For the first time at its annual convention, the National Automobile Dealers Association will offer a workshop on workplace diversity.
The 95-minute workshop, 'Diversity Initiatives that Work,' will be held three times during the convention (see schedule after Page 16i), which will be held Jan. 22-25 in Orlando, Fla.
Sheila Vaden-Williams, executive director of the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers, will conduct the workshop.
NADA spokesman Mike Morrissey said human resources has long been a priority for the dealer group and that NAMAD is a leader in tackling diversity issues in the retail auto industry.
'We try to create workshops that cover all aspects of dealership operations; this is as important a (workshop) as an accounting class or a parts inventory class,' Morrissey said.
Morrissey said NADA research shows that women have made significant progress in obtaining dealership sales and management positions.
He said NADA does not have information a-bout minority employment in dealerships.
While issues concerning race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation are obvious diversity topics, Vaden- Williams said the workshop also will cover other issues such as benefits, flexible hours, parental and marital status and physical mobility.
'Not only are we trying to market to a diverse group of people, we're trying to recruit from a diverse group as well,' Vaden-Williams said.
Still, race is the biggest single challenge facing those concerned about diversity Vaden-Williams said.
'By 2010 it is predicted that one-third of the American population will be people of color, and it will be 50 percent by 2050,' she said. 'We're at 28 percent now. Creating an environment that works - that's what diversity is all about.'