Paychecks Not Pity®

In 2001, Bender Consulting launched its first Bender Leadership Academy in partnership with CSC in Newark Delaware.  The program welcomed high school juniors and seniors with disabilities from four high schools in the area to attend four classes, held quarterly throughout the school year and hosted by a sponsor company, to have Joyce Bender deliver training to prepare students with disabilities for the world of work.  What began as a one year initiative with four school districts in Delaware has expanded and been replicated to include school districts in the Pittsburgh area.  The objective of the Bender Leadership Academy is to build the pipeline of talent with disabilities, making the youth of today the employees of tomorrow.

Joyce delivers the Bender Paychecks Not Pity® training, which covers workplace essentials such as:

  • Maintaining strong attendance
  • Demonstrating honesty and integrity
  • Exhibiting a positive attitude and taking initiative
  • Presenting a professional appearance
  • Creating an articulate resume
  • Conducting an engaging interview
  • Remaining accountable at work
  • Collaborating on teams
  • Respecting diversity
  • Standing up to bullying
  • Building self-confidence

Students also have the opportunity to have their resumes evaluated, practice public speaking and interviewing skills, and make presentations as part of small groups.  Guest speakers have included corporate executives, national disability advocates, and political leaders such as former Delaware governor Jack Markell, when he launched his signature program during his tenure as chair of the National Governor’s Association, A Better Bottom Line: Employing Individuals with Disabilities.

Now in its sixteenth year, the Bender Leadership Academy has helped hundreds of youth with disabilities work toward goals they previously saw as unreachable, such as college, a competitive position in their field of interest, or a career in disability advocacy and political activism.

Corporate hosts of the Bender Leadership Academies include:

  • Calgon Carbon
  • Covestro
  • CSC
  • Highmark

Students are served in the following school districts and programs:


  • Beaver County
  • Fox Chapel
  • Pittsburgh Public Schools


  • Christina School District
  • VoTech of Delaware
  • Service Source of Delaware

If you are an educator interested in starting a Bender Leadership Academy or receiving the Paychecks Not Pity® training in your school district for students with disabilities, or if you are a corporate thought leader interested in hosting a Bender Leadership Academy at your company, contact us at or at (412) 787-8567.