October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) encourages businesses and organizations across the country to participate. Held annually, NDEAM educates about disability employment topics and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. Although national in scope, NDEAM’s true spirit lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level. Employers of all sizes and in all industries can take part.
Threshold Rehabilitation Services, Inc. is a vocational rehabilitation agency serving Berks County and surrounding areas since 1965. Threshold offers programs that support adults with intellectual disabilities and severe mental health challenges in their homes, daily life, work and other community endeavors.
Each October, Threshold recognizes National Disability Employment Awareness Month by holding their Celebrate Abilities Awards event. The DoubleTree by Hilton Reading was the ideal location for this year’s event, held on October 24, as the DoubleTree was honored, along with Redner’s Markets, Kenhorst location, as Employers of the Year.
Both The DoubleTree and Redner’s Markets have created supportive and inclusive environments for employees with disabilities. Partnering with Berks Personnel Network, the employment division of Threshold, these employers implemented policies and practices that ensure equal treatment, opportunities, and support for all employees, regardless of their backgrounds or abilities.
The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Corina Blackford of Outlook Pharmacy for her outstanding effort on behalf of individuals supported by Threshold programs.
Seven individuals who participate in Threshold’s programs were awarded Personal Outcomes Achievement Awards for making strides towards their personal goals, many relating to community engagement and employment. One individual was awarded the Spirit of Threshold Award which is given to a program participant who has made outstanding effort and progress towards independence in the community. The staff who nominated this year’s recipient had this to say:
‘She has demonstrated exceptional progress in achieving her personal goals and has truly embodied the program’s spirit. Throughout her time in the program, she has shown a remarkable commitment to personal growth and development, has consistently displayed a positive attitude and a willingness to take on new challenges and has been an inspiration to both staff and fellow participants.’
Five Threshold employees received Excellence in Service awards for their lasting dedication to those they support. And The Ronald L. Williams Memorial Award, was presented to Christian Woehr, Director of Facilities and Maintenance. This award recognizes a staff member or team(s) for achievement and innovation in the areas of new business development or in service delivery.
Chris has been Threshold’s Director of Facilities and Maintenance since March of 2022. In his brief time with Threshold, Chris has completed many high-priority projects and upgrades to Threshold’s properties, as well as maintained security measures to keep our individuals safe. Most recently, the exterior of the main office building was repainted, and several doors and windows were replaced to provide increased security.
He has also overseen the bidding, planning, and implementation of various other security measures to protect the individuals we support and our employees, not only at the main office building but at the residential homes and clubhouses. Chris is extremely knowledgeable and adept at operating a successful maintenance department and ensures all necessary safety measures are in place. He makes himself available to anyone who needs assistance, especially the individuals we serve. He has said himself that just seeing a client smiling and being comfortable in their home makes his job worth it.