GM Diversity:
Considering Special Needs and Disabilities

The Sounds of the Volt

We rely on our sense of sight every day for everything we do, especially when we’re out and about. But what if that sense was gone? How would you know what’s around you no matter where you were? That question was posed to Chevrolet a few years back as they were designing the Volt. With a quiet electric vehicle, how would you know the car was coming toward you if you are visually impaired?

As Chevrolet began developing the Volt’s pedestrian horn, they reached out to the National Federation of the Blind for assistance. Members of the NFB were given the chance to interact with the Volt and provide feedback on the pedestrian horn. They spent time with the Volt and paid careful attention to the sounds made by this new type of car. Because individuals with vision impairments must listen for cars to safely navigate streets and parking lots, their reactions to the Volt’s sounds were incredibly valuable to Chevrolet.

As electric vehicles continue to evolve, we’ll continue to reach out to groups like the NFB to make sure we’re keeping safety at the forefront of our newest vehicle technologies...


Special Olympics of Michigan Summer Games

All members of the GM Diversity Employee Resource Groups have the opportunity to join sub teams. This year, the Community Involvement sub team chose the Special Olympics of Michigan (SOMI) as one of their featured activities. 

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competitions, in a variety of Olympic sports, for all children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Athletes are provided the opportunity to develop their physical fitness and athletic skill, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and share these skills and friendships with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. 

This year, GMC was a Gold sponsor of the Special Olympics of Michigan, which were held on May 8, at the Macomb Community College Campus in Warren, Mich. There were over 40 volunteers present at the event, including a team of 12 from Mary Sipes team. Mary is the leadership liaison for the People with Disabilities Affinity Group.

The event began with the opening ceremony led by Mary Sipes, Vice President Global Portfolio Planning. GMC had both an Acadia and a conversion van on display, but the real excitement was on the field. The athletes competed in the 50-meter and 100-meter sprints as well as volleyball tournaments. The General Motors volunteers were assigned to be a special team of “huggers” for the 8-12 year old boys as the crossed the finished line. There was also another team of volunteers who helped write out and pin ribbons on everyone who finished. The rest were assigned to organize the waves, keep the track clear and cheer on the athletes.

Everyone who participated in the event was very moved by the experience and many asked to help organize GM volunteer involvement in event next year.