United States

4 According to employers participating in a study by the Job Accommodation Network, a service of the Office of Disability Employment Policy of the United States Department of Labor, October 21, 2021, on the Internet at https://askjan.org/topics/costs.cfm?csSearch=2546498_1 (visited January 25, 2022).

5 Lindzon, Jared. Why companies that hire people with disabilities have outperformed their peers. Fast company. March 13, 2019. (https://www.fastcompany.com/90311742/why-companieswho-hire-people-with-disabilities-outperformed-their-peers).