OREANDA-NEWS. October 04, 2016.  United Technologies Corporation received a high score of 80 on the 2016 Disability Equality Index (DEI), and is deemed 2016 DEI Best Places to Work. The DEI is a joint initiative between the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).

I am so pleased with UTC achieving the DEI recognition as a Best Place to Work for employment disability inclusion, said Gail Jackson, VP, Talent, Inclusion & Engagement for United Technologies. This is our first time participating in this survey and our notable score of 80 means that our hard work and renewed focus in this area of diversity and inclusion is paying off.  Our first time rating also suggests that we have runway for continuous improvement as we work to achieve a 100% rating.

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.

DEI points are awarded in four major categories: Culture & Leadership, Enterprise-wide Access, Employment Practices, 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.

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 dont 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 whats 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 of 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."

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 practices.

A comprehensive list of DEI top scoring companies deemed 2016 DEI Best Places to Work can be found on the DEI website or follow the conversation using #DEI16.

About the Disability Equality Index (DEI)

The DEI is a joint initiative of the USBLN and AAPD. Developed by the DEI AdvisoryCommittee, 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 United Technologies

United Technologies Corp., based in Farmington, Conn., provides high-technology systems and services to the building and aerospace industries. To learn more about UTC, visit the website at www.utc.com or follow the company on Twitter: @UTC.

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 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.