6 VA Companies Honored for Hiring People with Disabilities
The Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services honors companies that hire people with disabilities.
The commonwealth is celebrating six companies in central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley for hiring people other employers may turn away due to disabilities.
Virginia's Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services presented companies with Champions Awards at a ceremony in Staunton Wednesday.
The Champion Award winners included Wash & Wag of Culpeper, The Heritage Inn in Charlottesville, The Homestead in Hot Springs, Delta Star in Lynchburg, Woelfel Research, Inc. in Harrisonburg and Martin's Food Markets in Winchester and Stephens City.
In November, Governor Bob McDonnell signed an executive order calling on public and private sector employers to give people with disabilities an opportunity to work. The companies honored Wednesday are proving it's possible.
"Businesses, like those being honored here today, are seeing that it's not the disability that's important. It's the ability that's important," said Jim Rothrock, commissioner for the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services.
Their goal is to challenge workers who have a disability to tap into their talents. "We will make sure that they can be supported long-term to make a job turn into a career," Rothrock said.
Danielle Flippin accepted the Champion Award for Charlottesville's Heritage Inn - as a champion for hiring people with disabilities.
"They are responsible, respectful. They've been a great addition to our staff," Flippin said.
Five people with disabilities have joined the assisted living center's staff since March. "Just because they have a disability doesn't mean that they can't be in the workforce," Flippin said.
Taylor Henning went front and center to pick up The Homestead's award. The resort hired Henning a year and a half ago as a kitchen steward. Human resources Manager Brenda Hite says Henning's work ethic encourages his co-workers.
"It kind of motivates people when you see someone that is delighted to be there and eager to do a good job," Hite said.
These employers encourage other companies to look beyond disabilities.
"We've learned that people can come from all walks of life and definitely be successful," Hite said.
The Homestead and Heritage Inn both say they plan to hire more employees like Henning.
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