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Firms recognized for employing the disabled

RUTLAND At the Vermont Governors Summit for the Employment of People with Disabilities, eight businesses were recognized by the governors Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities for their efforts to promote the employment of Vermonters with physical, mental, emotional and/or other disabilities. The governors Awards are given in four categories: Employment, design/accessibility, media, and the Governors Award for Outstanding Effort. Employment Awards Corporate: Kevin OBrien, store manager, Price Chopper and Price Chopper Vermont Corporate Offices. Price Chopper has become a partner in communities throughout Vermont. Local managers have ensured that applicants with disabilities have appropriate accommodations during the hiring process, are welcomed and supported in the workplace, and have the same opportunities for promotion and career advancement as other workers. The Price Chopper commitment and philosophy is epitomized by the practices of the Bennington Price Chopper and its store manager, Kevin OBrien, whose particular efforts are recognized by this individual award. Price Chopper has a long and quiet history of offering employment to persons with disabilities. The commitment of Price Chopper to the employment success of these individuals can be seen in their high level of performance. Media/Public Education Award David Townsend of Small Planet, Inc., Rutland. Presented to Townsend for his dedication in promoting public awareness and understanding of the respect, dignity, and equality to which all people with disabilities are entitled. As a member of the Rutland Region Business Advisory Council, he has taken a lead role in developing a website and collateral marketing materials to be used to promote employment for people with disabilities. The intent is to raise the awareness of the business community about the potential benefits of hiring individuals with a disability and about the organizations that support this mission. Townsend is a vocal advocate to the business community, speaking at business events to share with employers his experiences in employing and training people with disabilities. For his energetic and passionate initiative to facilitate and lead a partnership of agencies and businesses, and to educate the broader business community about the hiring of individuals with disabilities, Townsend was recognized with this award. Supported Employment: Joel Melnick, president, of Nathaniel Group Inc.,Vergennes. Nathaniel Group has a well established culture of providing supported employment opportunities to individuals. The nominator, a parent of a young adult with significant cognitive limitations who has worked for Nathaniel Group for the past nine years, states that Melnick has demonstrated a remarkable openness to bringing students with disabilities into his workplace and genuinely cares for workers with special abilities. His daughter has developed new friendships and a very responsible work ethic as a result of the kind, respectful, and inclusive nature of the work environment found at Nathaniel Group.

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