2021 Melwood Ability Awards Recognize Leaders Advancing Employment for Individuals with Disabilities and Injured Veterans
August 26, 2021
UPPER MARLBORO, MD – Melwood, a leading national employer and advocate for people with disabilities, today announced the 2021 honorees of the Melwood Ability Awards, featuring the inaugural Advocacy, Impact and Resiliency Awards. Scott Robertson, PhD (Advocacy Award), CAI’s Autism2Work (A2W) – A Neurodiversity Program (Impact Award), and The Arc of Northern Virginia (Resiliency Award) will be recognized during the October 7 event.
“The Melwood Ability Awards allow us to recognize those who have championed and advanced the field of employment for individuals with disabilities and injured veterans,” said Larysa Kautz, Melwood President and CEO. “Bringing together members of Congress, Biden Administration officials, notable figures in the fields of disability advocacy and employment alongside our distinguished finalists and winners is the perfect way to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month.”
- The 2021 Advocacy Award is awarded to Scott Robertson, PhD, a policy advisor on the Employment-Related Supports (ERS) Policy Team in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Dr. Robertson, an openly autistic government official, spearheads ODEP’s activities to enhance national autism policy, increase access to employment for autistic people, and support neurodiversity in the workplace.
- The 2021 Impact Award winner is CAI’s Austim2Work (A2W) – A Neurodiversity Program. Since 2013, CAI’s Autism2Work (A2W) neurodiversity career program has helped private and public organizations drive value, improve productivity, and enhance customer experience by realizing the benefits of neurodiversity and by providing career foundation and advancement opportunities for the neurodivergent population.
- The 2021 Resiliency Award honoree is The Arc of Northern Virginia, an organization at the forefront of identifying and addressing the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) of all ages and their families. Their work during the COVID-19 pandemic successfully adapted to a virtual world, helped the IDD community adjust to changing circumstances and increased access to vaccine coverage and economic impact payments, among other programs.
The Melwood Ability Awards program will feature individuals, employers, researchers, policymakers, and innovative companies who impact, accelerate, and advocate for people with disabilities and injured veterans in the areas of employment. The ceremony will be held virtually in conjunction with Melwood’s Inclusion Through Policy Innovation Conference.
Melwood is one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in the country, employing more than 1,600 workers – nearly 1,000 of whom are people with disabilities. Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,500 people each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Melwood also has an inclusive summer camp program for children and provides employment and support services to veterans and active duty military members who have experienced service-related trauma or injury. For more information, visit www.Melwood.org.