LIHU‘E — Tiffany Gampong, and Target, her employer, were both recognized on Wednesday by the state Department of Human Services’ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and the state Legislature, as the Outstanding Employee with a Diability of the Year and Outstanding Employer of the year, respectively.
“In celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month that was observed in October, the Hawai‘i Department of Human Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Kaua‘i Branch is recognizing our local partnerships with employers and participants,” said Kaua‘i Branch Administrator Angeline Kaleiohi.
“Our annual recognition program is an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of our participants who have achieved employment success, the contributions of employers, and the good collaborative work of counselors and employment specialists. These success stories communicate, in a personal way, how effective the VR program and staff are in meeting the needs of our customers, participants and employers statewide. Sharing these accomplishments educate people about disability employment issues, and celebrate the many varied contributions of our workers with disabilities,” said Kaleiohi.
Srtate Rep. James Tokioka, representing the Kaua‘i legislative team and the father of a deaf son, said he could not help but notice Gampong’s pleasantness at coming to work while negotiating the door of the employee entrance at Target. He shared his pride with commending not only Gampong but the other Target employees who have disabilities.
“Congratulations to Tiffany Gampong for being selected as ‘Outstanding Employee with a Disability of the Year for 2022,’” said Nancy Romaine of the DVR Kaua‘i Branch.
“Tiffany came to DVR with a strong motivation to work and achieve financial independence. Throughout the career exploration and job development process, Tiffany was determined and persistent in her job search while maintaining patience and poise. Negotiating Zoom meeting privacy amidst a busy home life with lively keiki was one indication of her personable disposition and problem-solving skill. It was evident from the beginning of working with Tiffany that her strengths go far beyond the computer skills listed on her resume,” said Romaine.
Gampong was hired by Target in November 2021 as a human resources specialist.
“Initially, DVR assistance was provided during orientation and to discuss minor accommodations,” Romaine said. “Beyond that, Tiffany has worked on her own without need for job coaching or other supports. She fits right into the work environment and is a reliable, productive and valuable Target team member.”
In addition to the awards, certificates and personal commendations from the DVR team and Tokioka, Gampong had accolades showered on her by the Target team.
Romaine also congratulated Target as the Outstanding Employer of the Year for 2022.
“DVR first contacted Target several months before they opened their doors in October, 2021. Since then, Target has hired several DVR clients. During the hiring process, the Target team engaged in conversation about accommodations with enthusiasm. Human resources and managerial staff clearly wanted to ensure an accessible work environment for everyone,” Romaine said.
”Target personnel reached out to VR staff for information and support to better understand effective ways of removing or preventing potential barriers to employment. Whether the client’s disability presented physical, intellectual or sensory challenges, Target staff wanted to be equipped with effective tools to address employee needs. It has become apparent that Target is not only an accommodating employer, but also one with sincere commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace,” said Romaine.
The state Vocational Rehabilitation agencies serve individuals with disabilities to maximize their talents in employment, pursue independence and increase participation in the community and the competitive labor market.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month recognizes the vital role people with disabilities play in making the nation’s workforce diverse and inclusive.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island