Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) announced the results of the 2016 Disability Equality Index (DEI) survey, with Walmart making the list.

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

Forty-two of these companies received 100 out of 100 on the survey, which recognizes a broad range of workplace, supply chain and marketplace activities. One of those was Walmart.

“Walmart is made better every day by the contributions of our associates with disabilities,” said Ben Hasan, senior vice president and chief culture, diversity and inclusion officer. “Our score of 100 percent on the Disability Equality Index is a step toward achieving our vision of ‘everyone included.’”

Sixteen 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 and leadership, enterprise-wide access, employment practices, and community engagement and support services.

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.

“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 26th 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 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.”

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