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Eli Lilly "On the Job" Award

U.S. Labor Department Grantee Receives Eli Lilly "On the Job" Award

CHICAGO — Dr. Judith Cook, director of the University of Illinois at Chicago's Center on Mental Health Services, and her partners, the Chicago Workforce Board and Thresholds of Chicago, will receive an "On the Job" award from Eli Lilly. The award recognizes those who help individuals with mental disabilities to develop skills and find meaningful work in their communities.

Dr. Cook and her partners conducted their award-winning work, known as the Advancing Customized Employment (ACE) Program, through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).

"We are very proud of what the ACE program has accomplished — indeed, it has helped hundreds of people with mental disabilities to train for and find good jobs and to contribute to their own quality of life and to their communities," said Roy Grizzard, who is the department's assistant secretary for ODEP.

Since 1996, the Lilly Reintegration Awards program has recognized individuals, groups and initiatives that improve the lives of people with mental illness. The awards were presented during the 2006 Lilly Reintegration Awards on Friday, Oct. 6 in Indianapolis.

Customized Employment is a key strategy in assisting individuals with disabilities and others with complex lives who wish to work but who are currently facing some challenges in finding a job that fits their needs and desires. Life's complexities can require individuals to customize their jobs for success. Both the worker and the employer benefit when a job is designed to focus on the individual's strengths and their contribution to a particular company.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) within the U.S. Department of Labor is committed to improving employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, and Customized Employment is an important strategy for accomplishing that goal.