SourceAmerica, a leading job connector within the disability community, is proud to announce the winners of its annual Achievement Awards. The winners include employees with disabilities, nonprofit agencies, federal agencies, and business partners who have demonstrated exceptional work ethic, success, and leadership in the field of disability employment, including the AbilityOne Program.
AbilityOne is one of the nation’s largest sources of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities. Winners will be celebrated and recognized during the Xforce Conference in Dallas, from May 23-25, 2022.
“People with disabilities are an essential part of our nation’s workforce. This year’s award winners have demonstrated strength, leadership, and tenacity through the recent challenges the workforce has faced,” said SourceAmerica President and CEO Richard Belden. “The SourceAmerica Achievement Award winners are shaping a more innovative and inclusive workforce.”
Learn more about the outstanding accomplishments of the 2022 Achievement Award winners:
William M. Usdane Award – Cuiye “Yep” Liu, Toolworks Inc, San Francisco
The William M. Usdane Award celebrates an AbilityOne Program employee with a disability who has exhibited outstanding achievement and exceptional character.
Cuiye “Yep” Liu exhibited positive attitude, commitment, responsibility, and resilience while cleaning offices in a high security clearance federal building in San Francisco, where she trained on CDC Covid-19 Level 3 disinfection and is part of a team deployed to disinfect contaminated areas.
Evelyne Villines Award – Cherie Hill-Mayers, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin Inc, Milwaukee
The Evelyne Villines Award honors an individual with a disability who has advanced from work on an AbilityOne contract into management (supervisory or leadership) within the nonprofit agency, or into private or government employment.
Cherie Hill-Mayers worked at Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin Inc in Milwaukee for 17 years, performing multiple food service duties on an AbilityOne contract. Within the past year, she took computer and technology training classes, to conduct a job search and fulfilled a long-term goal of establishing a life in Austin, Texas, where she is now employed at a luxury hotel.
Tom Miller Advocacy Award – Abdul “Karriem” Muhammad, Professional Contract Services Inc (PCSI), Austin, Texas
The Tom Miller Advocacy Award recognizes an employee with a disability who has demonstrated outstanding achievement and a remarkable passion for self-advocacy on a local, state, and/or national level.
Award-winner Abdul “Karriem” Muhammad exhibits a passion for serving and advocating for people with disabilities that aligns perfectly with his career as a rehabilitation specialist. In this role, he ensures every employee with a disability has accommodations and training to succeed in all stages of their careers. Muhammad also connects employees with job opportunities at local organizations when they are ready to pursue work outside of the AbilityOne Program.
Honor Roll for Veterans Award – Gary M. McCarthy, Jr, InspiriTec Inc, Philadelphia
The Honor Roll for Veterans Award pays tribute to a veteran with a service-related disability who has exhibited outstanding achievement in their work.
Gary McCarthy’s work ethic, honed by more than 23 years in the military, takes his work at InspiriTec, Inc. to outstanding levels. Hired as an entry level Tier 1 contact center agent, McCarthy’s performance earned him four promotions in four years, and he now manages a team of more than 80 IT Help Desk professionals.
Milton Cohen Leadership Award – Reginald Hughes, Palmetto Goodwill Services, Charleston, South Carolina
The Milton Cohen Leadership Award pays tribute to an individual within the AbilityOne community of nonprofit agencies, or anyone previously retired within the past year, who has shown national leadership within or on behalf of the AbilityOne Program, made an impact across the entire AbilityOne community, and increased employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Reginald Hughes is the Executive Director of Palmetto Goodwill Services. Under Hughes’ leadership, Palmetto Goodwill Services has spearheaded the creation of American Sign Language classes and other efforts to support AbilityOne participants.
Force Multiplier Award Winners
The Force Multiplier Awards recognize federal or military customers whose work has significantly affected employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
The 2022 Force Multiplier Award Winners are:
Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas
For 41 years, Sheppard Air Force Base has collaborated with Work Services Corporation to provide and add job opportunities to people with significant disabilities in their community.
Project Manager-Soldier Survivability (PM-SVV) and the Army Contracting Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground (ACC-APG), Maryland
The Army’s Project Manager-Soldier Survivability office and the Army Contracting Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground teamed with SourceAmerica to create a unique, lucrative contract vehicle on the federal AbilityOne Procurement List. This partnership created jobs for more than 60 people with disabilities.
William “Bill” Sproule, Chief, Installation Support Branch, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition, Technology & Logistics), U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Virginia
William “Bill” Sproule, from the U.S. Air Force, was part of the team that initiated the AbilityOne Representatives (ABOR) concept that was replicated across many federal agencies, and he continues to lead ABOR efforts for all Air Force operations through numerous initiatives, including creating jobs for more than 200 people with disabilities since 2018.
Lakeeta Young-Hill, ABOR, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Washington, DC
Lakeeta Young-Hill actively pursues ways to create awareness of AbilityOne lines of business among 700 NASA contracting officials. Under her leadership, NASA set up a training series to provide its contracting and program workforce with an understanding of the AbilityOne Program to further employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Nonprofit Agency Awards
The Nonprofit Agency Awards recognize nonprofit agencies in SourceAmerica’s network which have developed innovative work methods, products or services, or have exhibited performance excellence on AbilityOne contracts while service as an example to other nonprofit agencies.
Innovation Award Winner – Adelante DiverseIT, Adelante Development Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico
DiverseIT was one of five nonprofit awardees for user experience testing through SourceAmerica, providing high wages for people with disabilities to offer the service for federal government websites. DiverseIT won its first-ever contract with the City of Albuquerque Department of Senior Affairs to help train seniors via online classes and videos and provide a free tech hotline for seniors.
Government Contracts Winner – Challenge Unlimited, Alton, Illinois
Challenge Unlimited has been a proud Scott Air Force Base partner for nearly 30 years and manages multiple AbilityOne contracts on base, including base-wide custodial services, grounds maintenance services, commissary services and subcontracted food services.
Business Partnership Award – SimplyBe Coffee, Leesburg, Virginia
The Business Partnership Award honors a small to large commercial business that has partnered with a SourceAmerica-affiliated nonprofit agency to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, SimplyBe Coffee contracted with Every Citizen Has Opportunities (ECHO) to identify individuals interested in working in a coffee shop. SimplyBe hired six people with disabilities at ECHO to work in three teams during different shifts, five days a week. SimplyBe’s actions were a lifeline for these employees as many of ECHO’s community worksites remain closed due to the pandemic.
[Source(s): SourceAmerica, PR Newswire]