Fifth Anniversary Secretary of Labor’s New Freedom Initiative Awards
The year 2006 marked the fifth anniversary of the Secretary of Labor’s New Freedom Initiative Award. Since 2002, the Secretary has presented this award to encourage the use of public-private partnerships to increase employment opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities. As Secretary Elaine L. Chao said, “We must ensure that our nation remains a leader in innovation and that our workers remain among the most productive and skilled in the world. Workers with disabilities represent an underutilized pool of talent that we need more than ever.”
On October 26, 2006, Secretary Chao recognized nine awardees – four businesses, one individual and four non-profit organizations.
Secretary Chao also presented the first Secretary of Labor’s Spirit Award at this occasion.
Past Award Recipients
Secretary of Labor's Spirit Award
Former Major League baseball pitcher Dave Dravecky received the first Secretary of Labor’s SPIRIT (Strength, Perseverance, Integrity, Role-model, Independence, Trailblazer) Award from Secretary Elaine L. Chao and former Assistant Secretary W. Roy Grizzard. Following his battle with cancer, Dravecky and his wife, Jan, established the Outreach of Hope ministry, which offers referral services and resources for those facing significant medical or physical challenges, especially people with cancer or amputation. Award recipients are recognized for their qualities to inspire and enhance the ability of Americans with disabilities to enter and participate fully in the 21st century workforce.