Blog

Making Accessibility a Priority

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). When the ADA became law in 1990, it prohibited discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, and transportation. When the law was passed the internet was merely a tool to allow research professors to share notes. The law dealt largely with the physical world we lived in, not this virtual world where we shop, work, and play online. While the passing of this bill was certainly long overdue, I believe that employers, especially today, have an ongoing responsibility to improve the opportunities afforded to those with disabilities and create an equally accessible world for them to succeed. As the father of two sons with special needs, equal accessibility for those with disabilities is something that I’ll always take a stand for.

61 million people

The CDC reports that 1 in 4 American adults (that’s 61 million people) live with some sort of disability in the categories of mobility, cognition, hearing, vision, independent living, or self-care. That’s a large group of people with a wide range of skills that we as employers would be irresponsible to ignore. Through Sparq’s partnership with Georgia Tech Excel, a four-year college program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, we’ve had the opportunity to recruit some seriously talented junior associates in our Atlanta office. I’m also proud to serve on the Board at Ventures ATL, a non-profit organization that provides meaningful employment opportunities for adults with Autism or other developmental disabilities. It’s estimated that 80-90% of adults with Autism are unemployed, which is an unfortunate statistic considering so many of these individuals are extremely detail-oriented, logical thinkers, and have a strong technical aptitude – all sought-after skills that any employer would value.  

The Walgreens standard

Randy Lewis, a former VP at Walgreens who’s also the father of a son with special needs, pioneered a disability employment model in the company’s Anderson, SC distribution center that has truly set the standard in accessibility hiring. His model resulted in more than 10% of Walgreens’ distribution center workforce being comprised of people with disabilities. Lewis said, “The performance was the same. The safety was better. [The distribution centers] had better retention; they had less turnover. We also found better culture across the company.” 

Doing our part

At Sparq, our human resources and recruiting teams, along with our Equity Inclusion & Diversity (EI&D) Council, are working hard to make sure that we’re an attractive place to work for those with disabilities. Some of the steps we’re taking include ensuring we’re using inclusive language in our job descriptions, having quiet individual workspaces in our development centers for those who need fewer distractions, and we’re training our developers on how to make software applications that are accessible to all audiences.

I’m excited for us as an organization, because I know these efforts are going to introduce us to many talented colleagues with disabilities; people who will enrich our business in a profound way. The supportive and inclusive culture at Sparq is something we are really proud of, and by making accessibility a priority in our hiring practices, we’re making our culture a priority, too.

 

Discover More

 

About the Author:

As Sparq’s Chief Executive Officer, Monty Hamilton leads the executive team and drives the company’s overall strategy. Sparq is a unique digital engineering company focused on helping its clients realize their digital transformation strategies and creating thousands of technology careers in places where they otherwise would not exist. Monty has helped grow the firm through two private equity investments to become the largest privately held digital engineering firm with colleagues across the US and Latin America. He is a sought-after speaker on the outsourcing and domestic sourcing topic and has recently been featured on CNBC, BBC, NPR radio and at various industry conferences including IAOP, Gartner, Digital Georgia and others. In addition, recent articles depicting Sparq’s innovative outsourcing model have appeared in Business Week, CNN Money magazine, CFO magazine and CIO magazine.

Related Blogs
Blog
Feb 12, 2024

From Legacy to Leading Edge: Advancing Healthcare Through Legacy App Modernization

The modernization of legacy applications in the healthcare industry represents a particularly acute concern, more so than in any other sector. This article explores why legacy application modernization is a significantly bigger issue in healthcare compared to other industries and outlines strategic steps healthcare organizations can take to address this pressing challenge.

Read More
Blog
Feb 12, 2024

How Can Banks Improve Products for Small Businesses?

Banks are recognizing the growing needs of small businesses are intimately tied to both technological advancements and shifts in consumer behavior. In doing so, they're beginning to tailor their business banking solutions to meet these emerging requirements. In this article, Delivery Executive Kevin Ashworth shares six tools that banks can use to improve their products for small businesses.

Read More
Blog
Jan 29, 2024

Harnessing Technology to Steer Trucking Companies Through Global Supply Chain Uncertainty

A brand new wave of global supply chain challenges is set to significantly impact trucking companies this year. Now, more than ever, companies need to leverage technology to help them navigate these uncertainties. In this article, learn five ways trucking companies can harness technology to manage the challenges they'll face in 2024.

Read More
Blog
Jan 23, 2024

Unlocking the Potential of AI in Enterprise UX

Generative AI use has become widespread for many teams, but have you considered using AI for UI/UX design? For these types of projects, using AI will allow for deeper learning, higher insight and more efficient creative and production processes. In this article, Principal Consultant Ken Otte shares aspects to consider when implementing AI tools in an enterprise UX team.

Read More
noun-arrow-2025160 copy 2
noun-arrow-2025160 copy 2