Exceptional Leadership Awards from USBLN

The US Business Leadership Network (USBLN), a national employer organization, announced the winners of its 2005 Exceptional Leadership Awards at its annual conference held November 1-3 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The USBLN is a national organization that supports the development and expansion of BLNs across the country and serves as their collective voice.

Business Leadership Networks (BLNs) are non-profit employer organizations promoting education on the business case for the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce and marketplace. The Exceptional Leadership Awards annually recognize employers, chapters and partners that emulate disability best practices. There are 43 chapters in 32 states, including the District of Columbia.

Medtronic received the “Lead Employer of the Year” Award for its outstanding support of the Minnesota Business Leadership Network. Medtronic is the world’s leading medical technology company, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They have worked with the Governor’s office to have Disability Mentoring Day proclaimed in the state of Minnesota. Medtronic also created an employee resource group called “ABLED” which stands for Awareness Benefiting Leadership and Employees about Disabilities. This internal employee network supports events throughout the year to bring awareness about disabilities to Medtronic and the community.

The Oregon Business Leadership Network and the Miami-Dade (FL) Business Leadership Network both received awards for the “Chapter of the Year.” The Oregon Business Leadership Network crafted a business case for inclusion of people with disabilities and worked with the Oregon Business Council, Congressional leaders and the Governor to have “Accommodation as a Business Case” added to the Oregon Business Plan. They have also created employer resource materials that can be accessed through the Oregon Business Leadership Network Web site at www.obln.org. Oregon Health Sciences University, Oregon’s largest private employer, serves as the lead employer for the Oregon Business Leadership Network.

The Miami-Dade (FL) Business Leadership Network developed an Employer Awareness Campaign with funding from private employers and the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities. Figures show that the number of people with disabilities securing jobs has more than doubled in the Miami area since the campaign was launched. Resources for employers can be found on the website at www.myabilities.org

Two organizations received “Partner of the Year” Awards, The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council and The Alabama Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, a program of Alabama Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council was nominated by the Pennsylvania BLN for its funding support for the past six years in support of their efforts to provide education and networking opportunities for employers regarding the employment of people with disabilities.

The Alabama Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities was nominated by the Alabama BLN for their support in the development of the ABLE-NETWORK, a resource for Alabama employers to post jobs and identify qualified applicants for open positions. They have also provided training programs for employers regarding disability etiquette and consulting on accommodation issues.

The USBLN will hold its 2006 Annual Conference in Minnesota and will announce the 2006 Exceptional Leadership Awards at the conference. For more information, contact the USBLN at www.usbln.com or Katherine McCary, President, USBLN at katherine.mccary@suntrust.com

To get more information about the USBLN 2006 Annual Conference that will be held in Minnesota or any information about the Minnesota BLN (MN-BLN), please contact Terri Ricci at 651-644-2133 or Greg Lambert at 612-727-7177, or visit the MN-BLN Web site at www.mnbln.org