2003 Conference Proceedings

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


OVERCOMING EMPLOYERS' CONCERNS AND OBJECTIONS TO JOB ACCOMMODATION AND ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY

Presenters
M. Wade Wingler, ATP
Manager of Technology Services
Ruth Lilly Assistive Technology Center
Easter Seals Crossroads Rehabilitation Center
4740 Kingsway Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46205
Voice: 317-466-2013
FAX: 317-466-2000
Email: wwingler@x-roads.org

Ernest J. Hall, MA
Rehabilitation Technologist
Ruth Lilly Assistive Technology Center
Easter Seals Crossroads Rehabilitation Center
1001 N. Bruce St.
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Voice: 702-526-6012
FAX: 702-921-6365
Email: ehall@x-roads.org

ABSTRACT

Employing persons with disabilities often requires the implementation of Assistive Technology. Employers often hesitate to implement the needed technology for various reasons including cost, impact on work environment, failure to understand need, and lack of knowledge related to ADA requirements. The paper will outline the intricacies of workplace accommodation focusing on the employers concerns, whether they be founded or unfounded.

DATA COLLECTION

Survey data will be collected from employers, consumers, rehabilitation counselors, and assistive technology providers to identify barriers to assistive technology implementation. The surveys will be unique to the population to which they are being sent, and will contain questions designed to gauge employers' attitudes towards assistive technology in the workplace.

Sample Questions:
Sample questions for Employers:
1. Assistive Technology is expensive.
2. I know where to locate an accredited Assistive Technology Provider.

Sample questions for Consumers:
1. My direct supervisor takes an interest in making sure my technology functions.
2. My employer is eager to work with me to improve my productivity through the use of technology.

Sample questions for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors:
1. Employers see the role of VR as helpful in the employment process.
2. Employers are willing to share the costs of implementation.

Sample questions for Assistive Technology Providers:
1. Employers are willing to work with me to implement the needed solutions.
2. Employers provide access to the appropriate resources to ensure the accommodation is implemented smoothly.

PRESENTATION

The data collected will be summarized and presented to provide participants with an overall understanding of current attitudes by surveyed parties. Presenters will outline strategies for overcoming employer concerns based on past experience and feedback provided on the surveys. Each strategy will be discussed within the context of: Requirements of the ADA, rights of consumer to obtain employment, the scope of reasonable accommodation, involvement of vocational rehabilitation, employer incentives to accommodate, and the concerns of the employer in relationship to the legal responsibility to provide accommodation.

A facilitated discussion regarding strategies and techniques for working with supervisors, human resource professionals, information technology professionals and co-workers will be conducted among session participants. Additionally, an annotated bibliography of resources on this topic will be provided to participants.

Participants will be provided with sample surveys and asked to complete an attitude survey at the start of the presentation and the end of the presentation. The opening survey will focus on the attitude of the participants towards employers. The closing survey will evaluate the impact of the information on the participants.

Sample Questions for presentation participants:
Starting Survey

My role in the employment of persons with disabilities is:

VR Counselor AT Provider Consumer Employer

Employers are willing to do what it takes to employ persons with disabilities.
Ending Survey

The strategy presented that I think is most effective in overcoming employer concerns is:

Based on the information presented, I think employers are ________ to hire persons requiring assistive technology:

More likely Less Likely No Change

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.