2012 Governor's Awards Winners
On June 4, 2012 the GCEPD handed out our Governor's Awards, assisted by Dr. Susan Wehry, Commissioner of the Department of Disability, Aging, and Independent Living. Remarks celebrating the accomplishments of our winners were read by April Tuck, Chair of the GCEPD, and are found below.
Awards were given out in three categories: Employment / Accommodation; Design & Accessibility; and Media - Public Education.
Employment / Accommodation Award – Food Service
James Consentino and Tadd Stone, Aramark at Johnson State College
Jeremy Metcalf, Sodexo at Saint Michael’s College
The Employment / Accommodation Award in food service is presented to employers who reflect the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act in their employment practices, such as the delivery of training that responds to individual learning needs and styles and the implementation of creative programs and solutions to address the unique employment needs and challenges of employees with disabilities.
This year we are pleased to acknowledge three individuals in the food service industry whose practices have done just that.
Tadd Stone and James Consentino of Aramark are recognized for their vision, leadership, and initiative in creating an eight-week culinary training program at Johnson State College. Tadd Stone, the Aramark Manager, envisioned this program as a solution to his staffing needs that would engage individuals with disabilities who were interested in exploring careers in the culinary field and provide them with comprehensive training in the skills necessary for employment in the food service industry. James Consentino, Executive Chef, developed the curriculum and provided the training and resources to carry out the program. Working collaboratively, Creative Workforce Solutions recruited and screened the candidates for the program and the Vermont Department of Labor provided Workforce Education and Training Funds. Students participating in the program attended class and worked side-by-side with professional chefs, helping to run the kitchen and create meals. They showcased their skills in catered events and externships. Upon completion of the program, five students were employed by Aramark in full time positions with benefits; two in part-time positions, and two other students found positions in local businesses as a result of their externship.
James and Tadd were nominated by DJ Masi of Creative Workforce Solutions in Morrisville.
Jeremy Metcalf, Operations Director of Sodexo at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester is recognized for his development of a six-week culinary training program at the College. Now in its third year, this program has run ten training sessions for individuals with disabilities referred through Creative Workforce Solutions and its predecessor alliance. To date twenty-one individuals have passed through the program and two have been hired. Furthermore, Jeremy has been extraordinary in his efforts to support the individuals who go through the program to be successful in employment. The trainees and individuals hired by Sodexo enjoy a respectful, supportive, and friendly team environment and co-workers willing to help them learn the soft skills of the workplace. Jeremy customizes his training to fit the individual needs of the students. Upon completion of the program he helps the trainees to find employment, and he provides each with a personal reference. As his nominator, Kelly Edwards of Creative Workforce Solutions in Burlington, says, Jeremy “sees the whole person and really tries his hardest to work with a person that is struggling”.
Employment / Accommodation Award – Small Business
Chris Loso, Loso’s Professional Janitorial Service, South Burlington, Vermont
Lloyd and Valerie Howes, Howes All-State Cleaning & Maintenance, Tilton, NH
The Employment / Accommodation Award for small business is presented to two employers who reflects the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act in their employment practices in their small, family-owned businesses.
Chris Loso, of Loso’s Professional Janitorial Service is recognized for his outstanding commitment to the successful employment of people with disabilities through its practices that go back for well over a decade. Each time they have a new service contract Chris will contact Creative Workforce Solutions to find talented individuals to meet his workforce needs. Furthermore, he sees each employee as the individual they are, consistently working with them to meet and support their unique needs. For example, an employee was hired who had anxiety about driving to new places. Not only was the individual taught how to find and understand an online map and directions to the work site, he was also led to the worksite by his supervisor until he felt comfortable driving on his own. As a result of these efforts to support this employee through his anxiety, he has become a great employee. According to nominator Nicole Clements of VABIR and Creative Workforce Solutions in Williston, this is just one example of his Chris and his entire team go above and beyond to support individuals referred through CWS.
Chris, right, was joined in accepting his award by his colleagues Barry Craig and Sherry Sartelle.
Lloyd Howes and Valerie Russell-Howes, owners of Howes All-State Cleaning & Maintenance are recognized for their strong collaboration with Creative Workforce Solutions and for their extraordinary actions to accommodate the special needs of an employee with a traumatic brain injury, ensuring his workplace success. When Howes was seeking a floor maintenance technician for one of their Vermont customers, nominator Jessica Blanchard of VABIR in Rutland contacted them and asked them to consider her consumer, Larry. After Larry was hired to work in a store, it became apparent that the layout of the store was quite confusing to him due to his injury, such that he required frequent reminders and directions. In order to accommodate Larry and ensure his success, Lloyd Howe created a wonderful, color-coded map which broke down the daily tasks and linked them to the particular location in the store. This commitment to the successful employment of individuals with disabilities is further apparent in the practice of Lloyd and Valerie to repeatedly contact CWS regarding contracts and openings around Vermont, their hosting of two risk-free job trials , and their employment of six individuals referred from CWS to date. In the words of nominator Jessica, Lloyd and Valerie “are extremely compassionate, patient, and genuinely good people who epitomize what it is to be an equal opportunity employer.”
The award was accepted by Jessica Blanchard on behalf of Lloyd and Valerie Howes.
Employment / Accommodation Award – Residential Care
Susan Sweetser, Administrator, Our Lady of Providence, Winooski, Vermont
The Employment / Accommodation Award in Residential Care is presented to an employer in the residential care field whose employment practices reflect the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This year the award is given to Susan Sweetser of Our Lady of Providence. Our Lady of Providence offers diverse opportunities for learning to employees with disabilities and welcomes them with open arms and open minds. In one year they have provided nearly a dozen employees referred through VABIR with opportunities to work and learn in nursing, food services, laundry, cleaning, facilities, and activities and music. Many of these individuals were subsequently hired as permanent employees. Where necessary, accommodations were provided to address both physical and cognitive limitations as well as language barriers. In the words of nominator Kathy Johnson of VABIR in Burlington, Our Lady of Providence is “a jewel, a warm and caring facility that provides personal, family-style care to its residents and extends that same respect, concern and support to their paid staff, prospective job candidates, and all those who seek an opportunity.”
Employment / Accommodation Award – Manufacturing
Wayne Snow, Production Manager, Ultravation, Inc., Poultney, Vermont
The Employment / Accommodation Award in Manufacturing is presented to an employer operating a manufacturing facility whose employment practices reflect the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This award is presented to Wayne Snow, of Ultravation, Inc. Ultravation has had a long standing relationship with the Rutland offices of Vocational Rehabilitation and VABIR and is an excellent community partner with the Creative Worforce Solution initiatives. In the past year Ultravation has employed and accommodated several new hires and has also sponsored progressive employment activities such as informational interviews, job shadows, assessments and plant tours. In his capacity as production manager, Wayne has worked very closely with clients referred by these organizations and through the local school-to-work program, striving to help them gain an accurate understanding of the work world. He has provided skill-building information including appropriate workplace behaviors to students with a wide variety of disabilities including autism, learning differences, and mobility and cognitive impairments. He also promotes the employment of people with disabilities by sharing his experiences with other businesses, doing this in a way that his nominators - Gloria Vitale, David Sagi, and Karen Letourneau of VABIR and VocRehab in Rutland - describe as “always acting in a manner that demonstrates respect and dignity to all their clients. He is dedicated and offers his time and commitment to provide great opportunities for our clients for success.”
Design & Accessibility Award
Karen Tronsgard-Scott, Executive Director
Vermont Network Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, Montpelier, Vermont
The Design & Accessibility Award is presented to an architect, contractor, business, municipality, recreational facility or entity that has designed accommodations and provisions to create equal and aesthetic access, or who has created innovative and creative solutions for accessible structures, buildings or services. This year the award is being presented to Karen Tronsgard-Scott, Executive Director of the Vermont Network Against Domestic & Sexual Violence. Through Karen’s dedicated efforts, the Network has worked diligently to create an accessible environment for everyone, including persons with disabilities, in terms of both availability of services and the employment of people who have disabilities. This commitment was highly evident when the time came for the Network to move into its new office space – originally built as a residence in the 1800s. The Network lobbied strongly with the building owner to ensure that renovations were made to make the space ADA compliant in terms of design and accessibility. Working in coordination with the building owner and contractor, Karen and the Network succeeded in having multiple access improvements made. The new accessible building elements included: designated parking areas; an access ramp; accessible stove and sink in the kitchen; threshold removal; accessible office and meeting space layout; and an ADA compliant bathroom. In the words of nominator Sarah Launderville of the Vermont Center for Independent Living, with this building renovation project, Karen and the Network “demonstrated a strong commitment to create a welcoming and accessible environment for employees, community partners, and the public they serve”.
The award was accepted by Ms. Chani Waterhouse.
Media – Public Education Award
Owen Milne, Red Thread, Williston, Vermont
The Media / Public Education Award recognizes an individual or member of the media: a) who has brought attention to disability issues and stories, using sensitive and nondiscriminatory language to depict people with disabilities and to reflect the worth of the person(s) being written about; and/or b) who has promoted or showcased a person overcoming barriers in an inspiring way. This year the award is presented to Owen Milne, Manager of Corporate Accounts and Integrated Interiors at Red Thread, for his dedication in promoting public awareness and understanding of the respect, dignity, and equality to which all people with disabilities are entitled. Owen’s activities to educate the public in support of furthering the employment of people with disabilities are numerous and varied. He has met with groups and individuals to present his own inspiring story, entitled “Life in a Chair”. He has served multiple times on employer-directed panels to demonstrate the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities and to educate employers about accommodations. Some of these presentations have been done during his past tenure as a member of the GCEPD. Owen also focuses his energies on meeting with individuals who themselves are newly-disabled to assure and inspire them regarding how to manage and thrive in their situation. Finally, Owen has brought his talents as a consultant to organizations as well as the City of Burlington, advising them on how to improve accessibility and set appropriate policies and protocols related to individuals with disabilities. In short, to paraphrase Benjamin Adler, Owner of The Skinny Pancake who nominated Owen for this award, “Owen is an ideal match for this award. His public education activities bring attention to disability issues and stories in a sensitive manner that reflects the worth of the individual and that also showcases his own success in overcoming barriers in an inspiring way.”