Congratulations to Alicia Munson and Steve Wurst for being named recipients of two Arc Minnesota Awards at the November 15th banquet!
Alicia Munson, Opportunity Partners’ Public Policy and Advocacy Associate, was named the recipient of The Arc Minnesota’s Luther Granquist Systems Change Award. Alicia’s tireless work at the State Capitol, helping people served and staff share their stories and advocate for positive changes in the disability community, makes her more than deserving of this award.
Alicia is a liason with several partner organizations that advocate for individuals with disabilities. As Grassroots and Communications Co-chair for the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, she helped define the coalition’s grassroots advocacy and civic engagement events and programming. Her work on several committees for The 5% Campaign was recognized by others on the campaign as being crucial to the campaign’s success in passing increases in state funding to raise the wages of direct care staff. Alicia also has leadership roles in the public policy efforts of Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation and the Association of Residential Resources in Minnesota.
Staff at Opportunity Partners who nominated Alicia praised her for strong belief that self-advocates should advocate for themselves. They cited her creation of practical, meaningful, and effective support strategies for those served by Opportunity Partners and the various coalitions in which she is involved. Alicia is also respected by her colleagues for her ability to work well with co-workers, partner organizations, government officials, self-advocates and their families alike.
Steve Wurst, store manager of Walgreens in Bloomington, was named the recipient of Arc MN’s Employer of the Year Award. This award honors an employer who provides inclusive and competitive employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Under Steve’s leadership, Walgreens Bloomington partnered with Opportunity Partners to offer the REDI (Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative) program, giving individuals with disabilities retail skills training in a real world setting. Graduates receive a Walgreens certificate that can be used at interviews for hiring retailers.
Steve and his team have been supportive and engaged advocates for individuals with disabilities through this program, providing valuable employment opportunities, both during their skills training and after they have graduated.