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Purpose, Strategy & Culture

A Longstanding Partnership with National Organization on Disability Enables Disability Inclusion in New Ways

Hershey celebrates National Organization on Disability’s 40th anniversary and being recognized as a 2022 Leading Disability Employer.
Lisa Slater
Manager, Diversity Inclusion and Engagement

Key Takeaways:

    -As the National Organization on Disability (NOD) celebrates their 40th anniversary this year, we celebrate our partnership and how they have been instrumental in our disability inclusion in the workplace for current and prospective employees. -We’re proud to share that we were recognized as a 2022 NOD Leading Disability Employer, which shows our team’s dedication in creating and maintaining an inclusive culture for employees living with disabilities. -NOD partners with our Hershey’s Abilities First Business Resource Group to provide guidance for the greater organization.
Hershey congratulates NOD on its 40th anniversary and we are thankful for our partnership with the organization. The organization held a celebration of its history and legacy on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. and we were happy to be a part of it! NOD has helped make Hershey a better company.  

We are thrilled to announce that Hershey has been recognized as a NOD 2022 Leading Disability Employer. The NOD Leading Disability Employer Seal recognizes companies for measuring and achieving strong talent outcomes for people with disabilities. Hershey has been a recipient of the Leading Disability Employer Seal since 2016. Receiving NOD’s Leading Disability Employer Seal Award shows our team’s dedication in creating and maintaining an inclusive culture for employees living with disabilities. We believe this recognition is a differentiator for Hershey when potential employees are considering our company, as well as a point of pride for our current employees. 

Here is how NOD and Hershey have collaborated: 
  • NOD assisted Hershey’s Abilities First Business Resource Group with guidance to shape the strategy, design, mission and goals of the group.  
  • Hershey’s Abilities First Business Resource Group hosted the Choose Disability Inclusion session in partnership with NOD. The session was facilitated by Charles Catherine, director of corporate and governmental relations at NOD. The conversation increased awareness and understanding of individuals with disabilities, provided insight into understanding the plurality behind the word disability and discussed specific strategies for interacting with individuals with various disabilities. 
  • NOD offered technology and accessibility insights that we implemented at the start of the pandemic. We now offer closed captioning, which we use at all of our Town Halls. This is key for disabled employees and a boon for all employees. 
  • Since 2015, Hershey has raised six dogs on campus in partnership with Susquehanna Service Dogs. We used NOD’s data for the program. Our service dog placement rate is 66% and outpaces the national average. This is in part because the dogs receive rare exposure to corporate work environments. As the lead of this program and a puppy raiser myself, I am so proud of what this partnership has achieved. In fact, we have a new puppy in our program, meet SSD Paqui! Stay tuned for more SSD Paqui on our company social channels in the months ahead.  

We would also like to express our gratitude for having the opportunity to partner with Governor Tom Ridge, who was honored at the September 29 NOD event. Pictured here is a team of Hershey employees who attended the event along with Hershey-raised service dog, SSD Hotchee! Governor Ridge has had a great influence on The Hershey Company’s culture. Through his work on both the Hershey Board of Directors and as a longtime chairman emeritus of the NOD board, he has inspired a deep commitment to disability inclusion. He consistently reminds us that the disability community acts as a DEI umbrella, spanning all segments of diversity. Here’s to the incredible passion shown by NOD and Governor Ridge to improve the lives of people with disabilities!  

We look forward to a continued partnership with NOD.