The Academy Awards

The Academy Awards

While everybody at our spring luncheon was a winner, one employment partner walked off with the gold.

We have always known that our employment partners are among our A-list VIPs, so it was fitting that our first “Academy“ Award was bestowed upon Pines of Sarasota for their starring role in our Transitional Employment (TE) program. The award was accepted by the Pines´ Human Resources Director Helen Kuenzner and Employment Manager Anna Cerniga. The Pines was our first TE partner and Anna was there from the beginning. She spoke on behalf of the Pines and was clearly moved to see and hear the transformation in her former employees.

The Pines took a chance on us when we were an unknown entity with no track record. Their trust in us enabled some of our members to take their very first steps into paid employment while others returned to work after lengthy absences. Both scenarios can be anxiety-producing, but the Pines nurtured our members´ talents and set the stage for them to become at ease in the workplace. They are, in fact, star-makers! Among those who formerly worked a TE at the Pines, eight are currently working in competitive employment. One member has gone off government benefits and is working full time. 

This is the power of Transitional Employment. While the Pines were the first to partner with us, they are not our last. Thus far, six renowned local businesses- Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Sunset Cadillac, Gettel Automotive, the Public Defender´s Office and Doctors´ Hospital- have followed suit, and that number is growing. These opportunities are major turning points in our members´ lives. Even better than a shiny trophy, Transitional Employment has the potential to launch members into productive, fulfilling careers. In this sense, everyone is a winner.

(left to right) Eric Broderick, Greg Agnacian, Ian Churchill, Chantel Gingrich, Stewie Bitterman, Aaron Collmer, Anna Cerniga and Helen Kuenzner.

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