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Lumen Lede

Lumen partners with Texthelp to offer life-changing tech to neurodiverse employees; DisabilityIN names Lumen Best Place to Work
December 5, 2023

According to Lumen’s FRIENDS (Friends Respecting Inspiring Everyone Needing Disability Support) Employee Resource Group, being a neurodiverse employee at a tech company like Lumen can present unique struggles to communicate effectively and professionally. These employees asked for better tools to support them.

In stepped Deb Andersson, Senior Analyst – Contracts and Compliance, who is Global Chair for FRIENDS, which has a membership of over 800 Lumen employees. The mission of FRIENDS is to bring awareness to the different forms of disabilities, provide education and resources, and lend a helping hand to others who need a friend.

“I was happy to research, and after reviewing multiple possibilities we found Texthelp’s Read&Write for Work, which offered the most complete solution for members,” Deb said. “It will provide the tools to allow employees to break down barriers and to showcase their best self at work and benefit not only our neurodiverse employees, but all Lumen employees and their families.”

Lumen Vice President Enterprise Digital Journey and FRIENDS ERG executive sponsor Bryan Horne is enthusiastic about Texthelp’s potential to be a life-changer for many neurodiverse employees. Lumen is now among other global companies like KPMG and PWC who have also partnered with Texthelp.

“Lumen wins as our employees win,” says Bryan. “Providing software that eases the day-to-day experience while promoting a healthier, more productive workplace for those with neurodiverse conditions is a huge win for our employees and their families. This is what winning through inclusion, care, and compassion looks like. This is Lumen.”

Starting in January 2024, Lumen will make Texthelp’s Read&Write for Work software available to all of the company’s employees. Read&Write is currently being used by more than 50 million people worldwide. Its inclusive features help people at work to unlock their full potential. It gives employees a choice in how they engage with content, complete tasks, and communicate with colleagues.

Lumen will also extend their Read&Write offering to their employees’ family members for freemade possible through Texthelp's Free for Family initiative. With a goal to advance the literacy and understanding of one billion people by 2030, Texthelp introduced this initiative last year to make a bigger impact for inclusion and the community they exist to serve. Being able to gift Read&Write to the people they value the most will have a valuable impact on the employees at Lumen.

Speaking on the partnership, Martin McKay, CEO and Founder of Texthelp shares, “Lumen and Texthelp both understand that people do their best when they have the right tools and support. We're excited to partner with Lumen as their inclusive technology provider and believe that we can make a big difference together in supporting neurodiversity at their company. As partners with Disability:IN, we're also thrilled to see Lumen being recognized on their 2023 list of Best Places to Work. We're excited about our partnership with Lumen, confident that this is just the beginning of a successful collaboration using technology to enhance disability inclusion.”

In October, Disability:IN, a nonprofit resource for business disability inclusion that counts more than 500 global corporations in its network, ranked Lumen as one of the 2023 Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion on its Disability Equality Index (DEI) for its efforts at creating a workplace that emphasizes disability inclusion. The award was presented at the recent 2023 Disability:IN Global Conference in Orlando. India Sylvester, Lumen Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, accepted the award at the conference and was part of a panel discussion called Follow the Leader: Equipping Managers for Effective Disability Inclusion

“Inclusive leadership drives sustainable growth and performance by including the estimated 1+ billion people around the world with a disability. We are proud to work with Lumen in building an inclusive economy for all,” exclaimed Jill Houghton, President & CEO, Disability:IN.

At Lumen, the grassroots efforts of FRIENDS and all of our employee resource groups are helping to create an inclusive work culture where everyone can be their authentic selves. Our ERGs play a critical role by supporting employee career development and engagement. And equally important, these groups help connect us with our increasingly diverse customer base,” Sylvester says. “This partnership speaks volumes to how Lumen embraces diversity, demonstrates how ERGs are integral to elevating inclusion for everyone, and brings awareness of the skills all employees bring to their jobs. We are walking the walk by actively supporting our employees because we know this can unlock their potential.”

Lumen’s active support of employees with disabilities has earned numerous industry accolades in addition to this recognition from Disability:IN including Lumen  being featured on Forbes’ list of the 2022 Best Employer for Diversity and ranking #12 in the Top 50 Employers for Persons with Disabilities list worldwide by Careers & the disABLED Magazine.

Learn more about Lumen’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging here.