The year 2020 brings new hope and beginnings for our profession and the people we serve. This is also is the start of a new decade which gives us new energy to make progress and achieve goals.

The vocational rehabilitation program will celebrate its 100 th  year of existence in 2020.

“Those 100 years of experience bring a responsibility of leadership on issues that impact the ability of individuals with disabilities to be employed and live independently,” Schultz said. “In order for states to be innovative and creative as they seek to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, RSA will continue to support states in the work they are leading, provide flexibility within the constructs of the law, and partner with all those who have a stake in improving employment outcomes and raising expectations for individuals with disabilities. ” – Mark Allan Schultz (RSA Commissioner)

The National Rehabilitation Association has a great conference planned for September 9-13, 2020 in Birmingham, Alabama with many quality speakers and training. This will also include displays and historical documents from our archives that commemorate the 100-year anniversary of our profession.

During the conference we like to honor those in our field that provide exceptional service and dedication. We do this by presenting the following awards that cover the various services that are so critical to making progress in changing lives for the better.

 I am also happy to answer any questions or help you with your submissions at or 801-842-6452.

Thank you for your ongoing support and I look forward to seeing you in Alabama! – Paul J. Barnes 2020 National Rehabilitation Association Awards Committee Chair


E. B Whitten Silver Medallion Award  E. B Whitten Silver Medallion Award
The E. B. Whitten Silver Medallion Award was established in 1974 in honor of the Association's first Executive Director. The award is presented to an individual who has exercised notable leadership in removing environmental and legal barriers and in helping to overcome discrimination of persons with disabilities.

Contribution may be national (regional, or local) but must have been of such importance to influence action on a regional or national basis.
Actions must have contributed to the purpose of NRA mission of enhancing the lives of people with disabilities.
Recipient must have exercised notable leadership: (a) in removing environmental and legal barriers, and/or (b) in overcoming discrimination which keeps people with disabilities from living normal lives and enjoying the rights and benefits due every American citizen.
While not a requirement, preference given to members of the Association.


NRA Max T. Prince Meritorious Service Award 
Named for Max T. Prince, a member of the Missouri Rehabilitation Association.  This award is given to an individual who has demonstrated years of faithful service and leadership to NRA.

Member who has provided outstanding membership effort and leadership for a period of 10-15 years or,
A member who has demonstrated leadership in chapter, division and/or national committees for a similar period. 
Shows outstanding service or leadership in length of service, length of service and quality of NRA services.  Services need not be national but must be substantial in number.

NRA Organizational Award The NRA Organizational Award is presented to an organization with an outstanding record of service to persons with disabilities. The organization may be one whose principal objectives lie within the field of rehabilitation, or which has demonstrated effective concern for the care, treatment, education r rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.

How has the contribution directly affected persons with disabilities and what was the outcome?
What are some of the methods that were used to assist people with disabilities?
Do you have any success stories or testimonials that you could provide to show the direct result of the organizations contribution?

W. F. Faulkes Award 

The W. F. Faulkes Award is presented for technical or professional achievement in the field of rehabilitation. It is awarded to a person or organization, which in the preceding years has made a contribution of national importance to the increase of knowledge in the field of rehabilitation, or of the development of techniques or methods in the application of such knowledge, or to the prevention of disability. It was established in 1954 in the name of the Association's founder and first president.

What are your products (research articles, techniques)? Please list them.
What is the impact of these products? (i.e., how many author and others have cited the produce(s), how may have used the technique(s)) – If you have more than one product, please list them individually.
What are the outlets of the product(s)/where have the products been used (journals, presentations, rehabilitation counseling practices, etc.)?
Please list outlets.
Please include a letter detailing why the person is a good nominee.
Please include two letters of recommendations.
Please include ssupporting documents.

Bell Greve Memorial Award
The Bell Greve Memorial Award is presented to a person who has shown unusual initiative or creativity in developing and/or administering a service program for people with disabilities. The award is named for Belle Greve, founder of the Cleveland Rehabilitation Center.

Please provide the name of the service program and location (city, state).
Offer a description of the program, and how it helps people with disabilities.
Describe the unusual initiative and/or creativity efforts involved in developing and/or administering the service program.
Describe why this individual would be the best nominee to receive the Belle Greve Memorial Award.
Please include any supporting documents you deem necessary.

Excellence in Media Award 
The Excellence in Media Award is presented to an individual or organization whose media production has made a noticeable contribution towards the accurate and progressive portrayal of people with disabilities. It is presented in recognition of outstanding effort in any medium, including print, radio, television, film, and advertising

Individuals with disabilities should be portrayed in a realistic and positive manner.
The media production should appeal to the public at large rather than targeting only a specialized or professional audience.
The portrayal may exist within the context of a larger idea or subject matter, that is, not be a narrow disability-specific message.
The portrayal should be informative rather than merely promotional.

Graduate Literary Award 

"The Graduate Literary Award is presented annually in recognition of exceptional academic achievement by rehabilitation students at the graduate level (i.e., master's and doctoral level)

Is the writer enrolled in college/university program that specializes in rehabilitation counseling, clinical rehabilitation, or a closely related field for the specific purpose of working with individuals with disabilities or preparing future professionals to work with individuals with disabilities?
In what ways does the manuscript underscore principles of empowerment, social advocacy, and cultural awareness and competence across various communities?
What makes the manuscript original?
In what ways does the writer demonstrate an outstanding submission/manuscript?
Note: In conjunction with nomination letters, manuscripts submitted for nomination will be assessed on written quality, theoretical framework, research methodology (if applicable), impact on the field, and importance of topic (topic can be on any aspect of rehabilitation). Manuscripts should use the American Psychological Association (APA) 6th edition format and not be previously submitted for publication. Manuscripts are to be uploaded as a Word document and submitted as part of the overall nomination packet using the electronic submission portal. NRA will publish the winning entry in the Journal of Rehabilitation and reserves the right for one year to publish any manuscript entered."

Yvonne Johnson National Leadership Award 
Presented annually to an individual who is highly committed to issues concerning people with disabilities and to the professionals who serve them. This award was established in 2001 to honor an NRA Past President, a very special person who will always be remembered.

The nominee should demonstrate a leadership style that is creative and inspiring.
Thinking “outside of the box” should be demonstrated.
 Examples of mentoring others to assume leadership positions should be included.

Sylvia Walker National Multicultural Award 
The Sylvia Walker Award is named after a professor, researcher and director of the first federal Research and Training Center (RTC) focused on minority issues and disability, who served as a longtime advocate for multicultural issues in rehabilitation. Established in 2004, the award is intended to (a) honor/recognize a NRA member/group or organization in addressing multicultural issues at the local regional or national level, (b) maintain, and stimulate the Association’s (NRA) focus on diversity and multiculturalism as a part of society.
1.  Is the nominee a member of a local, state, regional or national chapter or division of the NRA?
2.  How does the nominee demonstrate leadership in advancing multicultural issues within his or her sphere of influence?
3. Provide examples of how the nominee addresses multicultural issues and how their efforts have had a positive impact on service planning and/or delivery. 
4.  Explain how the nominee’s actions enhance the profession and/or organization.

NRA Chapter of the Year Award
Outstanding achievement in the effort to advance the mission of the National Rehabilitation Association at the chapter level.

Criteria: To be considered for this award, the state chapter must be in good standing with the National Rehabilitation Association. In addition, the following questions must be addressed in your nomination of the state chapter.

Has the chapter:
Demonstrated exemplary activities in professional training (e.g., for VR professionals, other stakeholders, graduate VR students). What specifically did they do and in which of these areas?
What did they participate in, and what activities related to public awareness of vocational rehabilitation services, membership in NRA, and employment of people with disabilities were carried out?
What activities related to consumer advocacy (e.g., for consumers, employers, families, professionals, and other stakeholders)?
How have they been actively working toward increasing chapter/National membership growth through media, social media, events, conferences, and other effective ways?
In what ways have they consistently been viewed as innovative, creative and willing to respond to the changing needs of membership?

Employer Awards

These awards were created to honor an employer (national, regional and/or local) which has demonstrated exemplary achievement in the recruitment, hiring and retention of persons with disabilities throughout all levels within the company.  There will be an award for a Large Employer (100+ employees) and one for a Small Employer (under 100 employees).

The Roger Carter Award of Excellence for a Large Employer. 

Roger Carter was a Rehabilitation Counselor with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services.  He understood and promoted the partnership with the rehabilitation agency, consumer and employer as well. 

What agencies, partnerships, or networks were used to recruit and employ persons with disabilities?
What specific guidance did they seek that made employment options successful?
What services were utilized (On the Job Training, job shadowing, assessments, accommodations, etc.)
How did they learn of your services and what processes were used to introduce and use your program?
Describe their experience with employing persons with disabilities, outcomes, concerns and suggestions for improvement.

Roger Carter Award Nomination

The Small Employer Award

What agencies, partnerships, or networks were used to recruit and employ persons with disabilities?
What specific guidance did they seek that made employment options successful?
What services were utilized (On the Job Training, job shadowing, assessments, accommodations, etc.)
How did they learn of your services and what processes were used to introduce and use your program?
Describe their experience with employing persons with disabilities, outcomes, concerns and suggestions for improvement.

Small Employer Award Nomination