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Last Thursday, our foundation announced the recipients of the Ruderman Best in Business Award. Please read below about the national campaign we conducted to find these truly exemplary businesses and click on the links to learn more about each individual business. Some are large conglomerates and some are small businesses- but they are all leaders who have demonstrated their commitment to a fully inclusive workforce.
The Ruderman Family Foundation, in partnership with The Jewish Week Media Group, is proud to announce the recipients of the inaugural ‘Best in Business’ Award. This national competition highlights North American for profit businesses- large corporations and small family owned businesses- who have shown exemplary practices in hiring, training and supporting people with disabilities.
“Everyone has a fundamental right to be included in our society and the best way to achieve full inclusion is through meaningful employment,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “What these Ruderman Best in Business winners understand is that inclusion is good for the bottom line. Not only are they providing the path to full inclusion for people with disabilities, but they are gaining loyal dedicated employees who change the environment of their workplaces, so all employees feel good about their places of employment. These businesses are leading by example and we believe that their example will inspire other business owners to make their workforces more inclusive for people with disabilities.”
The recipients are:
Long Island Marriott Hotel (Long Island, New York)- Since its opening in 1981, the Long Island Marriott Hotel has been involved in the hiring and support of people with disabilities and actively placing them in an extensive variety of positions within the hotel.
Wegmans Food Market Inc. (Rochester, New York)- Wegmans believes that a commitment to diversity and inclusion allows them to be a great place to work and a great place to shop for all people. They feel that hiring people with disabilities is the right thing to do and aligns with the company value of respect.
Rising Tide Car Wash (Parkland, Florida)- Rising Tide Car Wash is a scalable social enterprise that employs adults with autism. By delivering a first-rate car wash experience, Rising Tide strives to inspire communities to change their perception of the capabilities of people with autism. Through intensive training, team building and caring for the community, Rising Tide sets its employees up for success.
Megleen Inc. (Scarborough, Ontario)- Megleen Inc. owns and operates six Tim Horton’s restaurants in the greater Toronto area. In 20 years of operations the company has hired over 100 people with disabilities to fill meaningful and competitively-paid positions in all areas of the business, from entry-level to logistics, production, and management. Of the current workforce of 250 employees, 46 are people with disabilities.
Green Distribution (Secaucus, New Jersey)- Green Distribution partners with Spectrumworks to help train and support people with autism in the workplace.
ULTRA Testing LLC (New York, New York)- ULTRA Testing is a New York based technology company that provides high quality, highly responsive software testing services. We deliver consistently superior results through onshore teams that include individuals with Asperger Syndrome and similar Autism Spectrum profiles.
Publix Super Markets Inc. (Sunrise, Florida)- With 175,000 employees, Publix has the distinction of being the largest employee-owned supermarket chain. Publix makes an effort to hire people who reflect the makeup of people in each store’s community, which includes hiring people of different backgrounds, ethnicities and abilities.
Accessibility Partners (Silver Spring, Maryland)- Accessibility Partners’ mission is to help organizations improve their accessibility posture by providing distinctive and powerful solutions for their stakeholders. With a full-time staff comprised of engineers with disabilities, Accessibility Partners has a vested interest in the future of usable technology by ensuring that their unique workforce collaborates with developers to create products that enable all of us better access to information technology.
[words] Bookstore (Maplewood, New Jersey)- [words] is the local, independent bookstore in Maplewood, New Jersey. What makes them special is their mission: they engage readers of all ages and interests, and they welcome patrons and employees with autism.
BagelToons (Detroit, Michigan)- BagelToons is a company that creates interactive digital media developed for a variety of platform. As they work to expand their creative product, BagelToons has called on a team of artists that they are connected with over the internet—specifically, artists who have disabilities.
Each of these businesses has demonstrated a history of employing people with disabilities, training and supporting employees with disabilities, while developing innovative approaches to maximizing employee’s abilities. A panel of seven experts selected the winners from among the many nominations that were submitted online.
“The Jewish Week is proud to partner with the Ruderman Family Foundation, which has led the way in advocating for those with disabilities, giving voice to those who often go unheard, and challenging all of us to be more aware of and sensitive to those who may need our help,” said Gary Rosenblatt, editor and publisher of The Jewish Week Media Group.
Currently in the U.S., the unemployment rate of adults with disabilities hovers between 70-80%. The goal of the campaign is to shine a spotlight on these businesses and show that an inclusive workplace is good for an employer’s bottom line. Gaining a competitive edge means employing the best people available. The Foundation calls on all employers to open their doors to workers of all abilities in order to create a more fair and flourishing society.