Employers People WITH Disabilities
Connect-Ability recognizes employers in Connecticut for the work they have done to remove
barriers preventing people with disabilities from finding and keeping jobs. BY SAM ALI
It didn’t matter if they hired just one employee or hundreds. The six companies that were honored by Connect-Ability, the premier esource center for disability information in Connecticut, all share one common trait: their
dedication to removing barriers to hiring and promoting people with disabilities.
The fifth annual Connect-Ability Top Employer Awards were
presented in June at an Employment Summit in Hartford that brought
together hundreds of employers, workers and advocates for people
with disabilities, says Margarita Torres, the project coordinator for
Connect-Ability, a federally funded initiative that seeks to identify and
lower barriers of employment for people with
Connect-Ability was formed in 2005 with
the help of a Medicaid Infrastructure Grant to
create meaningful policy change in Connecticut
designed to help people with disabilities gain
employment, Torres says.
Connect-Ability serves as a single point of
entry for two target audiences: people with disabilities seeking employment information and
resources and employers of all sizes seeking to hire them. Connect-Ability funds the Connecticut Business Leadership Network as well,
a coalition of Connecticut employers working together to increase
employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Torres says that by showcasing and honoring the work of outstanding employers, both big and small, Connect-Ability hopes to encourage
more companies to learn more about recruiting, hiring and retaining
employees with disabilities.
This year, Connect-Ability recognized these companies for
leadership and dedication to hiring and promoting people with
GREEN DEMOLITIONS (NORWALK)
In 2001, Steve Feldman founded Green Demolitions, whose sole
purpose is to raise money to support recover-
ing addicts. Feldman, a recovered addict, says
his life was saved 21 years ago through a life-
saving addiction-recovery program.
The idea for his company came to him
one day when he drove by the former residence of Farah Pahlavi, the last empress of
Iran, who had lived in a 10,000-square-foot
Rockefeller Mansion. The “Demolition in
Progress” sign in the driveway intrigued
him, he says.
“The gates were open, so I drove up. The
house was gone, so I had an idea. Why not
start a demolition-donation program and earn
the money [for charity] rather than ask for it?”
The Green Demolitions
business model is simple:
Feldman persuades home-
owners in the New York area
to donate their unused or
lightly used luxury kitchens,
appliances, bathrooms and
home décor to the company.
Feldman then sends in a crew
to dismantle and remove these items from the
homes and proceeds to sell them for a frac-
tion of their original retail price through his
stores in Norwalk, Conn., Honesdale, Pa., and
Riverdale, N.J., and through his website, green
demolitions.org. All profits raised from the
sale of these donated kitchens and appliances
go directly to support his charity, Recovery
Unlimited, which helps recovering addicts get
back on their feet. The company, which also
employs recovering addicts, has grown from a
two-person shop in one Connecticut location
to 37 employees in three states.
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