Laboratory named one of the 2023 best places to work for disability inclusion
The Laboratory has a strong commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion, and is devoted to making the Laboratory a diverse, safe space for all identities. Accessibility in the workplace is crucial because it creates a space where people of all abilities and disabilities can thrive, and allows equal access to resources, including information, services, and opportunities. This year, the Laboratory has been recognized by Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities in the 2023 Disability Equality Index Report as one of the best places to work for disability inclusion. The Laboratory joins two other federally funded research and development centers, Argonne National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory, in this honor.
"The Laboratory receiving recognition as a top employer for disability inclusion reaffirms what I have always believed—that the Laboratory is a truly remarkable place to work, and it makes me feel proud to work here," said Kristen Thompson, a benefits representative in the Laboratory's Human Resources Department (HR). "But it's not just about the award and recognition; this is about the Laboratory's unwavering commitment to creating an environment where everyone can thrive and contribute."
According to the Disability:IN website, the Disability Equality Index "is a comprehensive benchmarking tool that helps companies build a roadmap of measurable, tangible actions that they can take to achieve disability inclusion and equality." Each company receives a score from 0 to 100, which measures things like their commitment to workplace accessibility, community engagement, support for individuals with disabilities, and the commitment from leadership to disability inclusion in the organization. Organizations that score 80 points or above are recognized as the "Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion." The Laboratory's submission, which was prepared by a team of contributors—including Sharon Clarke, the employee relations and leave manager of HR; Roberto Martinez, the manager of D&I talent management in HR; Kristen Thompson, a benefits representative in HR; and Emily Voytek, a data scientist in HR—earned the top possible score of 100.
"The Disability Equality Index is one of the most comprehensive benchmarking tools of its kind. It empowers organizations like the Laboratory to not only measure their progress but also create a clear roadmap for achieving disability inclusion and equity. Being recognized as a top scorer is a strong affirmation that we’re on the right path to achieving our ultimate goal—to enhance accessibility and foster a sense of belonging for all," said Sarah Larson, the deputy director of HR.
"To achieve the top possible score of 100 on the index as a first-time participant is a great accomplishment and testament to our ongoing efforts," added Clarke, who also acts as co-chair of LLACCESS, formerly the Lincoln Employees with Disabilities employee resource group. "It demonstrates success in translating accessibility and inclusion best practices into impactful action, and also serves as a reminder that the path of progress continues—there’s more work ahead of us, and we’re steadfastly committed to it."
Larson and Clarke accepted the award on the Laboratory’s behalf at the Disability:IN conference in July.