Today, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the US Business Leadership Network® (USBLN®) unveiled the second annual Disability Equality Index (DEI). We wanted to give companies several months notice of what the survey consists of before they opt to participate later this year.
Created by the DEI Advisory Committee, a diverse group of business leaders, policy experts and disability advocates, the DEI is a national, transparent online benchmarking tool that offers businesses an opportunity to receive an objective score, on a scale of zero to 100, on their overall disability inclusion policies and practices. The inaugural DEI was successfully completed with 80 Fortune 1,000 scope companies earlier this year. The second annual DEI is scheduled to launch this December.
The DEI is a joint initiative of AAPD and the USBLN. It is an aspirational, educational, recognition tool that goes far beyond legal compliance helping companies identify opportunities for continued improvement, while building their reputations as organizations that value diversity and inclusion. Very similar in overall content to the inaugural DEI, companies that participate this year will self-report on a wide-range of criteria within four categories: Culture and Leadership, Enterprise-Wide Access, Employment Practices and Community Engagement and Support Services.
“As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act this month, it’s exciting and very timely to be preparing for the launch of the second annual DEI to Fortune 1,000 companies,” said Helena Berger, acting president and CEO, AAPD. “With so many companies already embracing the DEI, we are confident that this initiative will change the landscape for disability inclusion and employment practices for years to come.”
“The feedback from business about the DEI continues to be overwhelmingly positive. Companies are telling us that the DEI enhanced internal collaboration, helped them identify areas for improvement that they wouldn’t have otherwise thought of, and resulted in several ‘aha’ moments,” said Jill Houghton, executive director, USBLN. “We are looking forward to working with employers that participate in the second annual DEI.”
“We have already heard from many companies that they are using their learnings from the inaugural DEI to improve their policies and procedures,” said Keith Wiedenkeller, chief DEI strategy officer and former chief people officer, AMC Theatres. “It’s exciting to see companies using the tool as it was designed and intended to be used. That is – to measure and recognize their progress, but also to work to achieve more and raise the bar over time.”
AAPD and the USBLN will invite Fortune magazine’s 1,000 largest publicly-traded businesses (the Fortune 1,000) to participate in the second annual DEI. Other companies or organizations that are welcome to participate in the DEI as long as they have 3,000 or more full-time employees in the U.S. include:
- Private sector (non-government) employers that are not owned by a larger U.S. incorporated entity.
- Businesses that serve as the U.S. subsidiary of a foreign-based multinational business.
- Foreign-owned private companies on behalf of their U.S. operations.
AAPD and the USBLN will open registration for the second annual DEI in September. Companies will have a couple months to register. Registered companies will then begin completing the DEI in December and will have until March 2016 to submit their responses. More details about how to register to participate and specific dates will be available in September when registration goes live.
To view the second annual DEI survey questions, click here: https://www.disabilityequalityindex.org/DEI_survey_intro.aspx.
To find out more general information about the DEI, click here: https://www.disabilityequalityindex.org/deisurvey/faqs.aspx.
About the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
The American Association of People with Disabilities is the nation’s largest disability rights organization. AAPD promotes equal opportunity, economic power, independentliving, and political participation for people with disabilities. AAPD’s members, including people with disabilities and family, friends, and supporters, represent a powerful force for change. To learn more, visit the AAPD Web site: www.aapd.com.
About the US Business Leadership Network® (USBLN®)
The US Business Leadership Network® (USBLN®) is a national non–profit that helps business drive performance by leveraging disability inclusion in the workplace, supply chain, and marketplace. The USBLN® serves as the collective voice of over 50 Business Leadership Network affiliates across the United States, representing over 5,000 businesses. Additionally, the USBLN® Disability Supplier Diversity Program® (DSDP) is the nation’s leading third party certification program for disability–owned businesses, including businesses owned by service–disabled veterans. www.usbln.org