The Hershey Co. Takes Home Another Workplace Honor

The organization works to advance disability inclusion through a five-year inclusion agenda.
The Hershey Co. updated logo

HERSHEY, Pa. — The Hershey Co. is being recognized for fostering an inclusive workplace, earning a 100 percent score on the Disability Equality Index (DEI) and being named a DEI Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion.

[Read more: The Hershey Co. Earns High Marks for Workplace Culture]

The DEI was launched in 2015 by Disability:IN and The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). It is acknowledged today as the most robust disability inclusion assessment tool in business. Now in its seventh year, the DEI exists to help businesses make a positive impact on the unemployment/underemployment of people with disabilities.

"The Hershey Co. has a long-standing commitment to fostering an inclusive environment where all employees around the world can be their authentic selves as they work to bring more moments of goodness to our consumers," said Jason Reiman, senior vice president for supply chain and executive sponsor of The Hershey Co.'s Abilities First Business Resource Group (BRG). "This starts with our hiring practices and extends to each area of our business to create a positive impact on our business and communities around the world."

Diversity is a source of energy and innovation at The Hershey Co. The organization works to advance disability inclusion through a five-year inclusion agenda, including differently abled people. The candy and snack maker also incorporates disability inclusion in recruitment, employment, supplier and accommodation practices.

"Businesses have the power to drive the global advancement of disability inclusion, and we're thrilled to see more companies than ever leverage the Disability Equality Index to measure their progress. We recognize these top-scoring companies as a 'Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion' for their passion and efforts to lead the way in creating greater equity for people with disabilities in the workplace, marketplace and supply chain," said Jill Houghton, president and CEO of Disability:IN.

Other ways The Hershey Co. aims to advance disability inclusion are:

  • Enhanced internal practices and policies around talent development to maintain disability, gender representation and expand people of color representation, including the Pathways to Growth accelerated development training program for diverse cohorts in early career talent.
  • Embedding supplier diversity (including people with disabilities-owned businesses) in its official procurement policy and mandatory training for all employees responsible for making purchasing decisions.
  • Diversity ranges in the performance evaluations, including senior leadership and the executive committee.
  • Expanded resources for people manager training including but not exclusive to etiquette, language, accommodations and health services, and unconscious bias training.
  • Posting employment opportunities on with, the office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Getting Hired, as well as,, and
  • Collaborating with the Abilities First BRG to provide a space for employees to discuss new business opportunities, influence company policy and develop employees and communities where we do business.
  • Partnering with the Pennsylvania-based nonprofit Susquehanna Service Dogs to strengthen an inclusive culture and foster a community that is welcoming to all people.

"These top-scoring companies understand deeply that people with disabilities represent a tremendous source of talent and innovation for their workforce and market share for their brands, and they are trailblazers in our journey towards full disability inclusion in business," said Maria Town, president and CEO of AAPD.

[Read more: A DEI Fact Check]

The Disability Equality Index (DEI) 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. Each company receives a score, on a scale of zero to 100, with those earning 80 and above recognized as a "Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion."

The DEI is a joint initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities, the nation's largest disability rights organization, and Disability:IN, the global business disability inclusion network, to collectively advance the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Pennsylvania-based The Hershey Co. has nearly 20,000 employees globally. The company has more than 100 brand names in approximately 80 countries worldwide that drive more than $10.4 billion in annual revenues, including Hershey's, Reese's, Kit Kat, Jolly Rancher and Ice Breakers, and fast-growing salty snacks including SkinnyPop, Pirate's Booty and Dot's Homestyle Pretzels.