Lockheed Martin has been recognized as one of the best places to work for disability inclusion for the sixth straight year. The corporation received the top score on Disability:IN’s 2020 Disability Equality Index®, which recognizes employers for creating equitable and accessible opportunities for all potential employees.
“From the top down, leaders at every level of Lockheed Martin recognize building a culture of respect and inclusion as a top priority,” says Greg Karol, senior vice president of Human Resources at Lockheed Martin. “Being considered a best place to work for disability inclusion is a great accomplishment that speaks to the impact our business resource groups, like Able & Allies and others, have on creating a positive environment for all.”
The Disability Equality Index is a national benchmarking tool that offers Fortune 1000 businesses and America’s top 200 revenue grossing law firms an opportunity to self-report their disability inclusion policies and practices. It was developed by two national leaders, American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and Disability:IN, in consultation with a diverse group of experts in business, policy, and disability advocacy.
“The best way to attract, retain and grow talent with disabilities is to create an accessible, inclusive workplace,” says Jill Houghton, President and Chief Executive Officer, Disability:IN. “This year’s top scoring Disability Equality Index companies are demonstrating their commitment to many of the numerous leading disability inclusion practices featured in the DEI, recognizing that there’s still room for improvement. We are proud to have developed strong partnerships with corporate allies who are committed to advancing disability inclusion and equality across their businesses in the United States and around the world.”
How Lockheed Martin Achieves Disability Inclusion
Not all disabilities are apparent. You can’t tell Kim White has a disability just by looking at her. Kim White serves as an Ambassador with the Able & Allies Business Resource Group. Every year, she helps put together a leadership forum designed to bring Lockheed Martin employees from all over the country together to promote, support and discuss inclusion efforts.
“I have a silent disability. I’m severely hearing impaired, but I have never been treated differently or discriminated against for this at Lockheed Martin,” said White, who works in cybersecurity and privacy at Lockheed Martin. “I’m able to continue combining my work with our initiatives to provide high tech solutions – like a voice-to-text transcription software and an Enterprise-class Video Relay System – for our disabled employees to give them every opportunity to succeed.”
Quality and Mission Success Director, Mitch Edwards, echoes White’s sentiments, and takes it a step further. He says not only is the corporation supportive of employees with disabilities, but it’s also supportive of their families.
“I was originally very uncomfortable with self-acknowledging a disability because I did not want to appear as weak or needy,” said Edwards. “Fortunately, I had some great leaders who I had confided in when I was originally diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis. They were very supportive and focused on what I could do and knew that my condition did not keep me from performing my job with excellence.”
Edwards has been with Lockheed Martin for almost 35 years now, and through Ables & Allies, he’s been able to support multiple employees across the corporation that have been diagnosed with MS or had family members diagnosed.
“It was through talking with great leaders that I knew I could have a positive impact on others by showing them that our focus is on people’s abilities, not their disabilities. It has been an honor to be part of industrial innovation, an honor to serve our customers and our communities and an honor to see the cultural transformation to serve and support our employees and their families.”