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10 Honorees Receive Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao’s New Freedom Initiative Award
Award Recognizes Achievements on Behalf of People with Disabilities
WASHINGTON—Five businesses, four organizations, and one individual today received the Secretary of Labor’s annual New Freedom Initiative (NFI) Awards. The NFI Award recognizes exemplary and innovative public-private partnership efforts in furthering the employment objectives of the President’s New Freedom Initiative. The recipients were honored in a luncheon ceremony at the Labor Department.
“President George W. Bush wants all Americans, including Americans with disabilities, to have the opportunity to learn and develop skills and engage in productive work,” said Secretary Chao. “The recipients of the 2003 Secretary’s New Freedom Initiative Awards are organizations that recognize the value that persons with disabilities bring to the workplace and exemplify that philosophy in their daily operations.”
Roy Grizzard, assistant secretary for disability employment policy, congratulated the recipients and urged them to become trailblazers. “If we are to see significant progress in the employment of people with disabilities, your success can and should be replicated,” said Grizzard. “I encourage you to work in partnerships within your states and communities to multiply the impact and, most importantly, the end results.”
Corporation awardees were: Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, Va., Cingular Wireless, Atlanta, Ga., Giant Eagle, Pittsburgh, Pa., IBM, Armonk, N.Y., and Manpower, Inc., Milwaukee, Wisc. Organization awardees were: Abilities, Inc., Albertson, N.Y., Courage Center, Minneapolis, Minn., Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, Salisbury, Md., and Sensory Access Foundation, Sunnyvale, Calif. The individual awardee was Joyce Bender, Bender Consulting, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Today’s announcement comes during National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Secretary Chao selected “America Works Best When All Americans Work” as the official theme for October to continue to bring focus and awareness to solutions that ensure the full inclusion of persons with disabilities into the 21st century workforce.
President Bush introduced the New Freedom Initiative within the first 30 days of his Presidency, on Feb. 1, 2001. The New Freedom Initiative represents a comprehensive set of proposals designed to ensure that Americans with disabilities have the opportunity to learn and develop skills, engage in productive work, make choices about their daily lives, and participate fully in their communities. The Office of Disability Employment Policy in the Department of Labor has the key responsibility for implementing the employment-related aspects of the President’s New Freedom Initiative.

 
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