The Disability Equality Index (DEI) will provide a summary index of the inclusion practices of U.S. businesses regarding employment of individuals with disability. Ranging from 0 to 100, the index score will provide an objective benchmark measure. The DEI has been initiated by the combined efforts of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN).
Participation in the DEI will be voluntary. According to the AAPD, the survey will provide recognition to companies practicing inclusion, while also helping companies to identify areas in need of improvement.
The DEI survey was created by the DEI Advisory Committee. The Committee consists of business leaders, social policy experts, and advocates in the area of disability and inclusion.
In early 2014, 48 Fortune 1000 companies participated in a pilot survey, which was deemed successful by the AAPD and USBLN. Results of the pilot survey were released in June, 2014.
In July of 2014, Fortune 1000 companies in the U.S. have been invited to take the first annual DEI survey. In addition, many other large U.S. companies (i.e., privately-held U.S. companies with at least 3,000 employees) will be eligible to participate. Companies who register will receive the survey in October of 2014. Participating companies will return the surveys early in 2014, with results expected to be released in April of 2014.
Participating companies will respond to the Disability Employment Index, a self-report survey. The survey includes questions regarding the following categories: Community Engagement and Support; Enterprise-Wide Access; Employment Practices, and Services (including benefits, recruitment, employment, education, retention, advancement, and accommodations); and Culture and Leadership.
The AAPD and USBLN have been seeking companies to act as DEI Founding Partners, with 12 openings remaining available. Currently, Comcast /NBCUniversal, New Editions Consulting, Inc., and CVS Caremark have become DEI Founding Partners.
Through the DEI, individuals seeking employment will be able to identify companies with employment practices that support inclusion of individuals with disability.
As members of the neuromuscular diseases community, the Disability Employment Index can provide us with valuable information regarding companies' inclusion practices as we seek employment. This index can also provide us with valuable information as we make choices as consumers of goods and services.
AAPD website, (2014). Disability Equality Index Survey Unveiled in Preparation for October 2014 Launch. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.com/resources/press-room/press-releases/disability-equality-index-2.html on 8/1/14.
AAPD and USBLN, (2014). Disability Equality Index (DEI) FAQs. Available for download at http://www.usbln.org/programs-dei.html . Retrieved on 8/1/14.
Profiles in Diversity Journal, (2014). USBLN and AAPD launch Disability Equality Index. Retrieved from http://www.diversityjournal.com/13904-usbln-aapd-launch-disability-equality-index/ on 8/1/14.
USBLN website, (2014). About the Disability Equality Index (DEI). Retrieved from http://www.neweditions.net/DEI/ on 8/1/14.
USBLN website, (2014). Register to Participate in the 1st Annual Disability Equality Index. Retrieved from http://www.usbln.org/programs-dei.html on 8/1/14.