Bret Simpkins/Photo Courtesy LANL
BY BRET SIMPKINS
Associate Director for Facilities & Operations
Los Alamos National Laboratory
At Los Alamos National Laboratory, success lies in innovation fueled by diverse talents. July is Disability Pride Month—at the Lab and across the nation–and it is an opportunity to celebrate the history, achievements, experiences and struggles of the disability community. July 2023 also marks the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed 33 years ago this month.
In 2018, a new Employee Resource Group was formed at the Laboratory. Called the DiverseAbility ERG, its charter is to foster a more accessible and inclusive work environment for individuals with disabilities. As the Lab Champion for DiverseAbility, my role is to help this group of 157 like-minded individuals foster cultural awareness and drive change ensuring equal opportunities for employees.
In July, DiverseAbility will host the second annual Disability Celebration Month, an event highlighting individuals with disabilities and their ongoing accomplishments. Throughout the month, the Laboratory will hold social events and guest speakers for employees while also sharing the history of the disability movement and information on related topics.
Throughout the year, the Laboratory supports Diversity Equity Inclusion and Accessibility with continuing facility improvements and ADA compliance, employee trainings increasing awareness of disability issues, requesting accommodations for disabled employees and destigmatizing disability in any way possible.
The Laboratory recognizes the importance of being a role model for DEIA efforts in Northern New Mexico. By being advocates for diverse groups within our workforce, we help foster a culture of acceptance among other employers.
People of different backgrounds and perspectives are essential to the success of Los Alamos National Laboratory. Of approximately 14,000 employees, 904 identify as individuals with disabilities and another 147 identify as disabled veterans. By embracing diversity, equity and inclusion, we enable our Laboratory’s mission, our scientific breakthroughs and our commitment to the nation’s security.
Learn more about diversity at Los Alamos National Laboratory—from the makeup of the workforce to the breadth of the research—in the November 2022 edition of National Security Science magazine.
Bret Simpkins is the associate director for facilities and operations at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the champion for its DiverseAbility Employee Resource Group.