Hannaford in Keene was among five New Hampshire businesses to receive an Employment Leadership Award at the statewide Employer Recognition Breakfast held October 14, 2010 at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord. The businesses were honored with the awards for demonstrating exceptional leadership, innovation and/or a commitment to adopting hiring practices that improve employment opportunities for workers with disabilities in New Hampshire.

Diana DeSorcie, Associate Relations Manager at Hannaford, said: “We have a commitment to having an associate base that is a reflection of the community where we do business. We have become known for this inclusive policy and we have consistently received feedback from customers who are loyal to Hannafords because they support this commitment to inclusivity. For some customers, loyalty can include actually choosing a check-out line where one of their favorite associates is stationed because they have built a personal relationship with the associate. That kind of feedback tells us doing the right thing for the right reason can actually be smart business”.

Several of the businesses nominated for the leadership award are familiar names to MDS and the people that we serve in the Monadnock Region: Hannaford, Keene; Monadnock Paper Mills, Bennington; Pit Stop Smoke House, Westmoreland, and Plotkin’s Furniture, Keene.

In addition to Hannaford, Employment Leadership Award 2010 recipients are Brevan Electronics, Inc., Merrimack; CEJ Computer Business Systems, LLC, Merrimack; Havenwood-Heritage Heights, Concord; and Johnson Precision, Amherst. The award recipients were selected from a pool of 23 business nominees submitted by employment providers and partners throughout New Hampshire.

“All the businesses nominated and recognized today are clear examples that workers with disabilities are a positive and productive part of a skilled workforce. We invite more businesses to look beyond disability as a limitation and focus on how workforce needs can be met with skilled workers that include people with disabilities,” remarked Denise Sleeper, Director, Granite State Employment Project, Bureau of Developmental Services.

The Statewide Employer Recognition Breakfast and the Employment Leadership Award, now in its second year, acknowledges the efforts of Granite State businesses that are actively implementing disability employment practices. The Employment Leadership Event in Concord was co-hosted by the Monadnock Center for Successful Transitions, as part of the Granite State Employment Project, with the goal of improving employment outcomes for able workers with disabilities.