Award ceremony and town hall hosted at Scott Air Force Base
Alton, IL — October 13, 2022 – Challenge Unlimited recognized Congressman Mike Bost this week as an AbilityOne Congressional Champion for his efforts to promote employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, especially veterans living with disabilities.
Challenge Unlimited offers opportunities for people living with special needs and supports them by providing employment options through the AbilityOne program. The AbilityOne Program Congressional Champion Award honors legislators who have worked to support constituents with disabilities. Congressman Bost was presented with the award Wednesday at Scott Air Force Base. He is the current Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and the 148th Member of Congress to receive the award.
“It’s gratifying to see the local support from our Congressional Leader to promote the hiring and retention of individuals with disabilities.” said Challenge Unlimited President and CEO, Charlotte Hammond. “Securing and maintaining employment helps many individuals with disabilities to achieve independence and financial security in their communities through the AbilityOne Program.”
Challenge Unlimited has provided Residential Options, supported living, job coaching, skills and vocational training, employment services and much for over 60 years. The organization operates in 6 states currently and has facility maintenance contracts for over 30 years for custodial, grounds, dining, mailroom and warehouse services. Bost also met with grounds, dining, and custodial staff from Scott Air Force Base, many of them veterans. The discussion included veteran employment, disability services, a candid conversation about balancing life between Southern Illinois and Washington, the importance of family, and the story behind the paracord bracelet he is always wearing.
“For over 50 years, Challenge Unlimited has not only provided Southern Illinoisans with disabilities opportunities for continued employment” said Bost, “but has also empowered them to reach their fullest potential. I am honored to receive the Ability One Program Champion Award and will continue working to ensure that individuals with disabilities can live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.”
Challenge Unlimited employs over 1,000 people across the country including those who are sight impaired, hard of hearing and other people living with significant disabilities, many of them veterans. As a social enterprise they hope to be able to offer opportunities in IT and Customer Service through expanded partnerships with businesses and organizations, to grow a network of workforce options for the people they serve, and to create more equitable and inclusive employment options for those living with disabilities across the country.
The award ceremony and town hall were an extension of activities that Challenge Unlimited is participating in for October’s NDEAM (National Disability Employment Awareness Month) celebration to educate, honor the contributions of, and advocate for employment options and choices for people living with all levels of disabilities here in Southern Illinois and beyond.
About Challenge Unlimited
For more than 50 years Challenge Unlimited has operated as a social enterprise, committed to serving individuals with disabilities, while earning a reputation as a trusted business partner to private commercial companies and federal and state government agencies. As an accredited Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) provider, Challenge Unlimited fulfills its mission through employment programs and services, skills training centers and community-integrated living options.