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The Ruderman Family Foundation, in partnership with The Jewish Week Media Group, has revealed the recipients of the inaugural Best in Business Award, among them Publix Super Markets and Wegmans Food Markets. The national competition recognizes North American businesses of all sizes that have demonstrated exemplary practices in hiring, training and supporting people with disabilities.
"Everyone has a fundamental right to be included in our society, and the best way to achieve full inclusion is through meaningful employment," noted Jay Ruderman, president of the Boston-based Ruderman Family Foundation. "What these Ruderman Best in Business winners understand is that inclusion is good for the bottom line. Not only are they providing the path to full inclusion for people with disabilities, but they are gaining loyal, dedicated employees who change the environment of their workplaces, so all employees feel good about their places of employment."
"At Publix, we place a priority on providing a workplace where everyone can feel welcome, secure and valued," said Maria Brous, director of media and community relations for the Lakeland, Fla.-based grocer, which has 1,102 stores in six states. "Our company recognizes that we are made up of the talents of many, yet we foster the uniqueness of each. We focus on the abilities of each associate and help them achieve what success looks like for them. It’s a place where you can be exceptional and be yourself."
The other Best in Business Award recipients are the Long Island Marriott Hotel, Uniondale, N.Y.; Rising Tide Car Wash, Parkland, Fla.; Megleen Inc., Toronto; Green Distribution, Secaucus, N.J.; Ultra Testing LLC, New York; Accessibility partners, Silver Spring, Md.; [words] Bookstore, Maplewood, N.J.; and BagelToons, Detroit.
A panel of seven experts chose the winners from among the many nominations submitted online.
The current unemployment rate of adults with disabilities in the United States hovers between 70 percent and 80 percent, according to the foundation, whose campaign aims to show that an inclusive workplace is good for business and helps create a fairer society.