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Ford Gets Perfect Score in 2019 Disability Equality Index

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2019 Disability Equality Index
From left to right: Stephanie Williams, Emily Obert, and Lauren Gaber accept a DEI award on behalf of Ford at the 2019 Disability:IN conference in Chicago
Photo: Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company was one of just two automakers to earn a perfect 100 out of 100 in the 2019 Disability Equality Index. The 2019 DEI marks the first time that Ford has earned the perfect score in the list from Disability:IN, which is the leading global resource for disability inclusion.

According to Ford, it improved in the enterprise-wide access category, the result of Rob Mitzel and his team’s efforts to make Ford company websites more accessible to employees with disabilities. Ford also earned all possible points in the newly introduced supplier diversity category; the Ford Supplier Diversity Development department includes a focus on business owned by individuals with disabilities as well as minority owned businesses, women-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, and LGBTQ+-owned businesses.

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Ford took the opportunity of its inclusion among the DEI Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion to highlight the story of Ford College Graduate Emily Obert, who accepted the DEI award alongside Supplier Diversity Development Manager Stephanie Williams. During her first rotation on a Ford assembly line, Obert says she missed out on bonding opportunities because it was assumed she couldn’t perform manual labor because of her disability.

But Obert overcame those misconceptions and helped launch the aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150.

“I demonstrated that I could do my job, including watching console installation on the line and troubleshooting issues,” she said. “It all worked out in the end — it just took some creative problem-solving.”

According to the 2019 Disability Equality Index, a 100 out of 100 score does not indicate perfection as much as it demonstrates best practices with respect to disability inclusion. Obert’s idea of best practices for inclusion: “Be open to having a conversation. Be open, honest, and factual, and be willing to have those emotional conversations.” Ford also earned a perfect score in the Human Rights Campaign’s U.S. Corporate Equality Index for 2018.  

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