Submitted by O-I Glass, Inc.
In 2018, O-I’s Rio de Janeiro plant employees asked management a vital question: What was the best way to connect with the plant’s 17 deaf employees? During a Diversity and Inclusion training on unconscious biases, the question came from shop floor employees.
After discussing with the Unlimited Employee Resource Group (ERG) team for the entire employee base, leadership created a simple but powerful inclusivity initiative. This program would include training in Brazilian Sign Language (BSL), also called Libras, or Língua Brasileira de Sinais.
“We identified that we had more than 30 deaf employees in our factories in Americas South. As a result, we realized that it was essential to create a sign language training program,” said Hadailton Sousa, People & Culture Manager at O-I Rio de Janeiro.
The Libras program, aligned with O-I’s diversity, teamwork, and integrity values, was introduced in 2019. Twelve employees from People & Culture, EHS, and Manufacturing took part in the introductory proficiency course in its first wave.
“After five months, the impact at the plant level was noticeable and very positive,” says Sousa. “Diversity and inclusion are important for our company, so we understood that it was necessary to take action to make diversity a reality in our daily lives.”
The Libras program takes place over five months with 40 hours of training. Each semester a new class begins. The Rio De Janeiro plant offers the course in-person, online, and recorded. There are assessments by period. A virtual assistant facilitates learning and makes sure videos and online training are available. By graduation, students understand primary sign language, enabling them to communicate with their deaf and hard-of-hearing colleagues.
“Brazil’s deaf community is very well-connected and very active,” says Phillipe Nathan, People & Culture Business Partner at O-I Rio de Janeiro. “You can find Libras everywhere, so training our employees in its use is both practical and appropriate.”
To date, 12 people have completed the course. According to Nathan, employee interest in the Libras training program grows as conversations about diversity and inclusion continue within the plant. As a result, he said the plant’s leadership will schedule a new class for 2022.
At O-I Glass, Inc. (NYSE: OI), we love glass and we’re proud to be one of the leading producers of glass bottles and jars around the globe. Glass is not only beautiful, it’s also pure and completely recyclable, making it the most sustainable rigid packaging material. Headquartered in Perrysburg, Ohio (USA), O-I is the preferred partner for many of the world’s leading food and beverage brands. We innovate in line with customers’ needs to create iconic packaging that builds brands around the world. Led by our diverse team of more than 25,000 people across 72 plants in 20 countries, O-I achieved revenues of $6.1 billion in 2020.
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