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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 AbilityLinks.org 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


Nicor


DoubleTree Guest Suites and Conference Center


Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital


U.S. Cellular


Martin-Brower


Check & Siress


Advanced O & P Solutions


RR Donnelley


Amgen


SPR Companies


nAblement


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.


Comcast


CompTIA Educational Foundation


Cook County President's Office (POET)


Costco


DBTAC-Great Lakes ADA Center


DeVry University


disabilityworks


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


Marianjoy


Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago


MobilityWorks


monster


Northern Trust


Office of Federal Contract Compliance


OfficeMax


Scheck & Siress


Social Security Administration


SPR Companies/nAblement


U.S. Cellular


Victor C. Neumann


Walgreens


 

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


 


AbilityLinks is a program of Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital.


 


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