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SourceAmerica honored three nonprofit agencies in its network with its Performance Excellence Awards at the 2018 SourceAmerica National Training and Achievement Conference in Indianapolis May 9. Awards recognized achievements in government contracting, advocacy and veterans’ employment.
Performance Excellence in Hiring Veterans with Disabilities: Linden Resources
Linden Resources started its VetsReady2Work, or VR2W, program in 2010 to respond to an increasing number of wounded warriors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The program has evolved and now serves not only veterans with significant disabilities but also those with other barriers to employment. Their dedication to veterans’ employment earned them the Performance Excellence in Hiring Veterans with Disabilities Award.
With a support staff of all veterans, the VR2W program supports and employs veterans with disabilities by providing individualized employment support services that ensure they gain and maintain meaningful employment.
“The VR2W program assists veterans with identifying transferable skills from their military service into civilian occupations that pay livable wages with benefits and opportunity for advancement,” said Larysa Kautz, chief of staff and general counsel for Linden’s parent organization, Melwood.
While the program has placed 62 veterans into jobs on contracts serviced by Linden, its reach extends into the community. VR2W has assisted local organizations with their wounded warrior hiring initiatives. The program is an active member of the Northrup Grumman Operation IMPACT Network of Champions, composed of organizations with similar veteran employment initiatives and has partnered with Boeing to host veteran boot camps.
Performance Excellence in Government Contracts: The Corporate Source
The Corporate Source in Garden City, New York, received the Performance Excellence in Government Contracts Award for its response during an unprecedented storm season. The agency has served the federal government at locations in the Caribbean since 2000, so employees were seasoned responders to natural disasters. But Hurricanes Irma and Maria tested the fortitude of TCS employees as the monster storms battered the region in quick succession.
TCS Vice President of Operations Joe Garcia and Regional Manager Anibal Felicano were on the ground in Puerto Rico to assist the 125 TCS employees living on the island only days after Hurricane Maria devastated the area. TCS CEO Michael Kramer said that most workers reported to their jobs while waiting to hear from loved ones, trying to secure basic needs and, in 10 cases, managing the replacement of homes or cars destroyed by the storm.
“The resilience of our staff is evident, and under Joe Garcia’s leadership, the support, collaboration and partnership that have long been nurtured created an environment that enabled this extraordinary response,” Kramer said. “He summed it up perfectly while discussing the current situation in the Caribbean Region: ‘We have only one option—to move forward.’”
Kramer said that facing the challenges brought by the storm strengthened the spirit of collaboration between the organization and its government customers.
“This has always been a relationship that has been built on mutual respect and support,” he said. “Hurricane Maria added an additional dimension that personified the shared sense of purpose and resolve always demonstrated by our staff. In hearing about the award, the pride exhibited by our staff in Puerto Rico was palpable.”
Kramer said that TCS sent the award to Puerto Rico to be shared by everyone who contributed to the emergency efforts.
Performance Excellence in Grassroots Advocacy: ServiceSource
ServiceSource in Oakton, Virginia, received the Performance Excellence in Grassroots Advocacy Award for its role as an AbilityOne provider responding to a U.S. Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration change to the definition of “competitive integrated employment.” The change would prevent state-funded vocational rehabilitation services from referring people with disabilities to gainful employment through the AbilityOne Program.
“The RSA’s action in September 2016 misrepresented AbilityOne employment environments and created barriers to access that persist today,” said ServiceSource Chief Operating Officer Bruce Patterson. “That is unacceptable, and we are glad to be a part of reversing that action.”
Patterson led advocacy efforts to counteract the regulation through engagement with state vocational rehabilitation agencies, meetings with SourceAmerica staff, U.S. AbilityOne Commission staff, Department of Education officials and the office of Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. After Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., visited ServiceSource to learn about the implications of the RSA definition change, she arranged a meeting between the organization and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Education Kimberly Richey.
“These activities have mobilized ServiceSource into a fully functioning grassroots advocacy force that is having an impact in both the legislative and executive branches of the federal government,” said Mark Hall, executive vice president and chief strategy officer at ServiceSource.