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U.S. Cellular honored at 2009 AbilityLinks Expo

U.S. Cellular, one of the nations leading wireless carriers received the AbilityLinks Visionary Award for providing exceptional leadership, mentoring and job opportunities for persons with disabilities, one of the many highlights of the 2009 AbilityLinks Conference and Employment Expo held last month in Downers Grove, Illinois to promote employment of persons with disabilities. 

2009 AbilityLinks Conference and Employment Expo exhibit hall

More than 300 disabled job seekers and businesses seeking to increase their disability diversity attended educational sessions on disability awareness and employment, participated in a job fair and heard Jeffrey Childs, U.S. Cellular Senior Vice President of Human Resources speak about the company’s successful approach to diversity and inclusion.  




Kathleen Yosko, Marianjoy, Jeffrey Childs, U.S. Cellular, Visionary Award winner Patrick Kronenwetter, Wolin, Kelter & Rosen, Ltd., Marianjoy Board of Directors


“U.S. Cellular’s commitment to diversity goes beyond words and company policy,” said Kathleen Yosko Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital President and CEO and AbilityLinks Steering Committee Co Chair, “especially when it comes to including deaf and hard of hearing associates.”


The company ensures that associates with specific needs are accommodated by providing sign language interpreters for large meetings and “video relay service,"  a telecommunication technology that enables conversations between deaf associates and co workers or customers in real-time via remote access sign language interpreters. Besides enhancing productivity, the technology can promote the employee's social inclusion.



U.S. Cellular diversity and recruitment team members  


U.S. Cellular was one of three organizations and individuals receiving special recognition during an awards luncheon that was an important part of the conference. Timothy Gomez accepted the AbilityLinks Spirit Award for overcoming disability related barriers to becoming successfully employed.


Mr. Gomez, with help from AbilityLinks, found employment as an Illinois Department of Human Services/Division of Rehabilitation Services (DHS/DRS) Counselor after completing a master’s degree in counseling from Wheaton College one year ago.



Jeff  Standerfer, DHS/DRS, Marilyn Liwanag, DHS/DRS, Advocacy in Action Award winner, Lou Hammer, DHS/DRS, Timothy Gomez DHS/DRS, Spirit Award winner (seated)

Marilyn Liwanag, Office Supervisor, accepted the AbilityLinks Advocacy in Action Award for the DHS/DRS Downers Grove office. Besides funding more than 150 job seekers attending the conference, Ms. Liwanag and her staff were recognized for continuously encouraging their customers to use to find jobs and fill openings. 


While business representatives were busy learning about effective strategies for disability inclusion, job seekers and vocational rehabilitation service providers participated in training on: building a business wardrobe on a limited budget, practice job interviews, how to navigate the world of online applications, consultation on starting a small business, how to focus your networking efforts and effective strategies for voluntary disclosure of disability.




Jennifer Dang, Marianjoy Human Resources Manager networks with an AbilityLinks job seeker


At the end of the day Job seekers met in a packed exhibit hall to network with 43 representatives from colleges and universities, job training programs, government agencies and recruiters from major Chicago area companies.


“I was pleased to see so many businesses and determined job seekers here today, said Ms. Yosko, “and thankful for the commitment of all of our sponsors and volunteers, especially the major support AbilityLinks, a program of Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital received from Northern Trust Bank, Benedictine University, Nicor and the DoubleTree Guest Suites.”

Thanks Sponsors

Northern Trust

Benedictine University


DoubleTree Guest Suites and Conference Center

Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital

U.S. Cellular


Check & Siress

Advanced O & P Solutions

RR Donnelley


SPR Companies


SMA Greater Chicago

DuPage Workforce Board

Alliant Credit Union

Sargent & Lundy


Thanks Planning Committee Members

Benedictine University

College of DuPage

Donka, Inc.

Illinois DCEO Illinois Entrepreneurship Network

Illinois DHS/DRS

DuPage Center for Independent Living


Thanks Exhibitors

Advanced O & P Solutions

Advocate Health Care

Alliant Credit Union

Aurico Reports

Aurico Reports

Benedictine University

Bethesda Lutheran Homes

Ceres Food Group, Inc.


CompTIA Educational Foundation

Cook County President's Office (POET)


DBTAC-Great Lakes ADA Center

DeVry University


Donka, Inc.

DRS Work Incentive Planning and Assistance

Elmhurst Life Skills Academy

Equip for Equality

First Institute

Health Benefits for Workers with Disabilities

Hilton Hotels of Chicagoland

IDHS/Division of Rehabilitation Services

Illinois Small Business Development Center at College of DuPage

Illinois workNet Center Arlington Heights

Illinois workNet Center DuPage

Internal Revenue Services


Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago



Northern Trust

Office of Federal Contract Compliance


Scheck & Siress

Social Security Administration

SPR Companies/nAblement

U.S. Cellular

Victor C. Neumann



Get involved with AbilityLinks today! Visit The Job Opportunity Website for Persons with Disabilities and Inclusive Employers or contact Ken Skord, AbilityLinks Program Director at or 630/909-7440.


AbilityLinks is a program of Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital.


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