The award, which was initiated in 2017 by Gov. Kay Ivey’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities to create awareness for people with disabilities, is awarded to a large Alabama business that has made efforts to remove obstacles for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and provide them with work opportunities to help them gain their independence.
Aramark/Bama Dining, which has served as The University of Alabama’s on-campus food provider for the past 20 years, has modified jobs, provided accommodations and put extensive natural supports in place to enable those needing supported employment to work in jobs that offer competitive benefits and wages.
“We are thrilled about this award,” said Pamela Jones, senior human resources manager for Bama Dining. “It’s not something we were striving for. We feel accomplished when our employees are successful, become independent and can do other jobs. The award is icing on the cake.
“We live diversity and inclusion and are one of the top companies in the world for it.”
Aramark/Bama Dining was nominated for the award by the Arc of Tuscaloosa in October. They won for the Tuscaloosa area initially and then went on to win the West Alabama region in November.
They were then in the running for the state award and in December they were announced as the winner at a banquet hosted by Ivey, who presented the award – a plaque – to them.
“Employment in the state of Alabama is at an historic record low and this is an opportune time for employers to look at that segment of society they have overlooked,” Jones said. “The disabled are a valuable resource right now.
“Alabama is one of the top states in the nation that works with the disabled. We’re actually a model state. Alabama is a leader and Bama Dining is a model leader for the state.”
The award will be on display in the trophy case at Lakeside Dining Hall.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.