TogetherBeyond TogetherBeyond
News Jul 26, 2023

Celebrating Disability Pride Month with Jacobs ACE Employee Network

This Disability Pride Month we’ve got much to celebrate, including our top score on the 2023 Disability Equality Index.

Jacobs 2023 Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion

At Jacobs, we want people to feel included, that they belong, and that there is no limit to who they can be and what we can achieve together.

July is Disability Pride Month, a month-long celebration honoring diversity and difference among the disabled community and highlighting ways to better support colleagues in our workplaces. July marks the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, landmark legislation that broke down barriers to inclusion in society. But some barriers still exist, which is why celebrations like these are so important.

So, while we’re continuously advocating for a more inclusive workplace, industry and world, we’re taking a moment to celebrate several key milestones in our inclusion journey in honor of Disability Pride Month:

We again earned the top score in the 2023 Disability Equality Index (DEI), a national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices related to disability inclusion and workplace equality.  

"Another proud year for Jacobs, as we celebrate our achievement in scoring top on the DEI," says Jacobs SVP and ACE Co-Executive Sponsor Tom Meinhart. "But we don’t stop there; we recognize there is still a lot to do on our disability inclusion journey across all regions, and our ACE network leadership and growing membership are instrumental in shaping our culture.”

On that growth note, the ACE employee network recently marked 2,675 members globally. ACE – which stands for Access. Connect. Empower – champions accessibility, community and opportunity for caregivers and employees with disabilities. As one of our eight employee networks, ACE plays a critical role in fostering our inclusive culture and championing disability inclusion. The network provides information, resources and networking, runs awareness events and advocates for positive change. Anyone in the company can join ACE to be a better ally and learn more.

“Seeing the awareness of promotion and positivity of neurodiversity across Jacobs thanks to the ACE employee network gave me the confidence of no longer fearing ‘being found out’ that I am neurodivergent,” shares Leigh Hulme, a principal GIS consultant on our team and one of ACE’s members. “Neurodiversity in the workplace is something to be proud of and the ACE employee network at Jacobs gave me the confidence to let dyslexia be my superpower, rather than my weakness.”

“There are loads of things I like about ACE, such as the sunflower lanyards, dyslexic email signature, the internal guidebook for colleagues, managers and neurodivergent employees, and most of all – giving me a platform and confidence to share my story with people outside of the network and a safe space to talk about issues,” he adds.

In Europe, ACE, supported by our BeyondZero teams, is rolling out sunflower lanyards in our offices. The sunflower lanyards are an increasingly popular campaign where people (or their caregivers) with a ‘hidden’ disability wear a sunflower lanyard or identification card to visually signal to others to be considerate and discourage automatic assumptions. Sunflower lanyards and a more discrete pin option are now available in our pilot offices: Birmingham, Dublin, Glasgow, Krakow, London and Manchester, with Australia planned for next month, the rest of Europe planned in 2023 and other regions to follow. And just in time for Disability Pride Month, a new digital sunflower sticker is now available for our team to use as a profile picture frame across Microsoft Teams, our intranet, LinkedIn and other channels where appropriate.

Additionally, ACE is teaming up with our giving and volunteering program, Collectively℠ to offer a Disability Pride Month opportunity for our teammates to support organizations such as the National Disability Rights Network, American Association of People with Disabilities, The Arc, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund and World Institute on Disability. ACE previously partnered with Collectively to sponsor an assistance dog through Assistance Dogs Australia.

Jacobs became a founding member of the Institute of Neurodiversity – which promotes acceptance, community and advocacy for those living with autism, dyslexia and other different learning and thinking styles – thanks to successful advocacy from ACE. The network also supports our membership in The Valuable 500, an organization that seeks to ensure disability inclusion is on business leadership agendas across the globe; and participation in PurpleSpace's Purple Light Up campaign, a global movement that celebrates and draws attention to the economic contributions of disabled employees around the world.

While Disability Pride Month provides a great opportunity to reflect on our progress, our leadership and employee networks like ACE, we’ll relentlessly continue advocating for better accessibility, outcomes and opportunities for people with disabilities in line with our values and sustainable business objectives. For us, inclusion is about tangible action that drives meaningful, measurable change both in our company and in the communities we serve. It means creating a culture of belonging where everyone can thrive — a culture that we call TogetherBeyond℠ and that’s integral to our Boldly Moving Forward strategy.