WASHINGTON, D.C. - June, 2002 - Over the past twelve years, more than 950 area employers participating in the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities’ Washington, D.C. “Bridges…from school to work” program have facilitated successful school-to-work employment opportunities for 1,790 high school youth with disabilities. Tonight, three of those employers, plus one outstanding graduate of the Bridges program, were honored for outstanding success during the 2001-2002 school year at the Foundation’s annual gala, which raised over $550,000 for youth programs. The annual fundraising gala was held at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel.
Richard E. Marriott, chairman of Host Marriott Corporation and the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities, was joined by U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch and Lou Holtz, head football coach for the University of South Carolina, to salute the four honorees:
á U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Employer of the Year. In 2001, an HHS employee who is the parent of a Bridges student encouraged the department to become involved in Bridges so other young people with disabilities could gain similar positive workplace experiences. As a result, HHS hired four Bridges youths during the 2001-2002 school year as office automation clerk assistants, equipped them with their own cubicle, phone line and computer, and today continues to foster the youths’ special talents and contributions.
á The office of Dr. Granville A. Small, D.D.S., P.A., Small Business Honoree of the Year. Involved with and dedicated to the Bridges program since 1999, Dr. Small and his office manager, Cynthia McIntyre, have employed two students. Watching the students flourish while working with them on professional duties and workplace etiquette has inspired Dr. Small to hire more Bridges youth “so that more young adults can experience employment success.”
á John L. McIlveen, Leadership Award Honoree. Director of human resources for the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) and co-chair of the Washington, D.C.-area 2002 Bridges Advisory Council, Mr. McIlveen’s advocacy for youth with disabilities took root in two earlier experiences: first, while in college, as Big Brother to a young man with Down’s Syndrome; and second, as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco, running a home for children with polio. Now, Mr. McIlveen continues his advocacy work both within and outside of his organization by recruiting new area employers, hosting training sessions for youths and their parents, and fostering workplace experiences for Bridges youths at the AICR. Says Mr. McIlveen, “Maybe, just maybe, we will make a difference in [these young peoples’] lives.” In addition to Mr. McIlveen’s individual involvement, the AICR was named Small Business Honoree of the Year in 2001.
á Corisa Davis, Bridges Graduate and Youth Achievement Award Winner. A graduate of Cardoza High School, Ms. Davis was initially placed at Arent Fox, a local law firm, as a part-time administrative clerk, and was then hired as a full-time accounting clerk in September 2001. According to her employer, Ms. Davis has “proven to be an exceptional employee with Arent Fox, and we are extremely proud of her.” Arent Fox’s long-standing support of Bridges was saluted last year when the company was named 2001 Employer of the Year.
Mr. Marriott said, “The common denominator with all of our honorees is that they are generating ‘win/win’ situations. Employers gain talented new employees for their workplace, young people gain an avenue to a productive and fulfilling future, and all of us gain from living in a society that draws upon the talents of all of its citizens.”
The Foundation’s “Bridges…from school to work” program facilitates paid employment opportunities for young people with disabilities in their final year of high school. Since the program was launched in Washington in 1990, more than 5,500 youths in six U.S. cities have been placed in competitive employment with over 1,450 employers. Ninety percent of the youths who successfully complete their Bridges experience receive offers of continued employment. In addition to the Washington, D.C., area, Bridges operates in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
The Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities (www.marriottfoundation.org) was established in 1989 by the family of J. Willard Marriott to foster the employment of people with disabilities. Bridges is supported in part by grants from the U.S. Department of Education (Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services) and the U.S. Department of Labor.