Disability advocates recognized for outstanding community leadership

The Center for Independent Living (CIL) of South Florida and Bob Bromberg were among those honored recently at the 2012 Ability Awards ceremony in Tallahassee.

Through the Ability Awards, the Able Trust honors businesses, organizations and individuals for their employment, leadership and services that allow more citizens with disabilities to enter the workforce.

The Center for Independent Living of South Florida, through its INVEST program, has been an outstanding provider of employment services for veterans with disabilities. The company was honored with the 2012 Beverly Chapman Award for Outstanding Employment Placement Program.

This award is named for Beverly Chapman, the 1989 Disabled American of the Year and Floridian of the Year. Chapman developed a computer-training program for persons with severe disabilities at Valencia Community College and is remembered for her advocacy for employment and independence for persons with disabilities.

The CIL helps veterans overcome a variety of challenges directly resulting from their military service. Whether dealing with post traumatic stress or learning to accommodate a physical disability, the center’s service is consistently centered on the needs of the individual.

“The INVEST program has been extremely successful in helping veterans with disabilities re-enter the work force, and it is an honor to be singled out for recognition by the Able Trust,” said Kelly Greene, executive director of the CIL. “I feel extremely proud that the INVEST program serves as a model of excellence to the business and disability communities.”

In its fourth year of providing program services, it has opened its doors to more than 121 new veterans and has continued services to an existing base of 41 veterans with disabilities. This year, 53 veterans have gained full-time employment in the Miami-Dade area as a result of the program’s efforts.

The second South Florida winner honored by the Able Trust this year is a well-known consultant in corporate human resource management. Inspired by a relative with a disability, Bob Bromberg became interested in helping others with disabilities and has served the Able Trust as an ambassador since 2001 in addition to his work on the board of Goodwill Industries of South Florida and the Everglades Association.

Bromberg was presented with the 2012 Volunteer of the Year Award.

As a volunteer, Bromberg became the founding president of the Miami-Dade EmployAbility Network in 2004 (then known as the Miami-Dade Business Leadership Network), a group of influential business people in Miami that work together to help in the employment of people with disabilities. This network was the first local Business Leadership Network (BLN) to form in Florida, and remains one of the strongest today.

“I am honored to be recognized by The Able Trust as Volunteer of the Year,” Bromberg said. “I accept the award on behalf of my colleagues in the Miami-Dade EmployAbility Network who have made improving the lives of persons with disabilities in our community the focus of their volunteerism.”

Bromberg also created and marketed the “Look at My Ability” campaign, which has been used effectively within and outside of Florida to promote the hiring of people with disabilities. During his tenure with the Miami-Dade EmployAbility Network, the organization has funded more than 75 paid internships, with permanent placement for a number of the interns.

“The Center for Independent Living of South Florida and Bob Bromberg’s longtime leadership and dedication to breaking down barriers for people with disabilities is truly extraordinary,” said Dr. Susanne Homant, president and CEO of the Able Trust. “Their commitment to helping people with disabilities gain independence has made a remarkable difference in the lives of those in the Miami community.”

The Able Trust annually recognizes outstanding achievements in 13 categories, including employment placement programs, outstanding legislators and youth leaders with disabilities, employers of the year and the outstanding media representative.

For more information about the Able Trust, visit www.abletrust.org or call 1- 850-224-4493 (not toll-free).

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