Lansing, Mich – Six Michiganders with disabilities and seven partner organizations were recognized at the 14th annual Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) Champions Awards ceremony for demonstrating resilience and achieving employability skills and abilities. Each expresses the best of what is possible while championing a diverse and inclusive workforce.
The virtual event is part of October’s Disability Employment Awareness Month, which is held to encourage employers to hire qualified people with disabilities.
MRS, housed in the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) in partnership with the Michigan Council on Rehabilitation Services, recognizes employers, partners and clients.
“We are proud to honor and thank the great people with disabilities whose dedicated efforts have led to success in the workforce and who strengthen and support Michigan’s public vocational rehabilitation programs,” said Leo’s director. Susan Corbin. “Vocational rehabilitation plays a vital role in closing equity gaps and helping people, businesses and communities reach their full potential. The work of Michigan Rehabilitation Services helps all Michiganders have equal opportunities for great jobs, living wages and contributing to our state’s future.”
MRS staff from around the region nominated champions in various categories. The award was given to the following awardees.
Clients who are motivated and committed to finding and keeping a job:
- Ethan Idzir – Auburn
- Mancell Lyttle – Detroit
- Brenna Howell – Detroit
- Earl Dube – Shelby Township
Student clients who are motivated and committed to finding and keeping a job:
- Alex Kortas – Sterling Heights
- Leah Johncock – Shelbyville
Business partners from large businesses who are working with MRS and its customers in innovative ways:
- Amphenol Borisch Technologies – Grand Rapids
- DTE Energy – Detroit
Business partners from small businesses who are working creatively with MRS and its customers:
- A & F Wood – Howell
- Macro link – Detroit
Community partners with a strong commitment to empowering people with disabilities to take control of their future:
- Simmons Advantage – West Bloomfield
- Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium – Cheboygan
A statewide community partner with a strong commitment to empowering people with disabilities to take control of their future.
- MDHHS / Erin Wallace – Oakland County
“What these customers, businesses and partners have achieved in the past year has not been easy,” said the director of MRS Tina Fullerton. “Our path to greater diversity in the workplace starts with businesses willing to see the benefits of working with individuals of diverse abilities. We are incredibly proud to work with each of this year’s winners.”
“Building an inclusive and diverse workforce is a priority at DTE, and partnering with Rehabilitation Services of Michigan has made our journey easier,” he said. Alice HarrisManager of Recruitment Strategies at DTE Energy, one of the Champion Award winners. “MRS is not only our ‘go-to’ source for advice and counsel, but has helped us broaden our horizons and recruit qualified applicants for skilled trades positions with disabilities.”
“Our partnership with Michigan Rehabilitation Services has been truly unique,” he said. Jillian Black, HR Business Partner at Amphenol Borisch Technologies, Champion Award Winner. “Their dedicated team have given us the tools, resources and support to feel confident in providing an environment where people with disabilities can grow and thrive. As a business, we’re always working to provide a more inclusive environment, and working with MRS has helped us look at our own practices to move toward that goal of inclusion.
MRS helps people with disabilities find competitive employment and become self-sufficient. For more information about Michigan rehabilitation services, visit Michigan.gov/MRS.