Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Workshop Teaches Sensitivity to Customers with Disabilities

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Workshop Teaches Sensitivity to Customers with Disabilities

Article excerpt

Journal Record Staff Reporter

The best way to make employees more sensitive to issues facing customers with disabilities is to get them to experience some of the barriers themselves.

That is the purpose of a "Beyond ADA" (Americans with Disabilities Act) workshop being conducted today for employees of Boatmen's First National Bank of Oklahoma, one of the largest banks in the state.

Rhonda Strider, senior vice president of human resources at Boatmen's, said the bank has done a lot of training since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act to acquaint supervisors and managers with its requirements.

The act mandates that reasonable accommodations be made for the disabled to eliminate barriers to employment, telecommunications, transportation and public accommodation.

"This course has a different twist. We have asked the consultant to look at it from a customer perspective. We want to help employees work with the disabled and give them some tools to be more sensitive."

Strider said employees who have signed up for the voluntary course range from senior officers to tellers. Three 90-minute workshops have been filled to capacity, and the bank plans to offer the course again in the fall.

"We are trying to even the playing field for our able-bodied and disabled customers to offer them the very same quality service."

The course will help employees better understand when they should try to assist a customer coming in the door or to fill out paperwork, she said.

"We want to heighten their comfort level and make sure to be sensitive to those customers. Hopefully, this tells our customers that we're trying to be sensitive to all their needs."

Onalea Krile, training consultant and facilitator of the workshop, will take about 60 bank employees through a series of role-playing exercises using wheelchairs, walkers, blindfolds and headphones to simulate disabilities. …

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