October 28, 2002
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.-Amherst College Dining Services received one of 16 Exemplary Employer awards for 2002 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Commission on Employment of People with Disabilities in a ceremony in the Great Hall of the State House in Boston. Easthampton-based Riverside Industries, an agency that places disabled workers in meaningful jobs, nominated the college, stressing that "Amherst College makes sure that its employees from Riverside are treated with the same respect as other college employees."

Deborah Omasta-Mokrzecki, the manager of dining services and student dining, and her staff and managers at Valentine Hall, the college's central dining facility, have worked with Riverside Industries for 5 years, hiring food service attendants, food servers, salad servers, dishwashers and mal checkers/cashiers. According to the nomination, "the environment at Amherst College fosters inclusion and a willingness to enhance the specific skills of employees."

The 16 awards for 2002 recognize employers with "exemplary records in employing and retaining people with disabilities, and in exceeding the 'reasonable accommodation' requirements under the state and federal laws."