Winners Announced for inaugural Minnesota Job Honor Awards

Winners Announced for inaugural Minnesota Job Honor Awards
Honor Awards, a new initiative aimed at recognizing Minnesotans who overcome barriers to employment. The awards were presented in partnership with the Minnesota Chamber at our “Hidden Talent Pools” conference on May 10.
"Finding qualified workers is a persistent challenge among companies of all types and sizes," Minnesota Chamber President Doug Loon says. "The Minnesota Job Honor Awards is one way to engage our state’s untapped workforce by shining a spotlight on success stories."
The employee honorees:
  • Aaron Corcoran, St. Anthony. Corcoran is widely recognized as the state’s super-user of RealTime Talent, a computer program connecting Minnesota job-seekers with career opportunities. Born with cerebral palsy and using a wheelchair, Aaron overcame physical challenges to earn a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs. His professor there, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, noted Corcoran’s potential and introduced him to colleagues who would help launch his career as a workforce innovation specialist.
  • Nancy Lynn Martinez, Roseville. Nancy fled an abusive home at age 11 and became homeless. She eventually discovered a place to belong, but it was with "the criminal element of society." At age 12, she sold cocaine and heroin on the streets and landed in prison on felony burglary charges at age 21. At the Shakopee Correctional Facility she discovered machining, taking classes that would lay the foundation for a career after her release three years later. She’s now an adjunct instructor of machining at St. Paul College.
The employer honorees:
  • CentraCare Health, St. Cloud, was honored for its commitment to recruit disadvantaged job-seekers. Known for its progressive approach to hiring immigrants, CentraCare also partners with the Stearns-Benton Employment & Training Council to host a summer youth employment camp.
  • Care & Rehab – Caledonia, a long-term care facility, struggles to recruit from a declining workforce. The facility’s recruitment strategy includes a willingness to consider candidates who have overcome life challenges - challenges that sometimes result in an imperfect work history.
Kyle Horn, founder and director of America’s Job Honor Awards, congratulates the honorees. "These amazing honorees demonstrate that Minnesotans who overcome patterns of failure or challenges such as disability are not only highly qualified employees, but frequently they demonstrate remarkable work ethic and loyalty."
Honoree videos can be viewed at