Employing Individuals with Disabilities Yields Positive Results for Victory Living Programs

Aug 04, 2015, 20:00 ET from Victory Living Programs

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Aug. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- This July marked the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law on July, 26, 1990. As Americans celebrated this milestone anniversary, businesses are discovering that it pays to hire individuals with disabilities. Victory Living Programs (VLP), which provides services to help adults with disabilities live independently, has already recognized the benefits that hiring individuals with disabilities can provide.

In addition to providing job training and placement to adults with disabilities through its Supported Employment and Employment Services Programs, Victory Living employs individuals with disabilities. One employee, Kerrilynn Leonardo, who has an intellectual/learning disability, has been a member of the VLP Adult Day Training Program staff for three years where she teaches life skills to clients.

"On a daily basis, Kerri works with individuals who participate in our Adult Day Training Program, to teach and guide them on a variety of tasks and skills," said Bobbi Wigand, Executive Director of Victory Living Programs. "She is able to understand their needs and relate to them in a manner than the other staff can't.  She is extremely conscientious, dependable and dedicated and has grown tremendously in her position."

As a result of Leonardo's success, she was nominated for the Connections 2014 Adult Leadership Award and competed in the 2013 Special Olympics World Games in South Korea where she placed 1st, 2nd, and 6th in the skiing competition.

Employing individuals with disabilities is something that major corporations have had great success with. "Through the years, Publix has hired individuals who have participated in our Employment Services Program," said Wigand.

"Part of Publix 's mission statement is to be involved as responsible citizens in our communities," said Nicole Maristany Krauss, Media and Community Relations Manager for Publix.  "We want our associates and their unique abilities to reflect the communities we serve, and persons with disabilities are a vital part of that segment.  We welcome persons with disabilities to apply and gain meaningful employment at Publix."

In addition to Publix, Walgreens has also gained national recognition for employing individuals with disabilities.  According to Salon.com, studies show Walgreens' workers with disabilities "are more efficient and loyal than nondisabled workers. Absenteeism has gone down, turnover is less, and safety statistics are up. And the cost of accommodating such workers with new technologies and education is minimal."

Evidence of the benefits of hiring individuals with mental or physical disabilities has been touted by the National Governors Association who started the "A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities" initiative. With this initiative, the National Governors Association aims to lower the rate of unemployment among the disabled population and show companies that hiring workers with disabilities is something that can benefit both employer and employee.

"Being hired full time at VLP was one of my proudest accomplishments, and I'm grateful that I am able to use my personal understanding of disabilities to help clients each day," said Kerrilynn Leonardo. "I would encourage anyone with a disability hoping to pursue a career to never give up on their dreams and work hard; It may take longer for them, but it is possible."

To learn more about the Supported Employment Program, Employment Services Program, and other programs offered by Victory Living Programs, please visit www.victoryliving.org or call (954) 616-1074.

About Victory Living Programs
For the past four decades, Victory Living Programs has created supported living environments for thousands of people with disabilities. Based in warm, beautiful Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Victory Living Programs offers a premier supported living program that place clients in their own individual, luxurious apartments. In addition, Victory Living Programs also offers an extensive array of programming to assist clients with securing and maintaining employment, learning new skills, volunteering in the community and socializing with their peers - all of which make it possible to infuse independence and transform the lives of people with disabilities. To learn more, visit www.victoryliving.org.

Contact: Laurie Menekou, (954) 732-0754 (or)

SOURCE Victory Living Programs