On Dec. 3, designated as International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3M celebrates the United Nations’ call to “leave no one behind” and supports their belief that people with disabilities should be able to enjoy the same rights and fundamental freedoms as anyone else.
As part of this belief, 3M works every day to provide an inclusive workplace culture for those with disabilities. We’re proud to have scored 100 percent on the Disability Equality Index and rank on DIVERSEability Magazine’s Best of the Best Top Disability-Friendly Companies list – and we’re committed to doing more to support people of all abilities.
Two of the major ways we work to promote this inclusive culture is by providing an Employee Resource Network for those 3Mers with disabilities and partnering with organizations to create opportunities for individuals with disabilities to work on 3M products. Learn more about these efforts:
3M’s disAbility Awareness Network provides resources for 3Mers and caregivers
In 2004, one of the first Employee Resource Networks at 3M was created for those impacted by disabilities. Currently at about 100 members in the U.S., the disAbility Awareness Network’s (dAN’s) purpose is to provide support and resources for those employees handling disabilities in the workplace, as well as for caregivers of those with disabilities. The network also strives to encourage and support 3M in hiring and retaining employees with disabilities.
“While the network has traditionally focused primarily on providing great networking and resource opportunities, we are expanding our objectives to develop and promote the leadership capabilities of our diverse and talented membership,” said Darcie Rossborough, dAN co-chair.
The group has recently brought speakers to 3M’s headquarters to talk about topics like anxiety, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for children with disabilities, and financial planning as a caregiver. They also hold meetings for those affected by specific disabilities, such as autism or mental health issues. Another goal is to add more disability-specific subgroups.
“We have made such great progress, but we have plans to do so much more,” said Darcie. Darcie is also a member of the newly formed CEO Inclusion Council, which was formed to prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives, take advantage of best practices across the company and encourage leadership to take responsibility. Fostering a stronger culture of inclusion for people with disabilities will be an area of focus for the council.
3M creates employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities
3M partners with several organizations across the nation to help provide work for individuals with disabilities. In 2014, 3M’s New Ulm, Minn., location partnered with MRCI, an organization whose mission is to create innovative and genuine opportunities for people with disabilities or disadvantages. MRCI brought two employees onsite to work in the plant, and the program has grown. Today, there are eight MRCI employees working at 3M New Ulm. As part of their initial partnership, 3M also provided machines at an offsite MRCI location where 20 MRCI employees each week learn how to package 3M tape and molding products.
Selsa Castillo, human resources representative at the New Ulm plant, said that bringing the employees to work in the 3M plant was a way to help the MRCI employees further their skills and increase awareness of diversity and inclusion at the plant. “It has really allowed us to enhance the work culture here and brings the MRCI employees great pride,” Selsa said.
“This program is great for both 3M and MRCI,” she added. “Inclusion is so important, and we are always working to find ways to help the community of New Ulm, so I have nothing but positive things to say about it.”
Other 3M locations have similar partnerships and have been recognized for creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities. 3M Fall Protection in Red Wing, Minn., was recently recognized by the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation and received their Outstanding Disability Employer Award for this partnership.
In 2018, 3M also won the R.B. Irwin Award from the National Industries for the Blind, which is the NIB’s most prestigious award given to those who have made outstanding contributions to creating and improving employment opportunities for people who are blind. 3M has, since the partnership began in 1987, provided career opportunities for more than 200 people who are blind.