NEW YORK — April 28, 2022 — Understood, a social impact organization and lifelong guide for those with learning and thinking differences, like ADHD and dyslexia, today unveiled a comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) offering that includes on-demand and virtual live disability inclusion training, as well as workplace assessment and action plan services for employers invested in building inclusive workplaces.

The program launches with key partners, including the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies), which will offer Understood’s online and live virtual training to its member agencies, as well as Save the Children and Culture Amp.

This announcement comes on the heels of Understood’s “Employee DEI Experience” research, which found that while 64% of American employees feel their place of work values diversity and shows it in their actions, among that group only 47% saw neurodiversity as something that was supported by their employer.

“One in five of all of our employees learns and thinks differently, so it’s imperative to shape our workplaces to be inclusive,” said Yvonne Cowser Yancy, Chief Administrative Officer and Head of Workplace at Understood. “To do that, we need to raise awareness, build knowledge, and promote action. As experts in this space, we can help HR leaders, DEI managers, and CEOs establish more accessible, inclusive environments where people with all types of disabilities can thrive.”

The fact remains that not everyone experiences the workplace in the same way. People with disabilities are continuously left out of recruiting and hiring efforts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the 2021 unemployment rate for people with disabilities was twice that of people without. A key reason for this may be that 61% of managers and 51% of HR professionals have never participated in disability and inclusion training, according to Understood and Society for Human Resource Management’s Employing Abilities @Work Report. Meanwhile, the same study showed that less than 15% of organizations invest in disability inclusion initiatives at work.

As companies focus on improving their rhetoric and actions around neurodiversity, Understood’s workplace program is relevant to all levels and functions of an organization. By breaking down stigma and misconceptions, educating staff, and enhancing the capabilities to implement disability inclusion, this offering supports Understood’s long-standing commitment to making workplaces more equitable, supportive, and productive for all.

The product suite includes:

  • On-demand training: A self-paced, scalable online training with an evidence-based curriculum. Users create a customized experience that works best for them.
  • Virtual live training: Interactive training led by disability inclusion experts. Learners practice inclusive behavior and get tips and tools to use on the job.
  • Workplace assessment and action plan support: An in-depth analysis of processes, practices, and documents. Companies get a detailed plan to make their workplace more inclusive.

“We are proud to partner with Understood as part of our Agency Enlightenment programming,” said Sean McGlade, Senior Vice President, Talent and Learning Solutions at the 4A’s. “As agencies seek to define the future of work, it is important to educate our members about the importance of incorporating learning and thinking differences as part of their DEI strategy. By creating an environment of belonging, we will allow people to be their best selves and thereby produce impactful, creative work for their clients.”

“Save the Children’s work is fundamentally rooted in supporting children, families, and communities most impacted by inequality and discrimination, so it’s critical for our teams to learn about the experiences of those with disabilities and learning and thinking differences,” said Debbie Pollock-Berry, Chief People and Culture Officer at Save the Children. “We are proud to partner with Understood as we continue to invest in our organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and help shape a world where everyone — regardless of their backgrounds, circumstances, and abilities — is respected, supported, and empowered.”

About Understood

1 in 5 Americans have learning and thinking differences, such as ADHD and dyslexia. They are often misunderstood, undiagnosed, and dismissed, and their differences are viewed as a weakness. This leaves many on a journey that is stacked against them and costs society billions of dollars. Understood is a lifelong guide for those who learn and think differently. Today, we help more than 20 million people each year discover their potential, how to take control, find community, and stay on a positive path along each stage of life’s journey. When others join this journey, and people are broadly embraced, everyone thrives. Understood is a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation based in New York.

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