Meijer Receives the Community Award for Best Commercial Business Partnership in Support of the AbilityOne Program

Apr 23, 2012, 14:34 ET from AbilityOne Program

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Meijer, a Grand Rapids-based retailer with stores throughout Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, has been honored with the community award for best commercial business partnership in support of the AbilityOne® Program, as part of the 2011 NISH National Awards. This national award recognizes a commercial business that has partnered with an AbilityOne affiliated nonprofit agency (NPA) to maximize the employment of people with significant disabilities. Established in 1974, NISH (www.nish.org) is one of two national, nonprofit agencies designated by the U.S. AbilityOne Commission™ to support nonprofit agencies participating in the AbilityOne Program – the largest single source of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities.

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Meijer was nominated by Peckham, Inc., an AbilityOne NPA based in Lansing that provides job training and competitive employment opportunities for persons with significant disabilities and other barriers to employment. Partnered since 2009, Meijer has hired 26 referrals from Peckham, Inc. for their "Fresh Assembly Project" that brought packaging and distribution of vegetable trays in-house. Meijer has committed to have 40 percent of the Fresh Assembly Department employees be people with disabilities.

"Meijer's partnership with Peckham is a wonderful example of how commercial business and nonprofit organizations can work together to provide meaningful employment opportunities for people with disabilities," said Bob Chamberlin, President and CEO of NISH. NISH, a national nonprofit agency whose mission is to create employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities, is sponsoring the event. "The support of these organizations is essential in helping to contribute to the success of the AbilityOne Program and the positive impact on the communities they serve."

Meijer has been employing people with disabilities for more than 20 years and has excelled in creating a dynamic and inclusive workforce where they work with each employee as an individual to provide a proper job fit, according to their abilities. Meijer is also a founding member of a knowledge exchange group consisting of leaders from large retailers all over the country, which focuses on promoting best practices for hiring persons with significant disabilities.

"By actively recruiting people with disabilities and providing the proper job match, we are beginning to measure improved morale, increased job satisfaction, and better staff retention," said Michael Gamble, Senior Director, Human Resources, Meijer. "This measurable success is for the company as a whole. We learned that better job matching techniques for people with disabilities has also improved our job matches for every employee."

The 2011 NISH/AbilityOne National Awards serve to recognize organizations that have demonstrated outstanding support for the AbilityOne Program and people with significant disabilities, as well as, individuals with significant disabilities whose lives have been impacted by the AbilityOne Program. Nominations for these awards may be submitted by an AbilityOne-affiliated NPA or a Federal customer.

NISH–Creating Employment for People with Significant Disabilities
Established in 1974, NISH (www.nish.org) is one of two national, nonprofit agencies designated by the U.S. AbilityOne Commission™ to support nonprofit agencies (NPAs) participating in the AbilityOne Program. NISH provides employment opportunities for people who are blind or have other significant disabilities by procuring Federal contracts for goods and services. Headquartered in Vienna, Va., NISH supports a network of more than 1,200 NPAs as well as Federal customers by providing legislative and regulatory assistance, communications and public relations materials, information technology support, engineering and technical assistance, and extensive professional training needed for successful contract management.

AbilityOne Program
Providing employment opportunities to more than 50,000 people, the AbilityOne Program is the largest single source of employment for people who are blind or have other significant disabilities in the United States.  More than 600 participating nonprofit organizations employ these individuals and provide quality goods and services to the Federal Government at a fair market price.  The AbilityOne® Program is administered by the U.S. AbilityOne Commission (www.abilityone.gov), an independent Federal agency, with assistance from National Industries for the Blind (NIB, www.nib.org) and NISH—Creating Employment Opportunities for People with Significant Disabilities (www.nish.org).

SOURCE AbilityOne Program