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National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Recognizing the value of everyone

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a Congressionally-enacted observance that recognizes the accomplishments of those with disabilities whose work strengthens businesses and the economy.

At Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide, the company and its employees have created an employee resource group that works to represent the needs of the Fortune 100 company’s employees with diverse abilities.

More than 450 Nationwide employees are members of the Nationwide Diversabilities Resource Group, which works to provide unique insights and raise awareness that fosters greater inclusion of people with all abilities in the workplace and marketplace.

Comprised of employees from all levels of the organization that have disabilities, or whose family members and friends have disabilities, the Diversabilities Resource Group helps Nationwide find ways to make its work processes more accessible while ensuring all Nationwide employees have the resources they need to succeed, no matter their disability, said Tiffany Grinstead, Nationwide vice president of agency marketing and the company’s executive sponsor of the Diversabilities Associate Resource Group.

“One of our core values at Nationwide is that we value people. It’s part of our DNA,” said Grinstead. “Generally, about 15 percent of a company’s workforce has a disability. So, building a more disability-inclusive workplace helps everyone achieve more and has a significant impact on a business’s value.”

A primary focus is using the latest technology to not only ensure its employees have the resources they need, but also to ensure its customers do, too, Grinstead said.

Nationwide recently worked with one of its technology partners, Microsoft Corp., to develop a case study on how technology is helping Nationwide achieve its accessibility goals. To read the study and learn more about how technology sets Nationwide employees up for success while creating accessible products and services for all Nationwide customers, read the report here.

“Along with being the right thing to do, we’re using technology to build accessible products and marketing to help us reach a community of consumers with disabilities with an enormous amount of purchasing power,” Grinstead said. “In some estimates, over half a trillion dollars.”