The Mark Sanders Award for Exceptional Service to Disabled Veterans is named in honor of Mark Sanders who, during his distinguished career with the California Employment Development Department and in leadership positions with the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, was untiring in his efforts to promote excellence in services to disabled veterans. This award recognizes a local office and/or one-stop center that has demonstrated, over the previous calendar year, exceptional services to disabled veterans seeking employment assistance. The award is directed to the local office/one-stop center which, in the opinion of the judges, has done the most to assist disabled veterans, promote interest in their problems, and search for meaningful employment.

Emphasis is placed on the utilization of any unusual or unique methods used by staff to assist disabled veterans. This award will recognize the local office/one-stop center whose efforts demonstrate exceptional service and dedication to improving employment opportunities for disabled veterans and whose contributions involving disabled veterans extend to the community as well.

The Mark Sanders Award recognizes the efforts of an entire office or one-stop center, not just a veterans’ unit or veterans’ staff. Information should be provided on how other staff or all staff provide services to disabled veterans.

The NASWA Mark Sanders Award Committee reviews and judged over 28 different states that were selected out of over 2,500 One-Stop Centers across the nation. Local Area II West was selected in the preliminary top twelve across the nation with the judge’s final vote being unanimous for Local Area II West being the recipient of the 2021 “NASWA Mark Sanders Award”. I would like to recognize the following leadership and staff that went “Above and Beyond” to serve our veteran population they are Mrs. Jo Brunner (Supervisor), Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Consultant (DVOP’s) Jason Brantley, Miah Diel, Sue Kohler and David Menotti. Local Veteran Representative Lidia Smith, Career Service Technicians Angelina Butler, Olivia Strenski, Yvonne Walter and Heartland Works Inc., Employment and Training Specialists Jenny Wirtz and Christina Westerman.

The 2021 Nomination/Recipient for the Mark Sanders Award is the (2) Americas Job Centers (AJC’s) Junction City and Manhattan AJC’s which neighbor Fort Riley. Referred to as Local Area II West, the staff provides value added job readiness, training, education and employment services providing employers with qualified Veterans for their job openings. The team in addition, has a DVOP/WP that co-locates in two different offices on Fort Riley (SFL-TAP and the Soldier Readiness Unit). Local Area II West is comprised of 12 Staff representing WIOA Title I and Title III partners.

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