organization talk about how they’re
the only women at meetings.
“That’s exclusionary just by the
makeup,” she says. “When the
culture is so dominated by one
gender or race, there’s no one for
a woman or minority to look up to,
and it’s sometimes difficult just to
get a point across.”
In order to recruit and retain people of all genders, ages, races,
abilities and sexual orientations, a
corporate culture that values their
contributions must be created.
“One Asian woman in IT said to
me: ‘The job is the same whether
I work for IBM, GE or any other
major corporation. I want to work
for the company that cares for
me,’ ” explains Taborn. “If a company can show employees that it’s
interested in supporting programs
[and products] that are important
to them, that builds retention.”
What technology tools does
your company need to keep its
top talent? Consider the aging
U.S. work force. Since more than
50 percent of the labor pool will be
age 40 or older by 2010, research
group Forrester predicts a convergence between aging workers
and the need for assistive technology. These employees include not
only computer programmers, but
also financial analysts using spread-sheets, commercial airline pilots
who download flight manuals and
automotive assembly-line workers
who track data from the factory
floor. As they age, they may experience mild to severe vision, hearing, dexterity, speech and cognitive difficulties that could be addressed with assistive technology.
Closing the digital divide in the
workplace requires a commitment, dedicated leadership and
management compensation that’s
tied to diversity. According to Telle
Cell Phone Ownership by Demographic Group
Women Blacks Seniors Latinos
Source: Consumer Electronics Association
Leaders in Accessibility, Leaders in Diversity
Does your organization have the right
competitive edge to serve people with
disabilities and the aging population?
Clear corporate strategies along with
accessible and assistive technologies
are key components to meet the needs
of these important populations.
With 78 million baby boomers, 54 million people with disabilities and a growing shortage of employees, businesses
have incentives to provide accessible systems to keep valued employees working longer and to reach new customers in this important and growing market.
That’s why the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) is holding a special two-day Leadership Forum
on Accessibility in Orlando this January as part of its annual international conference on assistive technology.
“Too often, the focus in the past has been on compliance
and not the business value as it relates to access for diverse populations,” says David M. Dikter, ATIA’s executive
director. “This conference is designed to show corporate
leaders and their accessibility teams that there’s a business case to be made for providing accessible technology
that goes beyond compliance.”
The forum will be a unique opportunity for educational
sessions and networking opportunities specifically design-
ed for the enterprise environment. It is
tailored for directors of accessibility
within corporations as well as members
from marketing, IT, human resources
and quality assurance and usability, who
might have responsibility for accessibility strategies and accommodation.
Sessions will demonstrate the business case for accessibility and its associated technologies. The forum also will
feature case studies from a corporate perspective. These
case studies will illustrate how a variety of companies have
employed a team approach to develop a strategy for providing
assistive technology to their employees and their customers.
The ATIA Leadership Forum on Accessibility will be held
in Orlando, Fla., January 25 to 26. For more information, visit
the association’s Web site:
The mission of ATIA is to serve as the collective voice of
the Assistive Technology industry, so that the best products and services are delivered to people with disabilities.
ATIA represents the interests of its members to business,
government, education and the many agencies that serve
people with disabilities.
In addition to its annual conference, ATIA members are
involved in a variety of AT awareness outreach and policy
efforts throughout the year.