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GSEs Recognized for Disability Inclusion

On a list of best places to work for disability inclusion and designated top performers on the 2021 Disability Equality Index are government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Fannie Mae shared in a press release that this is its second consecutive year to perform so well on the index.

The awards and the index used to measure performance are a joint initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities and Disability: IN.

The Disability Equality Index measures culture and leadership, enterprise-wide access, employment practices—including benefits, recruitment, employment, education, retention and advancement, and accommodations—community engagement, and supplier diversity.

This time around, in the emerging aftermath of a global pandemic, the index reportedly added questions about innovative technology to advance digital and remote accessibility, mental wellness benefits, services for deaf and hard-of-hearing employees, and flexible work options.

"We’re honored to again be included on the 2021 Disability Equality Index and named a best place to work for disability inclusion," said Kenneth Imo, VP, Office of Minority and Women Inclusion, Fannie Mae. "Fannie Mae promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion because they are central to our culture, business, and mission, and are integral to facilitating equitable and sustainable access to homeownership and quality affordable rental housing across America."

Fannie Mae went on to outline its commitment to attract, engage, and retain a diverse workforce by way of some of the following initiatives.

  • Fannie Mae fosters employee resource groups that provide awareness and resources for staffers. Its In-Visible Inclusion ERG, for example, hosts educational sessions, such as Americans with Disability 101 and American Sign Language workshops.
  • The GSE partners with external disability inclusion organizations, including Getting Hired—an organization dedicated to helping inclusive employers connect with and expand recruitment of professionals and veterans with disabilities—and  Disability: IN, which works with 270 corporations to facilitate good practices.
  • The enterprise provides dedicated resource pages where employees can easily access information about its workplace accommodations, technology accessibility, and productivity features. Fannie Mae also hosts accessibility labs to introduce employees to technology features that promote accessibility.
  • Fannie invites its employees to join Courageous Conversations, safe space sessions where participants engage in candid dialogue on sensitive topics.
  • The company provides an assortment of tools, training, and resources intended to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion awareness.
  • The GSE also has introduced a campaign for its employees to voluntarily self-identify as a person with a disability, which, the company reports, helps it better fulfill its commitment to a diverse and inclusive workforce.

While it has not released a statement, the government-sponsored enterprise Freddie Mac also made the list. Both GSEs scored a 100% on the index. Diversity: IN reports that a score of 100 does not mean to convey perfection.

"AAPD and Disability:IN recognize that there is no one right way to practice inclusion, and that some practices may be more practical for some companies or industries than others," according to the organization's literature. "A score of 100 on the DEI means a company adheres to many of the numerous disability inclusion practices featured in the DEI."

The full list of companies with a 100% score is available on Disabilityin.org.

About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media and Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning News, among others. Contact Christina at christina.hughesbabb@thefivestar.com.
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