The Disability Equality Index (DEI) is a joint initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and Disability: IN, a nonprofit organization that advises businesses on how to achieve disability inclusion and equality. It was originally developed by an advisory committee made up of a mix of business leaders, policy experts, and disability advocates, with the goal of creating “a national, transparent, annual benchmarking tool that offers businesses an opportunity to receive an objective score, on a scale of 0 to 100, on their disability inclusion policies and practices.” Companies that receive a score of 80 or above are considered “DEI Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion”, and offer a good starting place for students with learning differences or disabilities researching inclusive workplaces, as they journey towards meaningful work. It’s important to note that the DEI focuses on Fortune 1000 companies with a major U.S. presence-- you won’t find small companies or non-profits on this list.
How Were These Companies Chosen?
So how comprehensive is it? The DEI is self-reported, but it’s pretty rigorous. The assessment itself takes 30-40 hours in total staff hours for each company to complete and covers six major categories: Culture and Leadership, Enterprise-Wide Access, Employment Practices (including Benefits, Recruitment, Retention & Advancement, Community Engagement, and Supplier Diversity.