HCN News & Notes

VIABILITY Inc. Recognizes Five Massachusetts Employers as Inclusive Employers of the Year

SPRINGFIELD — VIABILITY Inc. announced that five employers from Massachusetts were selected as 2021 recipients of its Inclusive Employer of the Year Award: Brooksby Village in Salem, Hillside Pizza in Greenfield, Expressive Design Group in West Springfield, MASS MoCA in North Adams, and Texas Roadhouse in Worcester. The award recognizes standout employers for partnership in employing VIABILITY’s program participants; inclusion, integration, and growth of people with disabilities; and a culture that upholds dignity.

October is designated National Disability Employment Awareness Month for a reason: the barriers are real. Data from a June 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed that the unemployment rate of people with disabilities was nearly twice that of people who do not have a disability.

“It’s not because people with disabilities don’t want to work,” said Colleen Holmes, VIABILITY’s president and CEO. “Many of our program participants have continued to work as essential workers through the pandemic. The issue is inclusion, access, and honoring the inherent dignity of every individual. We treasure our employer honorees, who are visionary and smart in bringing together their desire to see individuals in their communities thrive with the need to have their businesses succeed.”

Four other recipients of VIABILITY’s Inclusive Employer of the Year Award hail from the four other states where VIABILITY is sited. Additionally, Mohegan Sun, a 20-year employer-partner with VIABILITY, was selected as the 2021 recipient of its Enduring Equity and Inclusion Employer Award.