Black Hills Works and BH Services have won the 2011 AbilityOne/NISH Performance Excellence in Grassroots Advocacy Award. The award was presented at the AbilityOne/NISH National Training and Achievement Conference May 21-23 in Indiana. Cheif Executive Officer Brad Saathoff accepted the award, which is given to recognize the effective, creative approach a non-profit agency uses to engage and educate public policymakers on a local, state, and federal level about the AbilityOne Program. NISH is a national nonprofit agency whose mission is to create employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities by securing federal contracts through the AbilityOne Program for its network of community-based, nonprofit agencies.
Black Hills Works and BH Services are committed to creating and maintaining active and ongoing relationships with our congressional delegation, as well as our state and local political leaders. This is the most effective way to educate them about our services and the importance of employment opportunities for people with disabilities under the AbilityOne program. Because we have contracts at Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City and at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska, representatives of our agency meet with both our South Dakota and Nebraska delegations at least three times a year in Washington , DC. We also meet regularly with their local representatives in both communities and have hosted congressional leaders on tours of our contracts. .
BH Services and Black Hills Works also host annual town hall meetings for state senators and representatives in order to educate them about our mission and the contributions made in our community by people with disabilities. We currently lead a coalition made up of the twenty members of the South Dakota Association of Community Based Services to work on Medicaid-related issues.
Educating the public and policymakers about the AbilityOne program and the abilities of those we serve is an ongoing challenge. We are very proud to recognized for our efforts. To see the awards ceremony, see http://vimeo.com/42783617.
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