Skils’kin is proud to announce that Vickey Graning, Skils’kin Operations Manager, has been awarded the National Council of SourceAmerica Employers (NCSE) Management Excellence award.
Vickey continually demonstrates excellence in leadership at Skils’kin by believing in her team’s ability to achieve top standards, demanding excellence, and providing supports that enable the individuals who comprise her team to achieve this excellence. Through this dedication to high standards, Vickey has significantly enhanced employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, and she has empowered individuals with disabilities by increasing their employability.
Vickey is a Skils’kin manager who doesn’t lower her standards or expectations simply because she is working with individuals with disabilities. Instead, Vickey encourages quality assurance inspectors to challenge her team and demand top-quality work. Vickey recognizes that all staff need honest, constructive feedback in order to grow, and it is a disservice to individuals with disabilities to hold them to lower standards. She knows that her team is capable of top-level service, so she does everything in her power to ensure that her team achieves it – and the results speak for themselves.
In her latest Contractor Performance Assessment Report (CPAR), Vickey’s team received the highest rating of “Exceptional” across the board, building on the excellence from the previous year when her team received four “Exceptional” ratings and one “Very Good” rating. Furthermore, the assessing official, Contracting Officer Edward Campbell, reported that the work “exceeded expectations” and that “pride in quality work was evident.” Based on the team’s “truly exceptional custodial service” and ability, including Vickey’s exemplary leadership and management, Mr. Campbell recommended Skils’kin and Vickey’s team for further work with similar requirements.
Thanks to Vickey’s exemplary leadership style and mindset, and the subsequent performance of her team, Skils’kin’s custodial contract at Fairchild Air Force Base increased by $184,000 per year, which greatly expands employment opportunities for people with disabilities. This increase means that seven more individuals with significant disabilities will experience meaningful employment and opportunities for growth through the AbilityOne program and Vickey’s leadership.
Much of Vickey’s team’s success is a direct result of her demand for excellence. However, her demand is only half the story. Vickey expects excellence from her team, but she also continually supports and challenges her team while they pursue this excellence, increasing employability in the process. Vickey provides innovative cross-training that rotates individuals through different tasks, moving individuals on to new tasks only once they’ve mastered the current one. This cross-training method ensures that individuals can transition out of AbilityOne employment with a diverse skillset. Furthermore, if Vickey sees an individual on her team is struggling, she brings them aside and works with them. Sometimes the individual needs extra guidance and encouragement. Other times, the individual requires more help, and Vickey will reach out to whomever she can to help the individual get back on track not just at work, but in life.
By expecting and facilitating success, Vickey has empowered individuals with disabilities to transition into community-based employment. A powerful example of how Vickey’s leadership increases employability is Matt, an individual with a disability who transitioned into community-based employment. As Compliance Manager Chris Cale explained, “Matt initially made the transition [to community-based employment] but had trouble policing himself and meeting his work requirements on time. Because of these difficulties, Matt lost his job. However, Vickey believed in Matt’s potential and rehired him, using his workplace struggles as a blueprint for improvement. She met with Matt, and they agreed to work on his time-management and self-policing skills. For the next year, Vickey worked with Matt and specifically held him accountable for these skills, checking in with him periodically and making sure that the leads left him in charge of himself, so he would have opportunities to hone his developing skills. After a year back with Vickey, Matt applied for another community-based job, secured the position, and has been thriving there ever since.” Vickey turns setbacks into successes, increasing employability and changing lives in the process.
Vickey doesn’t allow people on her crew to fail or falter because she knows they are capable of consistent success, and she provides scaffolds to help her team reach greater heights. She genuinely cares about her team’s success and their wellbeing, and she does everything in her power to ensure that her team achieves greatness – both in the workplace and in life. In short, Vickey isn’t a manager who manages from her office. She is an active participant who embodies the Missions and Visions of Skils’kin, AbilityOne, and SourceAmerica. She is an exemplar of the notion that AbilityOne supervisors are not just supervisors: they are activists, mentors, teachers, and leaders who look after the overall well-being of the individuals they serve.
Vickey is not an individual who seeks the spotlight, but she deserves it. As Colette Renninger, Skils’kin Director of Operations, explains, “there is no half-measure in anything that she does.” She is invested and involved, passionate and demanding. She is everything an AbilityOne supervisor should be – and more.
Congratulations, Vickey, for receiving this prestigious NCSE Management Excellence award. Your continual demand for excellence inspires us all.