UA Honored by Governor Ivey for Disability Employment Initiative

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama was named the Alabama Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities Large Business Employer of the Year during an awards ceremony Sept. 8.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said the awards highlight what is possible when people with disabilities are given a chance to prove themselves.

Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw, Jaime Mitchell and Governor Kay Ivey pictured during an awards ceremony
UA’s Jaime Mitchell (middle) accepts the University’s award from Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services Commissioner Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw (left) and Governor Kay Ivey (right).

“Ensuring every Alabamian has the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families remains a top priority for me,” she said. “People with disabilities have successfully performed at every level, and it’s imperative that we continue to promote the abilities of all Alabamians, which is why I am so proud to celebrate the employers who are doing just that.”

UA Senior Associate Vice President for Human Resources Susan Norton said it is an honor to be recognized for their efforts to establish a more inclusive workforce.

“On behalf of The University of Alabama and those involved in the University Enable Program that supports individuals with disabilities and caregivers of those with disabilities, I would like to thank the Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities for recognizing UA as the Large Business Employer of the Year,” she said. “This program is already a win-win, as it not only provides career opportunities for those with disabilities but also makes UA a better employer and teaching institution. We’re better able to serve not only our employees but also our students and our community.”

Norton said the program would not be successful without the vision of UA President Stuart R. Bell and Vice President for Finance and Operations Matt Fajack. She added that, under the guidance of HR Business Partner Jaime Mitchell, many determined people in human resources and departments throughout UA help make the school a great place to work and learn for all.

Over the past two and a half years, through a partnership with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, the University Enable Program served to drive disability inclusion within the workforce community and state. This partnership inspired ADRS Business Relations Consultant Vanessa Coleman to nominate the University for the award.

The purpose of the program and partnership is to provide a work-based learning experience for individuals with disabilities within various university departments.

The Alabama Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities award recognizes the contributions and successes of people with disabilities and those businesses that provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to achieve through competitive, integrated employment.


Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications,, 205-348-8325