Companies Recognized For Hiring Disabled Workers

By Max Showalter
Journal & Courier

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October 4, 2007

When medical problems with her knees and feet prevented Monique Young from continuing to work in the health care profession, she got a big boost from a longtime Lafayette employer and two agencies that help disabled people find jobs.

The Lafayette Life Insurance Co. was presented the Horizon Award on Wednesday by the Capabilities Regional Employment Group, which assists agencies that serve individuals with disabilities.

Through Anthony Wayne Services and Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Lafayette Life hired Young in late May as a customer service associate -- a job that provides her with daytime hours, employee benefits and opportunities for advancement.

"I love it. I'm extremely blessed from where I was last year until now," said Young, a single mother with a 9-year-old daughter. "We've been able to do a whole lot more. It's been a great experience working with Voc Rehab and AWS."

Wednesday's awards program helped kick off a local observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Covington Foods Inc. was named by the Capabilities Regional Employment Group as the Regional Employer of the Year.

The company operates IGA grocery stores in Covington and Attica, and hires disabled workers at both locations.

"They assign the employees additional tasks with increased skill levels," said Doris Farrington, employment service manager for Child Adult Resource Services Inc., which nominated Covington Foods for the award. "This corporation and management team consistently recognize abilities, not disabilities."

During the recognition program held at Ivy Tech Community College in Lafayette, nearly 20 other employers were honored for also employing people who have a disability.

"People with disabilities are definitely ready to work and employers in this room have recognized that," said Sylvia Anderson, marketing coordinator for EmployAbilities at Wabash Center Inc.

"The environment we work in today, to help people with disabilities succeed is better than it ever has been. (But) we still have a long way to go," said Fred Williams, area supervisor for Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services. "Two out of three people with disabilities don't have jobs. That's a really sad commentary. Let's fix that. The best thing we can do is share the success we've had."


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