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Academics Campus & Community

Putnam honored for support of WACOSA employees who make dining options possible at CSB and SJU

The Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR) presented Aric Putnam, a professor of communication at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, with an award for his contributions as a state senator and chief author of a bill that increases Minnesota’s Extended Employment funding by $5 million over the next two years. Putnam received the MOHR Making a Difference Award on Oct. 13 at Saint John’s.

The support offers thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities the opportunity to gain and maintain careers and jobs in their communities. Extended Employment funding is a cornerstone of their success, and the increase in funding will ensure a continued win-win employment relationship for all involved, according to Nancy Betts, WACOSA executive director, who presented the award to Putnam.

“Saint John’s and Saint Ben’s have had decades-long partnerships with WACOSA and employ people with disabilities,” Betts said. “They are a prime example of the type of partnership that Extended Employment helps to support.”

CSB and SJU have partnered with WACOSA for 15 years to provide dining service staff to work in its two primary locations to serve students. Without the workers from WACOSA, CSB and SJU could not deliver the dining experience that is a valued benefit of attendance at the schools.

“Saint John’s University and College of St. Benedict students daily are beneficiaries of the work that WACOSA employees provide to all areas of the dining operation,” said Jeff Wubbels, director of events and conferences at SJU. “Examples of some of the critical work WACOSA employees do includes preparation work in the kitchen, staffing the dishwashing room, cleaning in the dining rooms, stocking shelves and providing custodial support. We are indeed blessed in many ways with this wonderful partnership.”

WACOSA group

Aric Putnam, a communication professor at Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s, holds a plaque recognizing him as a recipient of the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation Making a Difference Award on Oct. 13 in Sexton Commons. He is surrounded by people who work in dining services at SJU, as well as representatives from WACOSA.