Becky Kekula on ensuring advancement and retention for people with disabilities


There has been progress for people with disabilities gaining entry-level work but more needs to be done to ensure there is also retention and advancement, according to Becky Kekula, senior director of the Disability Equality Index (DEI), Disability:IN.

The DEI, according to Disability:IN, is “a comprehensive benchmarking tool that helps companies build a roadmap of measurable, tangible actions that they can take to achieve disability inclusion and equality.”

WorkingNation sat down with Kekula at her organization’s convening – the 2023 Disability:IN Conference in Orlando.

As senior director of the DEI, Kekula says, “The Disability Equality Index is actually a self-assessment. My job is to try to get as many eligible companies as possible to register for the DEI. Those companies who score 80, 90 and a hundred are named Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion.

Kekula notes, “We have started to collect data around self-identification in recent years. We added a question branch in the self-ID questions that allow companies to share if they’re willing – what the percentages are. We’re seeing that over 15% of the world’s population has a disability whether apparent or non-apparent.”

“The workforce numbers that are being shared with us do not even come close to that number. We revealed in this year’s Disability Equality Index report among the 485 companies who participated that 4.6% is an increase from the 4% in 2022. We think there’s a long way to go.”

Learn more about the Disability Equality Index (DEI).