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Committee honors inclusive workplaces, schools

Individuals, companies promote employment for all

Post Date:10/31/2019 9:49 AM

award winners

The Wilson Committee for Person with Disabilities recently honored individuals and companies who are working to eliminate barriers to school or work for people with disabilities. From left, Santana Gray, representing Alliance One; Patsy Ewan, representing Budd Workforce Solutions; Bobbie Chestnut, Vocational Rehabilitation; Chaquita Avent-Holloman, Wilson County Schools; and Katherine Hoots, Hunt High School.


 A recent ceremony honored people who make schools and workplaces inclusive to people of all abilities.

Congress has declared October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The Wilson Committee for Persons with Disabilities annually recognizes community members who “embrace, support and employ those with disabilities to be included and successful,” said Renee Smith, director of the Human Relations Office.

This year’s luncheon and awards program was held Thursday, Oct. 18, at the City of Wilson’s Operations Center.

Four companies were recognized for their exceptional records of hiring people with disabilities: Amy Davis of Amy Jo’s Country Restaurant; Sandy and Keith Ingram of Ja Bri Purdue Farms; Alliance Once Specialty Products; and Budd Workforce Solutions.

Katherine Hoots, a teacher at Hunt High School, was named outstanding educator for her work with students with multiple disabilities, severe cognitive impairments and autism.

Chaquita Avent-Holloman, program coordinator for exceptional children, was named outstanding professional for her work getting high school students ready to enter the work force. Her nomination noted that she has helped develop the Whirli-Dogs business that will create jobs for students and adults with disabilities.

Bobbie Chestnut of Vocational Rehabilitation was named an outstanding advocate. Her nomination said she has helped hundreds of individuals with disabilities find jobs.

The theme of this year’s program was “The Right Talent, Right Now.”

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta who said, “Individuals with disabilities offer employers diverse perspectives on how to tackle challenges and achieve success. Individuals with disabilities have the right talent, right now.”

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