Celebrating the employment of citizens with disabilities, Harford County’s Department of Community Services’ Office of Disability Services and Commission on Disabilities honored several individuals and organizations on October 16 at their annual Employment Recognition Luncheon. More than 160 guests attended this inspiring event at Maryland Golf and Country Clubs in Bel Air to honor employees with disabilities who have exhibited exceptional ability and determination in the workplace. The event also recognizes employers, families, friends, and organizations that are changing attitudes about people with disabilities in the workforce. Harford County holds this event in October of each year to coincide with National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Carol Beatty, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities was among this year’s attendees.
This year the theme was “The Right Talent, Right Now” which emphasizes the essential role that those with differing abilities play in America’s economic success. Keynote speakers Suzy Golberg of Ken’s Krew and Alex Burdette of Home Depot detailed the unique and successful partnership these two organizations share and its impact on employees with differing abilities.
“Ken’s Krew focuses on abilities rather than disabilities,” Ms. Golberg said, adding that companies like Home Depot realize that, “hiring adults with disabilities is good business.”
Mr. Burdette described his journey through the ARC Northern Chesapeake Region and into Ken’s Krew. He joked about seeing County Executive Barry Glassman at Home Depot once a week. “He’s always there,” he said.
Awards were presented to the following individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievements and support of those with differing abilities for 2019:
• Large Employer of the Year Award: Kristen Hite, HCPS Food & Nutrition Services
• Medium Employer of the Year Award: Home Depot, Bel Air
• Small Employer of the Year Award: Waters Auto Service
• Employee of the Year Award: Matthew Trout, employed by U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command
• Student Worker of the Year Award: Amber Linton, employed by Harford County Public Schools
• Volunteer of the Year Award: Crystal Arbaugh, volunteer page at the Harford County Public Library
• Accessibility Award for an Individual: Ashley Baynes, lead dispatcher with Harford Transit LINK
• Accessibility Award for an Organization: U.S. Army Communications Electronic Command
• The Ruth Helen Thompson Community Service Award: Brian Malcolm, Pastor and director of Special Needs Ministries, Mt. Zion Church
Awards of merit were given including Medium Employer of Merit awards, presented to Ashley Furniture of Bel Air, ShopRite of Cardiff, and Harford Bank.
Employee Awards of Merit were given to Hannah Bubray, employed by Harford County Parks and Recreation; Camren Renato Casalena, employed by Apex Flavors, Inc.; Wilson Gorrell, employed by ShopRite Cardiff; Elmore Hairston, employed by Water’s Edge Events Center; Jason Simms, employed by ShopRite Aberdeen; and Latrend Woodland, employed by Mason-Dixon Community Services. Additionally, MacKenzie Payne, employed by Stonewall Day Care, and Kenneth Singletary, employed by Jiffy Lube, received the Student Worker Awards of Merit.
“Employers of citizens with disabilities get dedicated employees who are excited to come to work each day,” County Executive Barry Glassman said. “Harford County is proud to celebrate these outstanding employees and the employers who recognize their unique contributions in the workplace. I would also like to thank Secretary Beatty of the Maryland Department of Disabilities for sharing in this joyful celebration.”
A photo gallery of this year’s event is available at: http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/1815/Disability-Employment-Awards
The Harford County Department of Community Services’ Office of Disability Services and its partners offer an array of programs to connect businesses with motivated, dependable staff, and to connect employees with disabilities to on-the-job training, modifications, and technology assistance. For more information on employment opportunities, tax credits or other available incentives for businesses that hire individuals with disabilities, please contact Rachel Harbin, director of the Harford County Commission on Disabilities at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-638-3373.