Effingham County Chamber of Commerce hosts 2nd annual Diversity & Inclusion Conference

Published: May. 21, 2022 at 9:47 PM EDT|Updated: May. 22, 2022 at 4:16 AM EDT

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Effingham Chamber of Commerce and the Savannah Interagency Diversity Council came together, Saturday, for the second annual Diversity and Inclusion Conference.

The conference aims to spark conversations to better understand the many dimensions of physical, mental and developmental disabilities.

Sitting in on the conference, were men and women who work in the local community.

Some, of whom, have a disability.

Andy Cripps, CEO of the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce says this year’s topics focus on how to engage people with disabilities in work environments and how to interact with them in considerate and effective ways.

Speakers took to the podium to share things like the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of disability etiquette as well as ways businesses can provide opportunities to everyone, with or without a disability.

“These are people with gifts and abilities that could help the businesses in our community. It’s just a matter of making accommodations and increasing understanding,” said Cripps.

Scott Downer was in near-fatal car accident when he was in high school.

He says he suffered a spinal cord injury and has been in a wheelchair ever since.

Downer, one of the panelists, says inclusiveness in the workplace has gotten better over the years. He says he’s had a great experience with employers who take the time to understand his disability and listen to his ideas.

“Anything that I bring to the table that’s not ADA compliant, or whatever, they’re quick to jump on board and get it accessible as possible. Or anybody that comes in and interviews with a disability if there’s any way we can accommodate them to hire them. You just can’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t look at someone’s disability and assume they can’t do something,” said Downer. Downer is the General Manager at Southern Motors Springfield.

If you’d like to hear more from Saturday’s conference the chamber will have it posted on YouTube.

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