Throughout the history of Ford Motor Company, inclusion has been as much a part of the company's success as the great products our diverse employee base has created.
Ford is a leader in diversity & inclusion, and both remain key Ford business strategies. You’ll find diversity at every level of the company, from the boardroom to the design studio, from the plant floors to the engineering centers. Ford’s senior executive leadership team fully endorses this model and takes great pride in celebrating our workforce that reflects the society in which we live and work. Our diversity makes us a better company, a stronger company, by bringing in fresh ideas, perspectives, experiences and life responsibilities, and by fostering a truly collaborative workplace.
When we say that Ford is a leader in diversity, this isn't just our opinion. We have received numerous awards in recent years from publications and organizations recognizing the value the company places on building a diverse and inclusive culture. Read more about external recognition of Ford’s diversity achievements.
Ford Motor Company is an equal opportunity employer committed to a culturally diverse workforce. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, age, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status or protected veteran status. Ford Motor Company also is committed to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment such persons.
Our Diversity and Inclusion Vision is to have a diverse and inclusive environment that fosters skilled and motivated people working together to drive innovation and deliver results in support of our core business and emerging opportunities.
It encourages Ford employees to:
- Maximize their professional and personal growth
- Recognize and respect the whole person
- Value the differences in employees' background, experience, knowledge and skills
- Maximize the benefits derived from a diverse workforce
To focus our activities on achieving our vision, we identified five Strategic Areas of Focus:
- Leading the Way
- Diverse Workforce
- Respectful and Inclusive Work Environment
- Worklife Flexibility
- Strategic Partnerships
To work inclusively across our global enterprise, we embed our Strategic Areas of Focus into every part of our business.
It is important that we embed our Diversity & Inclusion strategies into every part of our company, to leverage our innovative workforce, compete in the marketplace, and to serve the community. Therefore, Diversity & Inclusion is a collaborative effort across our entire enterprise. Some of our cross-functional collaboration includes working with: Employee Resource Groups, Ford Fund & Community Services, Minority Dealer Operations, Recruiting, Supplier Diversity, and Worklife Flexibility & Benefits Programs.
Ford has demonstrated commitment to both diversity and inclusion by endorsing and leveraging the power of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). ERG’s are organizations of employees who share similar characteristics or life experiences, and desire to use those similarities to create cross-functional workplace connections, provide professional development and advance business imperatives. Ford’s ERG’s were started in the early 1990s and now include thousands of employees in a number of organizations throughout the world. Ford’s senior leaders actively demonstrate visible commitment to diversity and inclusion by serving as key sponsors to our ERGs, which provide support, guidance and resources. As a result, our ERGs have supported our company by helping the business to attract, develop and retain talent. They hold educational and cultural events and support many diversity-related efforts such as college campus recruiting. Participation is open to all Ford employees. Read more about each ERG at Ford.
Ford Fund & Community Services leads our corporate citizen initiatives in the communities we serve by supporting not-for-profit organizations in three major areas: Education, Community Development, and Auto Safety. Since 1949, Ford Fund & Community Services has provided more than $1 billion in investments with partners who help us drive a brighter future, and have placed a high priority on supporting organizations that promote diversity and inclusion.
Specifics around the major areas include:
Ford Fund provides more than $1 million in scholarships through organizations such as:
- Hispanic College Fund
- United Negro College Fund
- Society for Automotive Engineers
- National Future Farmers of America Foundation
Ford Fund has a global reach, helping environmental efforts, hunger relief activities, and recognition events for selfless champions of volunteerism. Additionally, Ford Fund sponsors the Global Week of Caring where Ford Employees participate in more than 300 projects across the globe and touch over 2 million lives in more than 30 countries.
The Ford Driving Skills for Life program provides valuable hands on experience for new drivers. Since 2003, more than 500,000 high school students and new drivers around the world have participated and gained essential skills to avoid accidents.
Read More about Ford Fund & Community Services.
Diversity and inclusiveness are part of Ford’s DNA, and growing a strong minority presence in our dealerships remains a key focus. At year-end 2013, Ford had 164 minority-owned dealerships, which represents 5 percent of our 3,263 U.S. Ford and Lincoln dealerships. At Ford, we continue to work with our Ford Minority Dealers Association (Ford MDA) to sustain and strengthen the current minority dealer portfolio with dedicated resources to increase profitability. Together we are directing efforts toward growing the minority ranks of dealership management and employment to better reflect the community and to facilitate a greater number of future Minority Dealer principals.
Ford always explores new opportunities to seek top talent globally with innovative ideas to help us compete. Whether a fresh graduate or a seasoned professional, our employees are on the forefront of developing technologies and innovations that have a positive impact on the lives of our customers and contribute to a better world. As such, we seek the best and the brightest from all over the globe by participating in a multitude of diverse career fair events. Within the U.S., Ford has formal partnerships with six professional organizations who strive to generate diverse talent for the company.
- National Association of Women MBAs (NAWMBA): www.mbawomen.org
- National Black MBA Association, Inc. (NBMBAA): www.nbmbaa.org
- National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE): www.nsbe.org
- Prospanica: www.prospanica.org
- Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE): www.shpe.org
- Society of Women Engineers (SWE): www.swe.org
Ford Motor Company’s (Ford) Supplier Diversity Development (SDD) Program was launched in 1978, one of the first programs in the United States. Ford recognized that it had a social responsibility to provide business opportunities to diverse communities that had been historically, socially and economically disadvantaged. When the company initiated its SDD Program, there were few Minority, Women or Veteran owned and operated companies with the capability to deliver the goods and services required by Ford and other automotive manufacturers.
In 1978, at the direction of Henry Ford II, a program was designed to identify high-potential minority entrepreneurs and assist them in growing their companies to competitive positions in the automotive industry. Having achieved success in the minority business community, Ford expanded its program in 1995 to include Women owned businesses and encouraged their growth in the automotive industry. In 2013, Ford included Veteran owned businesses in its diversity program. Since the launch of our program, Ford has spent more than $74 billion with diverse suppliers.
Ford’s SDD Program is nationally recognized for its leadership and continually strives to manifest its tradition of corporate social responsibility and achieve its business objectives consistent with the Program’s guiding principles:
- To deliver extraordinary support and assistance to certified Minority, Woman, and Veteran owned business that have been historically, socially and economically disadvantaged.
- To create business opportunities and initiatives that enable diverse suppliers to grow into profitable and sustainable enterprises.
- To have the Ford supply base reflect the Company's workforce and customer base.
The challenges presented by a dynamic environment of intensifying global competition and a changing set of employee needs and expectations present us with many strategic opportunities. Our inclusive worklife programs, such as reduced and flexible schedules, job sharing, and telecommuting options, provide us with a viable means to meet our business challenges and provides high employee engagement and satisfaction.
To ensure success with our worklife programs, we equip our employees with cutting edge IT productivity and communication tools that transform our employees into virtual “digital workers.”
The benefits of such inclusive programs lead to increased productivity, innovation, quality and profitability, as well as better job satisfaction and commitment.
Henry Ford is known as the man who put the world on wheels. This visionary inventor also saw the wisdom in creating a diverse workforce - long before such concepts were embraced by other business leaders. Since its founding in 1903, Ford has established itself as a premier American employer by supporting equitable and inclusive employment practices years before the law required it.
Today, Ford continues to attract a highly skilled and committed workforce that reflects a broad spectrum of culture, ethnicity, race, perspective, age, religion, physical ability and sexual orientation.
The Early Days
From the beginning, Ford Motor Company has taken steps to ensure that its workforce has reflected the communities in which it does business. Within its first five years, Ford had established production or sales operations in the United States, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, parts of Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Russia.
1913: Henry Ford’s offer to pay $5 a day attracts thousands of immigrants and African Americans who are drawn to the prospect of earning twice the typical daily wage. The $5 day is credited with helping to create the middle class.
1916: The growing automotive company employs people who represented 62 nationalities, as well as more than 900 people with disabilities.
1918: The company takes early steps to ensure that the work environment will accommodate a diverse population of workers. Long before race relations was a common concept, the company hired race relations experts to promote a tolerant work environment.
1919: Many people of Middle Eastern descent came to Dearborn and Detroit to work for Ford, which led to the creation of a local mosque - the first built in the United States.
1919: Ford begins to hire disabled veterans returning from World War I, making the automaker one the first companies to hire people with disabilities and to adapt work environments to their specific needs.
Through next three decades, Ford continued its policies of equal opportunity and treatment. Significant events included the company's first official non-discrimination clause.
1920: Ford Motor Company has more African American employees than any other automotive company. During this period, the company also hires its first Asian Indian employee, who went on to establish Ford of India, opening the door for many Asian-Indians in the Ford workplace.
1924: The company hires its first African American salaried employee and promotes the first African American to plant foreman.
1941: Ford negotiates its first collective bargaining agreement with the United Auto Workers. The agreement was particularly groundbreaking because it explicitly prohibited discrimination based on “race, color, national origin or creed,” a clause that has remained in every subsequent agreement.
1944: Rose Will Monroe, a rivet gun operator, was working at Ford Motor Company's Willow Run plant when actor Walter Pidgeon chose her to appear in a promotional film for war bonds. Rose became the live personification of the already created fictional "Rosie the Riveter," as depicted in the colorful "We Can Do It!" posters showing a determined woman factory worker.
1946: Gender is added to the UAW-Ford non-discrimination clause. The change was prompted by the entry of women in the Ford workforce during World War II.
1950s, 1960s, 1970s
The middle decades produced a number of firsts, including the first African American and the first woman executive. Under the direction of Henry Ford II, an outspoken advocate for minority rights, the company experienced progress in its diversity efforts throughout the mid-century.
1950: Ford hires its first African American senior manager
1956: Ford publishes a manual for salaried employees called “Going Places with Ford.” It includes language that articulates non-discrimination policies.
1959: Ford receives the Booker T. Washington Trade Association Merit Award for “its pioneering in the inclusive use of human resources.”
1968: Henry Ford II issues a personal letter to company management stating, “equal opportunity is one of Ford Motor Company’s oldest, firmest, and most basic policies.”
1969: The company’s first plant “forewoman” is promoted to head the shock-absorber line at the Ypsilanti, Mich. plant.
1970: Approximately 20 African American dealers from Ford brands formed the National African American Dealer Association. Later, several of these dealers were influential in establishing the National Association of Minority Dealers.
1970: Several women join the company in salaried positions. They ultimately are the first to move up the executive ranks, including the first woman to enter Ford’s Marketing and Sales Management Program.
1973: Clifton R. Wharton Jr. became the first African American to be appointed to the Board of Directors.
1976: The first non-Ford family-related woman was appointed to the Board of Directors, Marian Heiskell.
Present Day (80’s, 90’s, 2000’s)
Efforts throughout the latter part of the century expanded the definition of diversity which now focuses on inclusion and respect. Diversity and Inclusion at Ford means that the company values the uniqueness each employee brings, which includes not only race, ethnicity, age and gender, but also backgrounds, opinions, experiences, perspectives and life situations. It also put an emphasis on fostering an inclusive culture that is free of barriers, and in which all employees are included, respected and appreciated.
While Ford has celebrated many historical accomplishments around diversity, we have continued to improve on key areas of opportunity and achieve many more milestones.
1982: The Ford African-Ancestry Network (FAAN) employee resource group was established.
1983: Helen O. Petrauskas became the first woman to be named vice president of Environmental and Safety Engineering.
1983: The Ford Chinese Association (FCA) employee resource group was established.
1984: Ford employees observe first annual Celebration of Black History Month.
1987: Elliott Hall becomes first African American vice-president.
1989: Ellen R. Marram was appointed to the Board of Directors. She is the second woman who wasn’t related to the Ford family to be appointed.
1993: Alex Trotman becomes the first non-American company chairman.
1994: Deborah Kent becomes first African American woman to run an assembly operation for auto manufacturer.
1994: The employee resource group for Ford’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender Employees (GLOBE) was established.
1996: The Professional Women’s Network (PWN) employee resource group was established.
1996: The Ford Asian-Indian Association (FAIA) employee resource group was established.
1997: Bobbie Gaunt is named president and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Company of Canada, the first woman to hold such a position for Ford Motor Company.
1997: Susan M. Cischke, vice president for Environmental and Safety Engineering, is the first woman to receive the Engineering Society of Detroit Horace A. Rackham Award for humanitarian achievement.
1998: The new Ford Windstar is introduced after being developed by a specially formed "Windstar moms" team.
2001: The Ford Hispanic Network (FHN) employee resource group was established.
2001: The Ford Interfaith Network (FIN) employee resource group was established.
2001: Ford is a founding member of Billion Dollar Roundtable, an organization supporting companies who spend more than $1 billion with minority and woman-owned suppliers.
2002: The employee resource group for Ford Employees Dealing with disabilities (FEDA) was established.
2002: Deborah Stewart Coleman, group managing director and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Company of South Africa, is named the Urban Wheel African American Businesswoman of the Year by U.S. automotive journalists.
2004: Ford is named by Latina Style 50 as one of the Top 50 Best Companies for Latinas.
2005: Human Rights Campaign names Ford a Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality and receives the a 100 score for the first time
2007: The Ford Veterans Network Group (VET_NG) was established.
2007: The Taiwan Ministry of Labor Commission recognizes Ford Motor Company as the Most Friendly Workplace.
2008: The U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine recognizes Ford Motor Company as a Top 50 Company.
2009: Bloomberg Business Week names Ford Motor Company as the top 50 Most Innovative Company.
2010: Ford of Britain named Best Company for Working Families by HR Magazine.
2012: Ford was the first automaker to be named by The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council as a Top Corporation for Women’s Business Enterprises.
2013: Ford first automaker to include veterans in Tier 2 program.
2014: Ford received numerous awards that recognize its commitment to Diversity & Inclusion including:
- Most Attractive Employer by Universum
- Best Company for Diversity by Hispanic Business Magazine
- Best of the Best LGBT Friendly Companies by Black Equal Opportunity Employee Journal
- 2015 Corporate Equality Index Best Places to Work by the Human Rights Campaign.
2015: Universum names Ford of India a Most Attractive Employer for Engineering and IT
2016: FordWorks launched as an innovative and inclusive hiring initiatives for individuals with disabilities. Ford of India partnered with the Blind People’s Association to hire sight-impaired employees, Ford North America launched a program to hire individuals with autism.
2017: Ford Young Professionals Network ERG is established