MIAMI – October 20, 2010 – Holland & Knight will be honored by the Miami-Dade Business Leadership Network (MDBLN), a nonprofit organization which promotes employment for people with disabilities, during its Third Annual Gala Fundraiser on October 20 at the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami. During the event, representatives from the firm will be presented with the Idelio Valdes, Jr. Memorial Award, which is given each year to a local business that champions employment for people with disabilities.
Holland & Knight has employed people with disabilities in several of its offices throughout the U.S. as employees and interns through its close involvement with local chapters of the Business Leadership Network and Best Buddies International. Additionally, Holland & Knight Partner Bob Friedman is a member of the board of directors of Best Buddies International and is currently the president of the MDBLN.
The Gala is being held on October 20 to commemorate the eleventh anniversary of the American Association of People with Disabilities’ “Disability Mentoring Day” Program, a large-scale national effort to promote career development for students and job seekers with disabilities.
One hundred percent of funds raised at the event will benefit MDBLN’s internship program, which provides area businesses with a no-cost, funded internship program encouraging the employment of individuals with disabilities.
Internships funded by MDBLN represent a wide range of disabilities, including developmental and mobility disabilities, and a wide range of local employers. Since 2008, MDBLN has funded more than 23 internships with seven of the interns being offered employment by the sponsoring business upon completion of the internship. In addition, at least three other sponsoring businesses, while not able to offer regular employment, were so pleased with the experience, they did not seek reimbursement resulting in more money available to fund additional internships. Several internships led directly to employment with another company due to the work experience gained by the intern.
Miami-Dade Business Leadership Network’s (MDBLN) mission is to educate and encourage employers to recruit, hire, train and retain employees with disabilities as part of promoting good business practices. Comprising volunteers from area businesses, the MDBLN offers leadership by example and a supportive employer-to-employer network aimed at promoting the employment of qualified people who just happen to have disabilities. MDBLN can help businesses learn more about hiring people with disabilities through training and technical assistance, and make it easy to recruit, hire, train, and retain employees with disabilities. It is one of 14 BLN organizations located throughout Florida. For more information about MDBLN, visit www.miamidadebln.org.
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