12% of disabled people in France have a higher education degree French law requires businesses to have 6% of disabled people in their workforce.
Facilitating the training and professional integration of the disabled and assisting businesses in respecting their legal obligations: this is the double objective of a new initiative run by Grenoble Ecole de Management, tagged "Difference is not a disability."
Only 12% of disabled people in France have a higher-education degree. Further to this, businesses find it difficult, despite their desire, to respect the French law which requires businesses to have at least 6% of disabled people in their total workforce.
In answer to this, Grenoble Ecole de Management has established a task force group bringing together businesses and other key institutions such as Microsoft, HP, la Societe Generale, BNP Paribas etc. to meet the challenges faced by employers and people with disabilities.
In terms of Grenoble Ecole de Management's involvement
Creation of 'individualized' study tracks for students with disabilities and executives in all programs in line with their capacities, training needs and future aspirations. Courses will be adapted to meet their needs (change of rhythm, distance learning etc.).
Training will also be accessible via the 'validation of knowledge acquired through experience', notably for employees for whom the disability occurred during their career.
A coach specifically designated will be in charge of tutoring disabled students and their professors to ensure the best conditions for all involved.
Five places will be exclusively reserved for candidates with disabilities who have followed the admission post-baccalaureate procedure to enter the Grande Ecole section (alternative entry to the Grande Ecole program).
Raising awareness of students and staff
The school has already set up several initiatives to raise awareness about disability issues:
1) Since September 2008, students have the opportunity of choosing as their third language a sign language course. Via this 72-hour training, Grenoble Ecole de Management wishes to offer students - future managers - the opportunity to understand the issues of handicap-management and to broaden their perception of intercultural management.
2) Participation of a group of students to the "Handi-management project", a French educational project aimed at creating awareness amongst students of the issues surrounding the integration of the disabled in the workplace. The students will be organizing a week-long event in March 2009 which will include: testimonials; a film festival, sign language courses, 'eating in the dark' dinners; handi-sports etc. The group of students will be assessed for this project which forms part of their curriculum.
In terms of the involvement of Grenoble Ecole de Management's partners
Grenoble Ecole de Management's partners pledge to support the school's disabled students and executives in all or at least one of the areas below:
Informing students and their families of the available training at the school
Informing their employees of training opportunities in executive education at the school, notably for those for whom the disability occurred during their career.
Internship offers for disabled students
Financial aid (scholarships, and other financial assistance).
Thierry Grange, Dean, Grenoble Ecole de Management, said: "Because Grenoble Ecole de Management has always favored diverse profiles, we have developed original initiatives to allow students, regardless of their health or social background, to pursue management studies. Our new initiative "Difference is not a disability" is yet another gauge of our commitment to diversity.
Other businesses and institutions involved in this scheme alongside Grenoble Ecole de Management are: Credit Agricole, Schneider Electric, and institutions involved in assisting the disabled etc.