September 16, 2016
Boeing Supports Disability Inclusion in the Workplace

Guest blog: Ryan Gibson, 787 Lighting Systems Senior Engineer, The Boeing Company; he also helps guide Boeing’s corporate partnership with USBLN.

I have been a lighting systems engineer with The Boeing Company for ten years.

I have always appreciated the value that Boeing places on a diverse workforce and inclusive culture. Boeing’s score of 100 out of 100 on the 2016 Disability Equality Index is a testament to the company’s leadership of diversity and inclusion efforts in the community and throughout industry.

In my time with Boeing, I’ve had the chance to help enable improved communication between deaf employees and their colleagues, such as through the use of video relay phone services and on-site sign language interpreters.

A few years ago, for example, when Boeing was considering utilizing a single mobile communications platform for all users, I became engaged to ensure that this policy (and the selected platform) would be inclusive enough for the specific needs of people with different abilities.

I coordinated with Boeing’s mobile communications team to set up a community of users to test and provide feedback on the various phone platforms and models from across The Boeing Company. Thanks to Boeing’s strong business resource group dedicated to ability awareness (I serve on the board of Boeing’s Employees Abilities Awareness Association), we were able to collect employee-user data from five key areas: Blind/Visually Impaired, Cognition, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Mobility – Manipulation, and Speech.

Boeing evaluated each phone option based on this feedback and selected multiple platforms and a menu of devices that suited the needs of people with different abilities throughout the company.

The testing will continue as new phones are released and more features are added. (The testers’ feedback has also been passed back to phone manufacturers and app developers for further technology improvement that could benefit all users.)

My involvement in this project has reaffirmed my appreciation of Boeing’s commitment to inclusivity and to ensuring that people with different abilities have every opportunity for personal and professional success.

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