Fifteen companies from across Massachusetts were recognized for their commitment to hiring people with disabilities recently at the Massachusetts State House. The inaugural Celebration of Success, hosted by Riverside Community Care and the Institute for Community Living on October 24, was attended by over 250 people, including government officials, supporters, and people representing healthcare and human service organizations across Massachusetts. The event coincided with National Disability Employment Awareness Month and was sponsored by State Representative Denise Garlick, with State Representative Josh Cutler, Department of Mental Health Commissioner Joan Mikula, and Department of Developmental Services Commissioner Jane Ryder presenting awards.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with disabilities are twice as likely to be umemployed. The Regional Employment Collaboratives, facilitated by Riverside Community Care and the Institute for Community Living, work as liaisons between organizations that serve people with disabilities and employers. Last year, the Collaboratives helped place 850 people in jobs across Massachusetts.
Employers honored for their commitment were: CVS Health, Big Y Foods, Inc., FedEx Ground, Liberty Tax Service, VERC Enterprises Inc., VPNE Parking Solutions, Wegmans, Home Depot, Salvation Army, Sodexo, Star Market, Amazon, MGM Springfield, Ocean State Job Lot, and Prides Deli and Pizzeria.
“We were so pleased to be able to recognize and celebrate our many employer partners at this uplifting and congratulatory event,” said Stephanie Marks, Riverside Director of Employment Collaboratives. “These companies understand that hiring people with disabilities makes great business sense. With the unemployment rate at an all-time low, businesses gain access to trained and qualified candidates with skills for all types of roles. Hiring people with disabilities reduces turnover and creates an enriched and diverse workforce, plus there are tax incentives for many companies. It’s a win-win for everybody.”
The event ended with an inspiring speech by Suzanne Robertson, who attended a 12-week CVS Workforce Training program and is now successfully working at a CVS in Woburn. Said Robertson, “[Once I started working] I changed. I started to care about my appearance. I wanted to act more professional. I wanted people to respect me. I began advocating for myself. I was becoming stronger. And I don’t know how that happened! But once it started, it kept getting bigger and better … Working at CVS has helped me grow as a person in so many ways. My confidence, my independence, my self-advocacy. I feel like I am in charge of my life.”