Open Doors Organization (ODO), the Chicago-based non-profit, today announced the launch of the first-ever Aviation Access Certification Program, designed to raise the quality of and standardize service by airline wheelchair service employees nationwide. Eric Lipp, executive director, introduced the new program at ODO's fourth biennial Universal Access in Airports Conference, being held October 16-18 in Seattle, Washington.
Airport wheelchair service employees who take this program will attain certification as highly qualified and trained professionals and be entitled to wear a special patch with the ODO logo. As certified professionals, they will help customers have a better experience through proper understanding of safe and courteous wheelchair assistance, thereby achieving higher customer satisfaction. They will also understand and be able to properly meet the needs of customers with sensory and cognitive disabilities as well as those of older travelers who may have multiple needs.
"Our aim in creating this new training and certification program," Mr. Lipp said, "is to help these employees do a better, safer job and to realize how valuable their services are, thereby enhancing the quality and experience for both customers and employees. Now there will be a gold standard that includes training that was developed by people with disabilities for people with disabilities."
The overall objectives of the Aviation Access Certification Program are to:
There will be two Certification Programs.
Each Certification Program will have two versions: Certified Access Provider and Certified Access Trainer. Open Doors Organization will also launch a Certified Transfer Specialist Program for employees who specialize in the safe assistance and lifting of customers between wheelchairs, boarding chairs and airplane seats by mid-2013.
These training programs will incorporate people with disabilities in course development, specially-created video clips and also as trainers in the Certified Access Trainer Program. They will enhance and largely replace the training that is currently provided by individual companies.
Open Doors Organization, a 501(c)3 non-profit based in Chicago, is dedicated to opening doors for people with disabilities in travel and tourism. Best known for its groundbreaking research on the disability travel market, ODO has developed and delivered successful training programs and videos for not only the transportation industry - airports, airlines, trains, motor-coach companies and cruise lines - but also hotels, restaurants and cultural institutions. Please visit the ODO website, opendoorsnfp.org for full details or call 773.388.8839.
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