Telisha Madison of Duluth grew up in foster homes while her mother was in prison.
Madison overcame poverty and homelessness to build a successful career with Center City Housing, a Duluth nonprofit.
“Every day I look at my son and say, ‘We’re going to have our own home,’” Madison said. “We will never be homeless again.’”
Madison was a winner this week at the Minnesota Job Honors Awards, recognizing those who overcome barriers to employment.
The awards were presented in partnership with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce at its “Workforce Solutions Forum,” at which business leaders from across the state enjoyed biographical videos of the honorees who have beat the odds with life-changing careers.
Frank Murillo of Eden Prairie was honored for his work at General Mills’ headquarters in Minneapolis. Diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, Murillo said: “Some jobs are menial, and many people get bored doing the same thing. [Some people] with disabilities like repetitive tasks.”
With the help of Opportunity Partners, a nonprofit provider of support services for people with disabilities, Murillo found an ideal match in the mailroom and document scanning center at General Mills.
“We're a company that values inclusiveness,” said Erin Dunn, director of global business and employee services at General Mills. “Frank displays all the qualities that we look for in any employee: He's trustworthy, enthusiastic and a good team player.”
Two companies were recognized for their inclusive hiring practices:
•Securian Financial of St. Paul, honored for long commitment and partnership with Lifeworks Services.
• Coleman Company, near St. Cloud, for its role in a new program that provides education and occupational training for young adult refugees. The initiative was launched through a community partnership between training-agency Career Solutions and Central Minnesota Adult Basic Education.
Jamal Alimad, a Somali elder serving as volunteer mentor, described the program as life-changing: “Coleman gave opportunity to those kids. As refugees we lost everything that was dear to us. This program helps them achieve what they lost.”