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Richard Pimentel (born 1948) is a disability rights activist who developed significant training materials aimed to help employers integrate persons with disabilities into the workplace, and was a strong advocate for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. His life story is recounted in the film Music Within. He is today a senior partner of Milt Wright & Associates, Inc.
Timeline of work in disability employment and the ADA
- 1977: Begins conducting diversity-based disability attitude training in Portland, Oregon.
- 1981: Authors Tilting at Windmills Training Program (Windmills), an interactive disability attitude training program designed for managers and supervisors to become more objective and effectively interview and work with people with disabilities.
- 1981: Begins conducting Windmills training for US Government organizations and Fortune 500 companies. Employers trained on the Windmills training program have hired and promoted thousands of individuals with disabilities.
- 1983: Launches the first federal training program for developing jobs for persons with disabilities.
- 1984: Trains Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) staff using Windmills. Recognized as an inspirational spokesperson on disability awareness and sensitivity training.
- 1987: Aids in the development of a disability management return-to-work model for injured and recently disabled employees used throughout the nation today by major corporations and government entities.
- 1988: Co-authors AIDS in the Workplace, an attitudinal training program (the first of its kind) as requested by the President’s Committee on Employment of Persons with Disabilities, the EEOC, and the National Institute of Health (NIH) which helped reduce congressional resistance to HIV being covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- 1990: The ADA is signed into law and Richard is acknowledged by the EEOC Chair as a significant contributor to educating employers on disability employment issues.
- 1990: Consults with the EEOC on the workers compensation implications of the ADA and coauthored the ADA Workers Compensation Connection.
- 1992: Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the largest international HR group in the world, chooses Richard to co-train employer members throughout the US on the implementation of the ADA. The course was entitled "Making the ADA Work for You."
- 1997: Develops training material for the Marriott Bridges program, which has placed over 10,000 young people with disabilities into employment.
- 2001: Authors Working with People with Disabilities in a Job Placement: Job Retention Environment.
- 2007: A full-length motion picture of Richard’s life story, Music Within, is released by Warner Brothers.
- 2008: Receives an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Portland State University.
He is currently in the development stages of a new employer training program to support the transition of wounded and disabled veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan into the workforce. The focus is on post traumatic stress syndrome, traumatic brain injuries and amputations.
Richard Pimentel has authored the following:
- Developing the New Employee: Retaining and Enhancing a Diverse Workforce
- The Taking Control Process: Beyond Light Duty
- The Workers' Compensation ADA Connection
- The Return to Work Process: A Case Management Approach
- Return to Work for People with Stress and Mental Illness
- Interview with Richard Pimentel in Diversity World
- Chris Erikson, "The Warrior", New York Post, October 29, 2007.