Fortune 500 companies lead 2016 DEI

Top scoring companies see value in participating in USBLN and AAPD

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#DEI16–Today, the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) and the
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) announce the
results of the 2016 Disability
Equality Index
® (DEI®) survey. A comprehensive
list of DEI top scoring companies deemed “2016 DEI Best Places to Work”
can be found on the DEI

The DEI was completed by 83 Fortune 1000-size companies, two-thirds of
these companies top the Fortune 500 list. 23 business segments were
represented and the industries that had the highest number of
participants include: aerospace and defense, energy and utilities,
financial services, healthcare, insurance, pharmaceuticals, professional
services, retail and telecommunications.

42 of these companies received 100 out of 100 on the survey, which
recognizes a broad range of workplace, supply chain and marketplace
activities. 16 companies scored 90 out of 100 on the survey and 11
companies received an 80 out of 100. Many of the 83 companies
participated in last year’s survey and approximately 97 percent either
maintained or increased their score.

DEI points are awarded in four major categories: Culture & Leadership,
Enterprise-wide Access, Employment Practice and Community Engagement &
Support Services. Companies receive points in any given area by
responding affirmatively to a significant portion of the numerous best
practices outlined.

A few highlights from the 2016 DEI include:

  • In the inaugural DEI, 66 percent of surveyed companies had a
    disability-focused employee resource group (ERG), with 64 percent
    having an executive sponsor (vice president or higher). The 2016 DEI
    survey revealed an increase with 84 percent of participating companies
    with an ERG, and 81 percent reporting having an executive sponsor.
  • In the inaugural DEI, 75 percent of companies reported having members
    of their senior executive teams (within first two levels of the chief
    executive officer) who showed external support of disability
    inclusion, either through board or working group membership, or
    through public statements. The 2016 DEI survey shows an increase with
    87 percent of companies reporting having members of their senior
    executive teams showing external support.

The survey gives companies an opportunity to reevaluate policies and
practices and determine where the company stands in regards to being a
best in class organization for disability inclusion practices.

“We are proud to see the year over year growth, improvement and results
from participating companies,” said Jill Houghton, Executive Director,
USBLN. “We know that policies alone don’t always translate into
inclusion. The DEI provides a roadmap for advancing disability inclusion
by enabling companies to see both strengths and areas of opportunity
that exist across their organization, and provides a means to benchmark
against their competitors and businesses as a whole. This is only the
beginning of what’s to come as companies continue to embrace the DEI and
work hard to take their disability inclusion policies and practices to
the next level.”

“As we approach the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) and celebrate our achievements, we also recommit
ourselves to ensuring all Americans with disabilities are able to
build vibrant futures for themselves and their families, and the DEI can
help make that happen,” said Helena Berger, President and CEO, AAPD.
“The DEI is an effective, non-punitive tool — as demonstrated by the
many returning companies who maintained or increased their score —
that builds a partnership between the disability and business
communities to ultimately expand employment opportunities for
individuals with disabilities and embrace the talents and skills
we bring to the workplace.”

Companies also shared what they like about the DEI survey. Here are a
few responses:

  • “What I liked the most was that it keeps us proactive and focused on
    best practices.”
  • “What I like about the DEI is that the survey questions are
    comprehensive as they relate to all areas of the company.”
  • “Helps us think about things differently and in a holistic way.”
  • “Some of the questions were truly eye opening and challenged us to
    make some important changes.”
  • “Questions are thought provoking and cause you to examine/review
    policies and practices.”

By receiving a top score on the DEI, companies demonstrate significant
business leadership, going far beyond compliance activities, driving
their business success through leading disability inclusion policies and

Registration for the 2017 DEI will open soon. Sign
on our mailing list to be notified when the registration window
opens. To learn more about the DEI, view
the DEI FAQs.

About the Disability Equality Index® (DEI®)

The DEI® is a joint initiative of the USBLN and AAPD.
Developed by the DEI
Advisory Committee
, a diverse group of business leaders, policy
experts, and disability advocates, the DEI is a national, transparent,
annual benchmarking tool that offers businesses an opportunity to
receive an objective assessment of their overall disability inclusion
policies and practices. 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.

The DEI was first introduced in 2012 and piloted in 2013-2014 with 48
companies prior to the official go-live launch of the inaugural DEI in
fall 2014, which concluded in 2015.

About the US Business Leadership Network®

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 nearly 50 Business
Leadership Network affiliates across the United States, representing
more than 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.

About the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)

The American
Association of People with Disabilities
(AAPD) is a convener,
connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and
economic power of people with disabilities. As a national
cross-disability rights organization AAPD advocates for full civil
rights for the 50+ million Americans with disabilities.


Shawna Berger,