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AN OPEN LETTER ON EMPLOYMENT FROM MAJOR U. S. CORPORATE  EXECUTIVES

 

 

October 25, 2000

 

The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenu
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

As CEOs of leading American businesses, one of our biggest challenges is recruiting and retaining workers with the skills needed for our firms to compete and win in the global marketplace. We believe that one of the ways to meet this challenge is to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities, especially since new information and communications technologies will make it even easier for people with disabilities to participate in the workforce. We are therefore proud to commit ourselves to promoting the recruitment, hiring, and promotion of candidates and employees with disabilities.

People with disabilities also represent an untapped resource that can help fill the need for qualified and highly skilled employees. A 30-year Dupont study, for example, has indicated that employees with disabilities have above average records in job performance, dependability, attendance, and safety. Today's information technologies provide an unprecedented opportunity for people with disabilities to expand the scope of their contributions -- and for our companies to meet the growing demand for workers. To make concrete progress toward increasing the employment of people with disabilities, complementing the Federal government's recent hiring commitment, and to help our businesses grow, we will work to take the following steps:

+ Target disability in our diversity recruitment goals as we do for minorities and women, including, wherever appropriate, specific hiring targets;

+ Promote the recruitment of youth with disabilities through summer internships, mentoring programs, "career awareness" activities, and community education programs that provide employment and leadership training;

+ Create partnerships with disability organizations to identify barriers to employment for people with disabilities and to identify job candidates;

+ Include disability issues as part of our company's diversity training for all employees;

+ Incorporate images of disability in our company's internal and external promotional and marketing materials;

+ Ensure that equal access to all company programs, including social activities, is incorporated into the early planning of those programs; and 

+ Develop and promote reasonable accommodations policies, including the availability of assistive technologies.

This is important both to reach the inclusion goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act and to sustain our national economy. Despite historic economic growth, people with disabilities remain unemployed at rates unacceptably high -- several times that of the general population.

Becoming gainfully employed gives people the economic means to become more fully integrated into our society and enhances one's sense of dignity. By hiring people with disabilities in our companies we can help change the social attitudes that continue to stand in the way of full inclusion of people with disabilities.

Thank you for your leadership in this area; we look forward to working with you on this important issue.

Sincerely,

C. Michael Armstrong 
Chairman and CEO 
AT&T

Joyce Bender 
CEO/President
Bender Consulting Services

Dr. Ralph Schrader
Chairman and CEO
Booz-Allen & Hamilton

Chet Burchett
President and Chief Executive Officer
Burson-Marsteller USA

Michael D. Capellas 
President and CEO
Compaq Computer Corporation

Lon A. smith
President & CEO
Hartford Life

Mr. Ralph S. Larsen
Chairman and CEO
Johnson & Johnson

Steven A. Ballmer
President and Chief Executive Officer
Microsoft

Herb Scannell
President
Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, TV Land and TNN

Michael J. Critelli
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
Pitney Bowes

Greg Priest
President and CEO
Smartforce

Jean-Pierre Garnier, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
SmithKline Beecham

Alan MacKenzie
CEO
Takeda Pharmaceuticals America

Tom Donohue
President and CEO
US Chamber of Commerce

Iva. G. Seidenberg
President and Co-Chief Executive Officer
Verizon Communications, Inc.

 

 

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