(Washington DC- June 2, 1999) President Bill Clinton will present Joyce Bender, president of Bender Consulting Services, Inc., with the 1999's President's Award in the East Room of The White House on Friday, June 4, at 2:00 p.m. The President's Award is America's highest honor for achievement in furthering the employment and empowerment of people with disabilities.
During this event, the President also will honor the co-recipient of the 1998 President's Award. James H. Click, Jr. is the founder of the Tucson, Arizona, nonprofit LINKAGES program, which connects employers and job seekers with disabilities. Laura Hershey is the interim Executive Director of the Disability Center for Independent Living in Denver, Colorado.
Bender Consulting Services (BCS) actively recruits and hires people with disabilities who have expertise in information technologies. BCS contracts its employees as consultants to client companies throughout the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Newark, Delaware areas.
"Joyce Bender's commitment to furthering the employment of Americans with disabilities is unsurpassed. Instead of focusing on barriers, she looks for challenges. By developing a network within the information technology industry, Joyce has been able to identify current needs as well as provide "foot in the door" opportunities for IT professionals with disabilities," said Office of Disability Employment Policy Chairman Tony Coelho.
Bender is involved in numerous community efforts aimed at enhancing the employment of people with disabilities. She is a board member of Tech-Link, a local project of the Office of Disability Employment Policy's national High School / High information technology networking industry. Bender serves on the computer programming training program for individuals with disabilities. She co-chairs a local task force called "First Hired" and chairs the employment sector of Pittsburgh's Disabilities Agenda 2002 project.
On the state level, Bender is a member of the Pennsylvania Governor's Committee of Employment of People with Disabilities and on the Board of Directors of the Epilepsy Foundation.
Bender's commitment to employment opportunities for people with disabilities stems from her personal experiences. In 1984, she sustained a life-threatening accident that caused a cerebral hemorrhage and subsequent brain surgery. Following rehabilitation, she returned to work with a seizure disorder, a 40 percent hearing loss in one ear and a renewed respect for the attitudinal obstacles faced by people with disabilities.
The Office of Disability Employment Policy is a small federal agency based in Washington, DC. The Committee's mission is to communication, coordinate and promote public and private efforts to enhance the employment of people with disabilities. The committee provides information, training and technical assistance to America's business leaders, ofrganized labor, rehabilitation and service providers, advocacy organizations, families and individuals with disabilities. It also operates the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a toll-free information service on workplace accommodations and the employment provisions of the American's with Disabilities Act. Additional information about the Office of Disability Employment Policy is available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/odep/.