2003 Conference Proceedings

Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 2003 Table of Contents 


MAKING THE BUSINESS WORKPLACE ACCESSIBLE TO YOUR EMPLOYEES WITH DISABILITIES

Presenter
Mylene Padolina, Microsoft Corporation
Robert Rice, BayFirst Solutions LLC

The statistics surrounding the number of companies employing people with disabilities are starting to change. Many of these worldwide organizations have begun to tap into the disability population to obtain reliable and dependable company employees. Human resources and equal employment opportunity business professionals at these companies have also begun to recognize that a large number of their employees have disabilities and that with the right support, these employees could be reaching higher levels of work performance. In addition, these business professionals not only want to adhere to federal and equal opportunity legislation and internal company policies but also want to do the right thing by providing their employees with the means they need to be able to consistently perform or outperform on their jobs at all levels within the organization. The process of assessing, selecting, procuring, implementing and evaluating accessibility or assistive technologies in the business workplace to employees with disabilities is daunting. With the myriad of available assistive technologies, solutions and training approaches, these professionals are finding it extremely difficult to know or understand where they are to begin.

Microsoft Corporation has positioned itself as being a recognized and acclaimed worldwide technological leader in ensuring the provision of accessible company products, services and assistive technologies to its disabled workforce, business partners and customers.

BayFirst Solutions LLC is a management and technology consulting firm that specializes in providing bespoke accessible managerial and technological solutions to major international corporations, the Federal government, state governments and nonprofit organizations.

The presenters will share their firsthand experiences, both from the business and AT consumer points of view, of working alongside employees with disabilities in the workplace and creating tailored individual strategies and training curriculums to ensure they have what they need, both personally and technologically, to succeed and maximize their potential for promotion.

In addition to discussing the business case for accessibility and providing cost-effective techniques and tips, these presenters will also share sets of best practices to professionals responsible or involved with the procurement and delivery of assistive technologies or accessibility in the business workplace. These best practices will include but are not limited to: understanding the business imperative of tying aspects of an organization's mission and strategic goals to the provision of diversity and accessibility in the workplace; creating internal disability policies or tailoring existing HR and EEO policies; conducting internal and external marketing; creating internal and external alliances with disability organizations, vendors and consultants; forming internal employee focus groups or task force committees; performing workplace assistive technology assessments and understanding how they differ from those commonly performed in educational settings; knowing how to effectively and efficiently procure quality and dependable assistive or accessible technologies; understanding the complex process of implementing and delivering assistive or accessible technologies across technical networks on a national or worldwide scale; and evaluating the success or performance of these technologies.

Ample time will be allowed during the presentation to answer questions from the audience and allow information- and idea-sharing regarding lessons learned, pitfalls, challenges and/or other business best practices.


Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 2003 Table of Contents 
Return to Table of Proceedings


Reprinted with author(s) permission. Author(s) retain copyright.