Udac, Inc., a Duluth-based nonprofit that specializes in building community opportunity and inclusion by providing education and employment development and support for people of all abilities, received the 2023 Organizational Best Practice Award from the National Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE).
The award is given to organizations that recognize a provider organization that has successfully implemented strategies to support those with disabilities to work and further their career path in an inclusive workforce.
“Udac is so proud of the work we do in northern Minnesota to better our community and the lives of our community members,” Karen Herman, director of Udac, Inc. said. “While the award is a huge honor for Udac, it truly showcases the work of the supportive businesses and ambtious individuals who make our work possible.”
Udac, Inc. is built on the programs and services that have been designed and implemented to enhance the roles, employment and community engagment participation for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health challenges. The organization successfully navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and chose to pursue organizational transformation as it focused on eliminating community imposed structural barriers that prevent full and meaningful community participation.
“We work directly with the individual to enhance abilities and address personal challenges that limit successful community integration, truly helping the person achieve new levels of success,” Herman said “Udac is redefining what inclusion for people with disabilities means and looks like in the community and in employment roles.”
To set a new standard of services and provide excellence in programming, Udac partnered with the University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration.
“Udac is incredibly deserving of this award," said Danielle Mahoehney of University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration. "Not only has Udac transformed into an innovative organization that is getting people with disabilities meaningfully engaged within their communities, but it has become true leaders that are helping to lead the entire state forward through example and mentorship.”
APSE is the only national membership organization focused exclusively on Employment First to facilitate the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace and community.