The Pioneer Awards, a signature event and fundraiser for the Next Move Program, were hosted last night in celebration of local organizations that have inclusive training and hiring practices for people with disabilities. Presented by AbleNow and emceed by Nikki-Dee Ray of CBS 6, the event honored Quirk Hotel, GrowRVA, The YMCA of Greater Richmond, Special Olympics Virginia, Joe’s Inn Bon Air, Capital One & Restaurant Associates, and Taziki’s Cafe.
A panel of area business leaders and self advocates reviewed and selected the finalists. That panel included Justin Feaster of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Shelley Lantz of True Heath Diagnostics, Scott Wayne of The Envoy Portfolio, Matthew Shapiro of 6 Wheels Consulting, Charlotte Dean of The YMCA of Greater Richmond, Todd Waldo of The Robinson Theater, and Milgo Yonis of TMI Consulting. All funds raised during the event will support the Next Move scholarship fund.
The Next Move Program is a 501 (c)(3) organization that partners with businesses to create guided internship experiences for young adults with disabilities. The organization aims to combat the 70% unemployment rate for young adults with diverse needs in the Commonwealth. 80% of Next Move Program graduates have gained employment or acceptance to post-secondary programming. For more, visit www.thenextmoveprogram.com.