2/2/2006 12:00:00 AM
Adelaide Brooks of Wheaton, Illinois, was named the 2005 AbilityLinks Role Model of the Year. The annual award was established to acknowledge individuals with a disability who display an outstanding ability to overcome barriers and achieve success in the workplace. Brooks overcame a paralyzing illness, has returned to work, and now mentors and supports those individuals with disabilities who are pursuing employment through AbilityLinks. The award was presented AbilityLinks annual meeting on January 19 at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton, Illinois where over 250 members of the disability and business communities were in attendance.
A mother of three, Brooks had a successful career as a chef and public health educator before she developed transverse myelitis, a rare virus that causes inflammation of the spine, which left her paralyzed. After undergoing intense rehabilitation at Marianjoy, Brooks enlisted the assistance of the AbilityLinks staff and is once again employed, this time as a testing coordinator for DeVry University.
Two additional awards were presented by AbilityLinks at the meeting.
The 2005 AbilityLinks Leadership Award was presented to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) for providing exemplary leadership in promoting employment of qualified individuals with disabilities throughout the Illinois business community. Under the leadership of Director Jack Levin, a top priority of the DCEO is helping Illinois businesses recruit qualified disabled individuals.
The 2005 AbilityLinks Model Employer Award was presented to Advanced O&P Solutions for demonstrating exemplary efforts in the recruitment of individuals with disabilities and for increasing awareness within the business community of the value these individuals bring to the workplace. Advanced O&P Solutions is a leading fabricator and manufacturer of prostheses and related equipment.
President Mike Angelico strongly supports recruiting disabled individuals and estimates over 30 percent of his employees are qualified individuals with disabilities. Advanced O&P Solutions is an AbilityLinks Consortium member and a subsidiary of Scheck and Siress.
AbilityLinks was established to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Founded in 2001 by Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton, Illinois, AbilityLinks is a consortium of businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. The centerpiece of the organization is their award-winning website—www.AbilityLinks.org—which brings together business and job candidates with disabilities. The AbilityLinks staff provides ongoing support to Web site users including job seekers, companies, and schools and non-profit organizations that assist disabled individuals with preparing for and finding work.