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Centare Vice President Emcees AbilITy Connection Event

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Dave Rice, Centare vice president, recently had the privilege to serve as Master of Ceremonies for AbilITy Connection’s 2012 Fall IT Networking Event. AbilITy Connection is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping students with disabilities prepare and find jobs in the technology sector.

“I’ve been volunteering with AbilITy Connection since 2001,” recalls Rice. “Getting to emcee the Fall Networking Event was a tremendous honor. Hearing firsthand the wonderful stories of exactly how AbilITy Connection made a difference in the lives of several students was truly heartwarming.”

According to Rich Kolbe, executive chair of AbilITy Connection’s Business Advisory Committee, Centare’s vice president was essential to the event’s success. “Dave Rice was not only the emcee that evening – he was the glue that brought the program together,” says Kolbe “The AbilITy Connection is very fortunate to have him as an ongoing contributor. His can-do spirit is contagious.”

Held at the headquarters of IndependenceFirst, the evening included an overview of AbilITy Connection, awards for students, a Comedy Sportz skit and a tour of the unique facilities and capabilities at IndependenceFirst – an organization striving to help people with disabilities realize their full potential.

The Fall IT Networking Event brought together influential supporters from around the greater Milwaukee community, including representatives from leading corporations such as Time Warner Cable, Fiserv, U.S. Bank, WE Energies, Johnson Controls, Rockwell Automation, Briggs & Stratton, Direct Supply and many more.

“Having so many influential companies in the same room to learn about and discuss AbilITy Connection and what it means for disabled students was very important,” continues Rice. “They engaged with leaders from Marquette University, MATC, WCTC, Milwaukee Public Schools and several attending non-profit organizations.  And in several cases, they were able to share about their specific contributions to the AbilITy Connection cause.”

Event attendees learned more about how AbilITy Connection assesses competency, mentors students and helps with advocacy, connections and guidance towards a new career in Information Technology. The event also highlighted AbilITy Connection’s new partnership with IndependenceFirst, which replaced Goodwill Industries. IndependenceFirst joins the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Department of Workforce Development in referring individuals with disabilities to AbilITy Connection.

“In an economy including a mismatch of skills and demand, AbilITy Connection is helping build competent IT workers for innovative organizations,” concludes Rice.

If you are interested in learning more or getting involved in this mission, please reach out to  david.rice@centare.com.

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