Embracing the Value of All at DOW

by Alveda Williams
Jan 21, 2020 9:45 AM ET
Summary: 

People living with disabilities are a unique source of talent who can deliver substantial value to our company, our customers and our communities.

Blog

Inclusion and diversity is a business imperative.

It is incorporated into our Company’s ambition – which is to become the most innovative, customer-centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company in the world.

At Dow, our employees are the very source and catalyst for Dow's innovation, value creation and sustainability. We are committed to fostering an environment where every individual is included and contributing their personal best.

People living with disabilities are a unique source of talent who can deliver substantial value to our company, our customers and our communities.

15% of the global population is living with some form of disability

Disability Employee Network Management Sponsor and Corporate Director of Plastics Circular Economy, Mike Witt, shares his experience as an ally for people with disabilities.

What is Dow’s commitment to disability inclusion?

Our disability inclusion strategy focuses on leadership engagement, inclusive company policies and the impact of the contributions made by people with disabilities across Dow to unlock the full value of our employees.  We recognize that disabilities can be visible or invisible, temporary or permanent, and our policies, practices, workplaces and culture need to support all dimensions.

What is Dow’s Disability Employee Network?

Dow’s Disability Employee Network (DEN) focuses on improving perceptions about people with disabilities and raising awareness about the contributions they make – both at work and outside of the office. DEN fosters the professional and personal success of people with disabilities through a variety of training resources, aimed at people with disabilities and leaders managing people with disabilities.  DEN participants include employees with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities and allies.  In 2019, this employee resource group increased membership by 70 percent, bringing the total to nearly 4,000 members globally.

What has inspired you to be such a champion for people with disabilities?

Dow is all about being yourself and bringing your whole self to work. My inspiration comes from my late nephew, who at the age of 21 and in his prime (as a student at Auburn University), succumbed to mental illness. Like many members of my family, I felt helpless and hopeless.

Through our work in DEN, in addition to work that is being done by our EH&S and Sustainability organization, we’re focusing on mental health and committed to helping those who need assistance (in addition to “allies” who can support) so that mental health opportunities can be recognized and assistance can be provided to those who could benefit. I’m 100% committed to my role as a champion for people with disabilities.

How does Dow attract and retain diverse talent, including people with disabilities?

We are being incredibly deliberate and on-purpose with inclusion and diversity. Dow is committed to the recruitment and development of top talent, including individuals who happen to live with a disability.

Having the best team means having a diverse team, but you cannot capitalize on those unique differences without having a culture and environment that embraces and values those differences.  Inclusion is the intentional and deliberate action we take to create a culture that embraces and values those differences.

Our dedicated members of DEN and the support of our mission at all levels of the Company is helping Dow to become an employer of choice for people with disabilities.  Dow was named to the 2019 Disability Equality Index® (DEI) “Best Places to Work”, by receiving the top score for the third year in a row.

What recruiting programs are there at Dow for people living with a disability?

Dow sponsors a Project SEARCH program at five sites in the United States and United Kingdom, giving young people with moderate intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to learn valuable career skills in a real workplace setting. Nearly 40 participants have completed Dow internships since 2016.  Learn more about Project SEARCH at Dow in this short video, Breaking Barriers.

Since 2010, Dow has been recruiting from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), at Rochester Institute of Technology for summer Co-op positions.

What is The Valuable 500, and why is Dow a member?

The Valuable 500 is a global movement putting disability on the business leadership agenda. It is aiming to have 500 multinational, private sector corporations to be the tipping-point for change and to unlock the business, social and economic value of people living with disabilities across the world. CEO, Jim Fitterling signed The Valuable 500 agreement—our promise starts at the top of our Company.  We are committed to creating opportunities for all and keeping disability inclusion on the leadership agenda.