Upton, NY -- For its outstanding support of individuals with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory has been honored as "Employer of the Year" by the Twin Forks Projects with Industry, the Suffolk County branch of the National Center for Disability Services. In addition, Lorraine Merdon, Manager of Brookhaven Lab's Diversity Office, was recognized for her outstanding support by the nonprofit organization committed to improving employment opportunities and the quality of life for individuals with disabilities.
At an award ceremony sponsored by the Twin Forks Projects with Industry on June 25, Peter Bond, Brookhaven Lab's Interim Deputy Director, Scientific Programs, accepted the award on behalf of the Laboratory. Joseph Lipski, a Brookhaven employee hired through Twin Forks Projects with Industry, gave the keynote address.
Mr. Lipski, who was born with no arms, performs his functions as a computer operator with only minor modifications to his workplace. The Laboratory devised a tall, stable stool that allows Mr. Lipski to stretch his feet above his head to reach various computer components. Additionally, Brookhaven provided special doorknobs so that he could open doors with his feet.
Mr. Lipski praised Brookhaven for its "cooperation and sensitivity to my personal needs." Ms. Merdon commented, "Joe is a good match for his current position. He has the necessary skills, and his performance is as good as that of any other employee."
Brookhaven Lab makes numerous outreach efforts to people with disabilities. For example, the Laboratory recruits employees at specialized career fairs for disabled people. It also develops pre-employment work programs for people with disabilities to gain experience and increase their chances of obtaining employment suitable for their skills.
This year, BNL hosted Suffolk County's "Building
Community Partnerships" meeting, which brought together individuals
with disabilities, employers, placement professionals, educators, advocates
and government representatives to develop approaches to increase employment
of people with disabilities.
Since 1990, the Laboratory has made special efforts to provide scientific training and research opportunities for deaf and hearing-impaired students from Gallaudet University. Gallaudet faculty have also been invited to perform collaborative research with BNL scientific staff.
In addition, the Laboratory offers an annual Gorman-Metz Scholarship of $5,000 to a disabled child of a Laboratory employee or retiree who is majoring in math or science in graduate school.
Brookhaven National Laboratory carries out basic
and applied research in the physical, biomedical and environmental sciences
and in selected energy technologies. BNL is operated by Associated Universities,
Inc., a nonprofit research management organization, under contract with
the U.S. Department of Energy.
NOTE TO LOCAL EDITORS:
Lorraine Merdon resides in Coram, New York.
Joseph Lipski lives in Center Moriches, New York.