October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

The theme this year is: ‘Workers with Disabilities: Ready for Tomorrow’s Jobs Today’. It “emphasizes that people with disabilities are […]

The theme this year is: ‘Workers with Disabilities: Ready for Tomorrow’s Jobs Today’. It “emphasizes that people with disabilities are a vital part of America’s work force—they are important to our country’s future economic success,” commented Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.

As a fitting tribute to the month, each year the State Council on Disability recognizes individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a strong commitment to eliminating societal and personal barriers that exist for Minnesotans living with a disability in the work place. This year’s presentation will take place on October 27, 2005 at the Sheraton Hotel in St. Paul, Minnesota and will honor the contributions of 10 individuals or organizations.

This year’s keynote speaker is Jennifer Sheehy Keller, the President’s appointed Special Assistant for Employment to the Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) and Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Education. Ms. Sheehy Keller’s efforts include promoting disability as a central component of diversity recruitment resulting in a more inclusive workforce.

One change this year is the presentation of the Governor’s Award. The award honors the dedication of an individual or organization to significantly increase public awareness of Minnesotans with disabilities. The recipient will be announced at the luncheon.

The State Council would like to congratulate this year’s recipients and nominees:

Employers of the Year: Novel Cup & Northern Lights Bookstore. The bookstore provides individuals with intellectual disabilities opportunities to do satisfying work and impart a valuable service to communities.

Entrepreneur Award: Robert Harris and Harris Communications are a leading sources for sign language books, TTYs, amplified telephones, signalers and vibrating clocks.

Access Award: Stageberg, Beyer, Sachs, Architects. The firm recently made the changes for the Elmer L. Andersen Library on the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus to ensure its accessibility for everyone.

Access Award: Bobbi Cordano, as Director of Disability Services at the University of Minnesota, impacts the work and education of student, faculty and staff.

Media Award: Tim Benjamin, as editor of Access Press, works to ensure issues relating to the disability community are accurately portrayed.

Community Award: Steve Erickson and Lanesboro, Minnesota. Lanesboro offers tourists with disabilities invigorating outdoor activities.

Distinguished Service Award: Karen Quammen, is the Workplace Inclusion Coordinator at Medtronic where her efforts concentrate mainly on attracting diversity in the workplace focusing on employment of persons with disabilities.

Chair’s Award: Steve Thovson, Director for the Southwestern Center for Independent Living in Marshall MN, has been actively in the independent living movement for over twenty years.

Governor Award Nominee: Ron Biss, an advocate for accessibility for people, contributions have resulted in better access and safety for persons with disabilities and others throughout his community.

Governor Award Nominee: Judge Catherine Anderson, a vocal leader in the legal community, has continued to fight for the rights of persons with disabilities in the community and workplace.

Governor Award Nominee: Tom Carey, a tireless advocate, whose advocacy on local transportation and access issues has resulted in enacting change.

Governor Award Nominee: Joel Ulland and John Tschida, on behalf of MNCCD, successfully enacted important provisions of the Minnesotans with Disability Act during the 2005 legislative session.

Governor Award Nominee: Cliff Poetz, a vocal advocate for persons with disabilities, is an integral role in the self-advocacy movement.

The cost to attend the luncheon is $30 and includes your choice of entrees. If you would like more information about the award recipients, the State Council, or the luncheon please call the State Council at 651-296-6785.

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