For 21 years the Chattanooga Area Employment Consortium has brought together a variety of provider agencies in the disability community to discuss employment issues. Members of the consortium include Signal Centers, Chattanooga Autism Center, Orange Grove Center, Karried Away, and others.
In celebration of its anniversary the organization hosts the annual CAEC awards, honoring the Employer of the Year, Advocate of the Year and Employee of the Year.
The Jill Hindman Employer of the Year Award recognizes an employer which practices nondiscrimination and equal employment opportunities in hiring, practices disability inclusion in all company activities. The winner of the 2020 CAEC Employer of the Year award is Rock City.
The Employer of the Year award is named in memory of Jill Hindman. Ms. Hindman was a lifelong advocate for people with disabilities. She worked in the Tennessee Governor's office for many years as a disability coach and consultant. In 2006 she was named by Mayor Ron Littlefield to Chattanooga’s first Mayor’s disability council. She also served on the board of directors for CARTA for 26 years, helping ensure our public transportation could serve the whole public. Ms. Hindman was also a valued member of the Chattanooga Area Employment Consortium.
The Scott Kramer Advocate of the Year award honors an individual that is dedicated, passionate, driven, and an innovator. The attributes of an advocate are to serve their communities in order to enrich the lives of people with disabilities, and to be an inspiration to others in leading by example. The winner of the 2020 Advocate of the Year is Amy Ruthoford.
Ms. Rutherford is the associate director for the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga’s Mosaic Program, assisting students on the autism spectrum. She is also a mentor for the Chattanooga Autism Center.
The Advocate of the Year Award is named in memory of Scott Kramer. Mr. Kramer was a prominent advocate for adults with autism and had been part of the Chattanooga Autism Center since 2010 until his passing in 2019. He founded the Greater Chattanooga Aspies, Center for Adult Autism, served the Mayor’s Disability Council and was a member of the Chattanooga Area Employment Consortium. He also coordinated the Southeast Adult Autism Symposium and the North Georgia Autism Conference.
The Employee of the year award recognizes an individual with a disability that has achieved above and beyond the expectations of their job responsibilities. The winner of the 2020 Employee of the Year is Carlene Milton.
Ms. Milton worked for the East Brainerd Goodwill until the location was destroyed by the tornado in April of this year. She now works for Habitat International, Inc.