2020 APSE Virtual Conference.

The Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) awarded the APSE Employer Award during the #APSE2020 Virtual Conference on June 25, 2020.

APSE and its members emphasize the importance of collaborating with business to create good job match. The success of Employment First relies on partner employers who seek to value and demonstrate the importance of an inclusive workforce by employing people with disabilities.

This year, APSE is honored and humbled in recognizing the contributions of the 2020 nominees and winner, Sephora!


Watch the Award Presentation Below

Sephoro logo.

Sephora, Locations: Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, and Maryland

Sephora's message is “inspiring fearlessness”, and they mean it. As HR Manager, Ryan Hitsman, says, "We don't focus on what people can't do, we focus on what they can do in this workplace."

Sephora partnered with Viability's Corporate Inclusion Solutions division in 2017 to diversify their workforce, enhance their corporate culture, and develop a sustainable inclusive workplace environment in their distribution centers.

Sephora's goal in 2018 was to employ 30% of its distribution center workforce with people with disabilities, with the objective of hiring at least 100 people with disabilities in their Mississippi location. To date, they have hired 119 people with disabilities with 9 of those individuals being promoted within the company. The average retention rate among the Sephora locations that are currently running the program is 85%.

Nominated by Krystle Bernier

And the nominees are...

Chase Gibb being awarded the Iowa APSE employer award 2019.

Chase Gibbs
Buffalo Tavern, Burlington, IA

Chase resides in the Southeastern Iowa area and has employed several individuals throughout Iowa with sustainable employment. Chase is a true believer of equal opportunity and shown that with his efforts to help individuals with disabilities with employment.

Chase makes individuals feel as they are equal. Chase has shown what the meaning of a great employer looks like. Chase has also shown individuals that they can do and be anything that they desire and can be successful.

Nominated by the Iowa APSE Board of Directors

Elaine Brovont photo.
Kokomo School Corporation logo.

Elaine Brovont
Kokomo School Corporation, Indiana

Elaine Brovont, the Director of Food Service for Kokomo School Corporation in Indiana has been described as “a positive influence in the community with years of experience hiring, training, and employing adults with disabilities.”

According to Lisa Kewley with the Kokomo School Corporation: “Elaine has been working diligently on expanding our partnerships and working with other agencies to find people to fill our open positions. She is encouraging the staff to improve themselves and works with our cafeteria managers to find the best fit for Bona Vista employees. She is always open to new ideas and tries to find ways to improve the workflow not only with our employees with special abilities, but also teaching others to be patient and respectful of these same staff members.”

Nominated by Jonathan Kraeszig

Group of people in a warehouse.

Complete Transpack Solutions, Colorado

Complete Transpack Solutions is leading the way in competitive, integrated employment and has been a model across several states for other businesses. Complete TPS recognized two things - first is that they have a business need that has been difficult to consistently respond to and second is that they have missed engaging with a large section of the workforce that would be so valuable in progressing their business. Because of this realization, Complete TPS has begun to reach out to supported employment providers in four states. Recently, Complete TPS reached out to Developmental Disabilities Resource Center to discuss how we can partner together to meet their business need and be a leader in inclusive hiring in our community.

Complete Transpack Solutions fully "gets" what it means to be an inclusive employer. They want to ensure that the correct job match is made between their business needs and the interests and skills of the employee.

Nominated by Heather Hagen

2019 APSE Employer Award Winner

Mercy Hospital, St. Louis, MO

Mercy has five core values – dignity, justice, service, excellence, and stewardship. The foundation of these, and the context in which all others are understood, is dignity – cherishing each person as created in the image of God. This value, along with our strong Catholic identity, is what motivates their efforts toward greater disability workforce inclusion at Mercy.

Mercy Hospital,
St. Louis, 
APSE Employer Award

To that end, Mercy has established Disability Inclusion Task Forces in seven of their largest hospitals, representing all major service areas. These committees are building a culture of inclusion through education for co-workers, leaders and recruiters; working with the community and Mercy’s own talent selection team to foster connections to qualified applicants; providing advocacy training for job seekers with disabilities, as well as promoting disability resources; and providing volunteer, training and development opportunities for potential co-workers.

Through this work, Mercy is tapping into the underused talent and reversing the barriers to employment frequently experienced by those with disabilities. There has been a 51% increase in individuals with disabilities employed over a two-year period in the seven hospitals where work is being done through Disability Inclusion Task Forces. Current practices are being expanded and innovative measures developed to grow an inclusive culture across the organization. The co-worker population is already seeing increased tolerance and inclusion, which allows Mercy to better fulfill its mission every day.