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News Dec 3, 2021

Living Inclusion: Celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities

In honor of the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we’re reflecting on Jacobs’ achievements and the path ahead for disability inclusion.

World Disability Day 2021

At Jacobs, we live inclusion. It’s not about numbers, statistics or quotas - it’s about every one of our people and the collective strength we take from their unique perspectives, ambitions and dreams.

December 3 marks the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a day dedicated to celebrating the achievements and contributions of people with disability, and increasing awareness, understanding and acceptance.

This year, we have much to celebrate!

We received our first top score on the 2021 Disability Equality Index (DEI), a national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices related to disability inclusion and workplace equality.  

Our ACE employee network also recently marked 1,000 members globally. ACE – which stands for Access. Connect. Empower – champions accessibility, community and opportunity for caregivers and employees with disabilities. 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.

One of our eight employee networks, ACE plays a critical role in fostering our Culture of Caring and championing disability inclusion. Earlier this year, the network, along with our employee giving and volunteering program, Collectively™, teamed up to sponsor an assistance dog through Assistance Dogs Australia.

“Not everyone understands what parents of disabled children go through on a daily basis, but members of the ACE network do,” Paul Rendle, our technical director of intelligent transport systems and proud caregiving parent, reflected on the sponsorship in a Q&A feature for “This sponsorship exemplifies Jacobs’ commitment to supporting people with disabilities and other challenges – sponsoring an Assistance Dog that will eventually be placed with a family like mine or someone with a physical disability truly shows inclusion in the truest sense.”

Members of the ACE employee network in the region got to choose the pup’s name – Ace fittingly – through a naming competition and received pupdates as Ace progresses through his training, which includes skills to potentially support someone with Autism, physical disabilities and even former service personnel with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

ACE members also successfully advocated for Jacobs to become a founding sponsor of the Institute of Neurodiversity which promotes acceptance, community and advocacy for those living with autism, dyslexia and other different learning and thinking styles. And, Jacobs recently earned successful accreditation from Employers for Carers with the Carer Confident Level 1 Active award.

The network also supports our company efforts like our membership in The Valuable 500, an organization that seeks to ensure disability inclusion is on business leadership agendas across the globe. And this year, our ACE employee network also introduced Jacobs to PurpleSpace's Purple Light Up campaign, a global movement that celebrates and draws attention to the economic contributions of the 386 million disabled employees around the world.

In 2021, the Purple Light Up campaign’s theme is encouraging Leader to Leader Conversations between disability Employee Network Leaders and CEOs/senior leaders.

Ahead of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, senior leaders within Jacobs and our client Network Rail came together to have an open conversation about disability and the contribution of disabled employees. Run by the ACE employee network in collaboration with Network Rail’s CanDo network as part of #PurpleLightUp, this discussion is just one of the ways we’re joining with our clients to help improve disability representation in our industries.

Watch a clip from the discussion about what the future holds for disability inclusion below and stay tuned across Jacobs' social media channels for the full set of videos.

What does the future hold for disability inclusion?

In addition to the Purple Light Up campaign, the ACE employee network is also hosting a virtual webinar session featuring Executive Sponsors Patrick Hill, local ACE employee network leads and members, to raise awareness and promote discussion and conversation on International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Jacobs also changed our profile image across social media to feature purple in honor of this important celebration in our inclusive workplace.

We also recently showcased two partnerships between Jacobs and organizations devoted to promoting inclusive hiring practices – including the National Business and Disability Council (NBDC), with whom we partnered with to hire five interns during the summer of 2021, and the Australian Network on Disability, through which nine of our senior leaders mentor jobseekers with disabilities.

While International Day of Persons with Disabilities provides a great opportunity to reflect on our progress, our leadership, employee networks like ACE, and our employees will relentlessly continue advocating for better accessibility, outcomes and opportunities for people with disabilities in line with our values and as part of our commitment to the business objectives laid out in our new PlanBeyond sustainability strategy.

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We’re always looking for dynamic and engaged people to join our team. Bring your passion, your ingenuity and your vision. 

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