Nearing the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), I am proud to work for AT&T – one of only nineteen companies to be recognized among the best on the 2015 Disability Equality Index by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the United States Business Leadership Network (USBLN). The Disability Equality Index (DEI) measures leading disability inclusion practices that go far beyond compliance with the ADA. Like disability, the index spans many areas of life -- from employment to communications to community support.
As a business, our inclusive workforce means we are better prepared to serve older customers who face difficulty hearing, seeing or just getting around.
Our leadership's commitment at AT&T to full inclusion means more than just receiving awards. It means recognizing the contributions of our employees with disabilities. It means providing our leading innovators with the resources needed to ensure our transition to IP not only continues to support people with disabilities, but also harnesses technologies that enable people who are deaf to communicate using real time text with anyone, anywhere by using our networks rather than technology based on teletype machines. Our commitment to citizenship and sustainability means we share our best practices so that other companies can follow our example. It prepares us to include people with disabilities in emergency situations through Next Generation 911. It means being the change we all want to see in the world.
As a business, our inclusive workforce means we are better prepared to serve older customers who face difficulty hearing, seeing or just getting around. It means children with disabilities can use “cool” smartphones and tablets to read books and play games just like other students. It means that the transition home for wounded veterans is just a little easier. It means we can better support our AT&T employees who are caregivers for children with disabilities and aging parents.
It is nearly 25 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and AT&T has done a lot. From the establishment of the Corporate Accessibility Technology Office to our disability employee resource group, IDEAL, to our efforts to grow the number of employees with disabilities in our ranks, but there is still much more work to be done. I am happy to be among the ranks at our company doing this work. I am proud that AT&T is leading the way.