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NJBIA was honored with the President’s Award by the Arc of New Jersey on June 6 for its work in advancing and advocating for improving workplace opportunities for the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) community.  

During an awards ceremony at the Imperia on Easton in Somerset, Arc of New Jersey Board President Kevin Sturges said the President’s Award is reserved for a person or organization “that truly goes above and beyond to help our community and to be a friend and supporter of The Arc of New Jersey.” 

“We can think of no group who more clearly exemplifies that description than the New Jersey Business & Industry Association,” Sturges said. “Charged with championing a competitive business climate and facilitating partnerships among business, government, and academia, NJBIA has been and continues to be an incredible proponent of employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  

“They have devoted tremendous time and energy to bringing together industry leaders with a goal of educating and exposing companies to the benefits of hiring a person with IDD. Whether it’s webinars or resource sharing, NJBIA has done extraordinary work to promote people with disabilities as a viable pool of workers who should not be overlooked.”  

In the past several years, NJBIA has convened a workgroup of New Jersey’s major business associations to improve workplace and economic opportunities for those in the IDD community, hosted multiple webinars with employers to inform and encourage hiring of those in the IDD community and strongly supported legislation to provide mentoring and skills training for young adults with developmental disabilities and also tax credits for employers to hire them.  

“NJBIA is incredibly proud of the work we have been able to accomplish along with great partners like the Arc of New Jersey in shining a huge spotlight on the opportunities that exist for hiring people with disabilities,” said NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka. “This includes providing resources and best practices on more diverse hiring practices and ways to accommodate the physical needs of this workforce. 

“We have a workforce at the ready at a time when hiring needs are critical. Our continued collaboration with the Arc of New Jersey will enable both our businesses and our workforce, while, in turn, strengthening our communities and our economy.”

Other recipients of The Arc of New Jersey’s 2023 Awards Celebration included: 

  • Spirit of The Arc Award – Jennifer Langer Jacobs, NJDHS, DMAHS 
  • Legislator of the Year – Senator Patrick Diegnan, Jr. (D-18) 
  • Legislator of the Year – Assemblywoman Carol Murphy (D-7) 
  • Professional of the Year – Renee White, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office 
  • Volunteer of the Year – Susan Fegely, The Arc of Burlington 
  • Self-Advocacy Leadership Award – Pam King, Council 4, NJSSAN 
  • Distinguished Community Service – Norm Worth, WRNJ 
  • Martin Papish Award – Kathleen Hinnigan-Cohen, The Arc of Essex 
  • Legacy Award – Richard Lecher, SCArc, Inc. 
  • Legacy Award – Frank Caragher, The Arc of Union County 
  • Outstanding Community Service – George Barnard