Volunteers of America Working Order program wins International Business Incubator Award
PITTSBURGH, Pa., May 20, 2014 – Working Order, a program of the Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania, has been named National Business Incubation Association’s 2014 Dinah Adkins Incubator of the Year in the general and special focus category. The National Business Incubation Association is the world's leading organization advancing business incubation and entrepreneurship.
Working Order’s goal is to increase opportunity for self-employment for individuals with disadvantages and/or disabilities who find traditional employment requirements difficult due to acquired or developmental disabilities. Opportunities for traditional employment can be limited by transportation challenges, unpredictable changes in health, a life-long or newly acquired disability and/or the need for additional support on the job. Working Order has proven that the option of self-employment creates additional opportunities for meaningful community engagement and full inclusion in the workforce, for people with disabilities. The program provides coaching, training and referral to resources which help individuals become successful business owners resulting in increased independence and improved quality of life through entrepreneurship.
Randy Morris, director of Member Services for NBIA said, “Volunteers of America’s Working Order program was unique among our finalists this year. We are pleased to recognize this small business incubator for persons with disabilities and other disadvantages.”
Marty Stahl, director of Working Order said, “We are thrilled to be recognized by NBIA. Our success is in our ability to provide the tools and guidance to the people we serve which results in their individual success.”
Since 1996, Working Order has served 647 persons in the greater Pittsburgh area and helped 206 participants launch and/or grow their businesses in fields including graphic design, bookkeeping, tax preparation, grant writing, virtual office assistance, hair dressing, cleaning services, massage therapy, sculpture, portraiture, dog training, lawn care, accessibility construction, career transition coaching, golf instruction, event planning, geriatric care managing and more.
Outcome metrics from Working Order’s 2013 survey of entrepreneurs reveal that through coaching, training and access to resources, participants have become more self-sufficient and more financially independent.