Vermont’s GCEPD announces 'Spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act' employer awards

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Vermont’s GCEPD announces 'Spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act' employer awards

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 10:58am -- tim

Vermont’s Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (GCEPD) announced the first employer award recipients for the “Spirit of the ADA” Awards. The Vermont “Spirit of the ADA” Award is given to employers who reflect the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act in their employment practices. Every day, people with disabilities can and do add value to America’s workplaces.  However, in both good economic times and bad, people with disabilities have far fewer job opportunities than the general population. The goal of the GCEPD is to promote the hiring, retention and advancement of people with disabilities and to dispel stereotypes about disability and employment. The employers who are recognized for this award have been exemplary in their employment of people with disabilities, and the employees have been successful contributors to their respective businesses.

Successfully meeting any of the following criteria qualifies employers for eligibility to be nominated:

1)      Recruitment outreach and equal accessibility in the application,
interviewing, and hiring procedures for people with disabilities;
2)      Use of on-the-job accommodations, modifications, progressive employment
methods, and/or creative solutions for successful training and employment of
people with disabilities;
3)      Accessible physical structures, buildings, work stations and equipment,
and services; and
4)      Support for the employment of a person(s) with disability as an overall
employment strategy.

Awards will be presented throughout the year. Thus far, the following employers have been recognized for the promotion of hiring and retaining of people with disabilities:

Lisai’s Chester Market – Chester, VT
Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services – Springfield, VT
The Home Depot – Bennington, VT
Bond Auto Parts – South Burlington, VT
A.W. Perkins Company – Rutland, VT

The GCEPD and VocRehab Vermont will also be participating in radio programs
to recognize National Disability Employment Awareness Month. They will be
promoting noteworthy employment resources and practices, and the Vermont
employers of distinction who have received the "Spirit of the ADA" Awards.
The Governor's Committee also conducts outreach through the website – and through the electronic distribution of the newsletter,

“We are excited about the progress that has been made by Vermont employers
in the hiring of people with disabilities.  The “Spirit of the ADA”
Awards will recognize some of these employers.  We will continue our
education and outreach efforts to increase the employment outcomes for
Vermonters of ALL abilities and to help employers gain awareness of this
valuable resource pool for employment,” said Christopher J. Loso, Chair of
the Vermont GCEPD and Vice President of Loso’s Professional Janitorial
Services, Inc.  “My company has been employing people with disabilities for
the past three years and they have made a tremendous impact with their
quality of work.  They should be seriously considered by employers across
Vermont looking for skilled and motivated employees.  It makes perfect
business sense.”

A.W. Perkins Company of Rutland learned this firsthand when they added a
visually-impaired employee to their small staff.  The company was founded in
2004, by Tom Martin, Vicky Matteson and Pat Consolatti – three
professionals with decades of experience in stove, fireplace and chimney
repair product manufacturing.  The company sells power sweeping tools for
dryer vent and chimney cleaning to regional clients.  Under the supervision
of Bill Matteson, a two-week work experience was arranged for the employee,
after which the company agreed to hire under an on-the-job training
agreement.  Accommodations, such as the reassignment of one task and the use
of a closed circuit television, were provided to fully include the
visually-impaired employee as a valued full-time staff member.

About the Vermont GCEPD
The Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (GCEPD)
is a permanent statewide committee established in 1963 by the Vermont
legislature to promote the employment of people with disabilities.  Its 21
members represent a broad cross section of individuals from business,
disability groups, government, and service providers.  Through education and
outreach activities it provides support and resources to employers and job
seekers to facilitate the employment and accommodation of people of all

About National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is
a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues
and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with
disabilities. The theme for 2014 is "Expect. Employ. Empower."

NDEAM's roots go back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the
first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped
Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the
employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of
disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the
name to "National Disability Employment Awareness Month." Upon its
establishment in 2001, ODEP assumed responsibility for NDEAM and has worked
to expand its reach and scope ever since.

Source: Burlington Vermont, October 14, 2014 – Vermont’s Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities