University Letter

UND's faculty and staff newsletter

UND Wellness Center receives 2022 Employer of the Year Award from The Arc Upper Valley

The University of North Dakota Wellness Center recently received the Employer of the Year Award for 2022 from The Arc Upper Valley as part of the organization’s 2022 Impact Awards honoring peoples’ and other organizations’ contributions to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Wellness Center was nominated by the Grand Forks Public Schools Adult Transition Program, which has shared a working relationship with UND for many years.

“There is value in hiring people with disabilities because we believe that everyone should have an opportunity to work and contribute to the greater community,” staff of the Wellness Center said. “We work hard to ensure that our environment is inclusive of everyone and supportive of all people.

“We have a former Adult Transitions Program participant that is currently working for us. And he is one of the hardest working people in our department. He’s reliable, productive and an excellent team member.”

Two graduates of the Adult Transition Program, Julianna Nelson and Hannah Watson, helped present the award to UND.

The Employer of the Year Award is given to an organization or business that acknowledges the talent people with disabilities bring to the workforce, according to The Arc. The recipient of the award hires people with disabilities and includes them as valued and empowered contributors to their organization. They are innovative in their approach to creating policies, strategies and initiatives that promote equity. They also positively influence the attitudes of employees and other organizations regarding employment of people with disabilities.

The Arc Upper Valley is a non-profit organization in Grand Forks that advocates for and with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The organization is a member of The Arc of North Dakota and The Arc of the United States and collaborates with affiliated chapters around the state and country to ensure that people with disabilities have the supports and services they need to be fully engaged in their communities.

Wellness Center staff further remarked that as they serve the UND campus and community, with the help of Adult Transitions students on staff, that inclusivity enriches the Wellness Center environment and benefits students as they are able to interact and be around others with differing abilities.

Pictured, left to right, are Julianna Nelson, ATP graduate; Christopher Suriano, UND Wellness Center director of wellness and health promotion; Hanna Watson, ATP graduate; Andria Spaeth, UND Wellness Center assistant director of business operations. Photo by Katie Thora.