For the third year in a row, Chemonics has earned a top score in the 2023 Disability Equality Index (DEI), a comprehensive benchmarking tool that measures disability inclusion at Fortune 1000 companies and Am Law 200 firms. The designation was awarded at the Disability:IN Global Conference and Expo in July.
Disability:IN and The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) launched the DEI in 2015. Today, it is the most robust disability inclusion assessment tool in business.
Nearly 500 corporations used the DEI to benchmark their disability inclusion efforts in 2023. The 2023 DEI measured against six categories: culture and leadership; enterprise-wide access; employment practices, such as benefits, recruitment, employment, education, retention, advancement, and accommodations; community engagement; supplier diversity; and non-U.S. operations (non-weighted).
Chemonics’ senior director for diversity, equity, and inclusion, Kenya Dugger, said, “Chemonics recognizes that the more inclusive we are, the more robust our culture becomes. Receiving the Best Place to Work award for the third year in a row reflects our organization’s commitment to the inclusivity of all our teammates — from senior leadership to employee resource groups to project offices.”
Led by its Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and its employee resource group, ChemABLE, Chemonics has continued to implement initiatives and programming to strengthen disability inclusion since earning the DEI designation for the second time last year. For example, Chemonics collaborated with its university partner, Gallaudet University, to hold a half-day event in which Chemonics staff members with disabilities shared their career paths to support d/Deaf and other underrepresented students in imagining different approaches to succeeding in international development and at organizations like Chemonics. Staff and students then discussed structural barriers to jobs in development and strategized how d/Deaf candidates can navigate employment in the industry, including knowing their rights during the interview process and working with interpreters in high-stakes professional settings.
ChemABLE, one of Chemonics’ six employee resource groups, supports, represents, and advocates for the global disability community at Chemonics and beyond. Ivan Plis and Gwynn Pollard, co-chairs of ChemABLE, echoed Dugger’s sentiment: “ChemABLE is proud that Chemonics has been named a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion again, which speaks to the company’s dedication to everyone thriving at work and its commitment to assessing and improving disability inclusion. Since our first DEI, our workplace accommodations process is more transparent, and we have surpassed our federal benchmark for disability self-identification. We’re excited to keep making Chemonics a more inclusive workplace for everyone.”
Jill Houghton, president and CEO of Disability:IN, said, “We recognize these top-scoring companies as a ‘Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion’ for their passion and efforts to lead the way in creating greater equity for people with disabilities in the workplace, marketplace, and supply chain.”
These efforts do not go unnoticed by other leaders in the accessibility and disability inclusion space. Maria Town, president and CEO of AAPD remarked, “These top-scoring companies understand deeply that people with disabilities represent a tremendous source of talent and innovation for their workforce and market share for their brands, and they are trailblazers in our journey towards full disability inclusion in business.”
Learn more about the index at http://www.disabilityequalityindex.org.
Learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion at Chemonics at https://view.ceros.com/chemonics/2022-dei-report/p/1.
Banner image: Chemonics team members celebrate the company’s DEI recognition at the 2023 Disability:IN Conference in Orlando, Florida. Pictured left to right: Ivan Plis, co-chair of ChemABLE; Tahira Chaudary, diversity, equity, and inclusion senior specialist; Kenya Dugger, senior director of diversity, equity, and inclusion; Gwynn Pollard, co-chair of ChemABLE; and Ebony Gray, diversity, equity, and inclusion senior associate.