BENTONVILLE, Ark., July 21, 2010-- Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart, today awarded $350,000 dollars to the National Organization on Disability (NOD) to support the organization’s Bridges to Business initiative, which seeks to identify and understand the gaps limiting the employment of Americans with disabilities in the workplace. According to NOD, 67 percent of Americans with disabilities are unemployed currently and this number has remained the same since World War II.
As a result of the funding, NOD and Sam’s Club will create an employment consortium in Northwest Arkansas with the aim to engage local organizations, employers and service providers to establish best practices and increase the number of people with disabilities successfully participating in the workforce.
“One of the biggest challenges affecting Americans living with disabilities is the opportunity to gain meaningful employment,” said former Governor Thomas Ridge (R-PA). Ridge serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for NOD. “Since the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law 20 years ago, we have made great strides in education and access for those with disabilities, yet their average income and employment ratesremains well below their counterparts without disabilities. Sam’s Club’s generous donation will help us educate employers on ways to recruit, hire and retain people with disabilities, working to not only improve lives, but dispel the stigma that surrounds those living with disabilities.”
A ceremonial check will be presented to Carol Glazer, NOD President, on July 21 at the Sam’s Club Home Office where company executive’s and associates will gather to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The event was organized by Walmart’s Advocates for Disability Awareness and Education Associate Resource Group (ARG). The group was created to build a sense of community among associates with disabilities and their colleagues and focuses on awareness, associate development and affecting positive change in the community, among other goals.
Special guest speakers at the event will include actor Robert David Hall from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Bonnie St. John, a nationally recognized inspirational speaker. Both are members of the NOD board of directors.
“We are pleased we can support this program and we are excited about its potential impact, said Todd Harbaugh, senior vice president and chief integration officer, Sam’s Club. “We expect this program to become a model for other employers and cities across the country, and we look forward to sharing what we learn with other companies, our suppliers, service providers and the disability community.”
In 2008, Walmart enhanced its Accommodation in Employment Policy. The changes substantially broadened the number of individuals who may receive a job aid or environmental adjustment. For the past six years, Walmart has been recognized as one of the “Top 50 Employers” for people with disabilities by CAREERS and the disABLED magazine.
For more information about Bridges to Business, contact Rebecca Catts, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam’s Club Charitable Giving Programs
Last year, Sam’s Club associates logged more than 113,879 hours to the company’s Volunteerism Always Pays grant program, which resulted in $948,000 worth of charitable grants to education, workforce development, environmental and health and wellness focused organizations. Sam’s Club also donated more than 38 million pounds of food last year to U.S. food banks through Walmart’s partnership with Feeding America; and participates in disaster assistance, events such as the Salvation Army Red Kettle Holiday Drive as well as Children’s Miracle Network fundraising. Sam’s Club members and associates help direct the company’s charitable donations through its online and in club voting program Giving Made Simple, which this year awarded $4 million to programs focused on entrepreneurship and youth education.
About Bridges to Business
Bridges to Business is a national initiative to help employers effectively recruit, hire, train, and retain job-seekers with disabilities; and to help agencies that provide job training and placement services to jobseekers with disabilities work more effectively with businesses. Bridges to Business employment program will assist employers in hiring and retaining more people with disabilities and in developing more disability-friendly workplaces by piloting new, replicable, scalable employment practices.