ICED Honors Legislator, State Employee, Non-Profit, and Media for Hiring and Promoting the Independence of People with Disabilities

4/25/2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  April 25, 2012
CONTACT: Mike Claffey 312-814-3957

SPRINGFIELD - April 25, 2012. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon joined Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) Director Rocco J. Claps and Department of Illinois Human Services Secretary (IDHS) Michelle R.B. Saddler today at the State Fairgrounds to present a series of awards from the Interagency Committee on Employees with Disabilities (ICED).

"The honorees today exemplify standards in the workplace that we should all strive to achieve," said Lt. Governor Simon said. "Support and inclusivity of all individuals, regardless of ability, helps break down barriers and ultimately strengthens our organizations."

The recipients include Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) who was awarded the Carl Suter Award as Legislator of the Year; Judith A. West, a Rehabilitation Mobility Instructor at the DHS's Champaign office of the Division of Rehabilitation Services, is Employee of the Year; Univision Radio and Doug Levy, and the Progress Center for Independent Living, and its executive director Horacio Esparza, were awarded the Media Award for providing air time and producing the show Radio Vida Independiente (Independent Living); and the Lake County Center for Independent Living was awarded the Non-Profit award. Additional awards were presented to agencies that have hired employees through the state's Successful Disability Opportunities program.

Pictured are left to right: Anna D'Ascenzo, Civil Affairs Bureau Chief & Chief EEO officer, DHS Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler, ICED co-chair & Rocco Claps, Dept. of Human Rights & ICED co-chair

DHS received an award from the Interagency Committee on Employees with Disabilities for hiring 34 people through the Successful Disability Opportunities program. Pictured are left to right: Anna D'Ascenzo, Chief of the Civil Affairs Bureau and Chief EEO officer, DHS Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler, ICED co-chair and Rocco Claps, director of the Department of Human Rights and ICED co-chair.

"The Committee was impressed with the work being done around the state to further the independence of people with disabilities," said IDHR Director Claps. "We invite the community to join us in recognizing these outstanding individuals and organizations."

"DHS is strongly committed to both serving persons with disabilities around the state and to creating a workplace environment that empowers persons with disabilities to reach their full potential," said DHS Secretary Saddler. "Judith West is a wonderful example of how DHS is succeeding in achieving these twin goals."Benro Ogunyipe(left), now working in the Office of Accessibility & Customer Support, recieved an award from the ICED in the employee category from Elizabeth Gastellum, Office of Lietenant Governor.

The Interagency Committee on Employees with Disabilities, (www.state.il.us/iced), represents the interests of more than 3,000 employees with disabilities in state government. The Awards Program promotes independence, access, and opportunities for employees with disabilities.

For additional information on ICED, please contact Susan Allen at the Department of Human Rights, at (217) 785-5119 (V), 1-866-740-3953 (TTY), or Susan.Allen@Illinois.gov .