(Providence, RI)- April Lombardi of North Smithfield, Rhode Island has been presented with the Success at Work award from Work Opportunities Unlimited. The “Success-at-Work” award, which began in 2000, periodically honors and recognizes team members who have delivered outstanding service to our clients consistent with the Company’s core values.  Founded upon the principle that all people can work, Work Opportunities Unlimited is a community-based, employment service provider that specializes in placing people with disabilities, and job seekers who experience barriers to employment, in competitive work environments.

Lombardi was recognized for her exceptional commitment to supporting individuals with disabilities through a fun and lively, daily Virtual Job Club during the pandemic. Lombardi was nominated for the award by the Director of Work Opportunities Providence market, Whitney Ritt.

In her nomination, Whitney wrote about April’s exceptional ability to create fun and engaging content for Virtual Job Club services during what has been a challenging year for all. April truly embodies WOU’s core value of “We are never satisfied”. Whitney shared, “throughout the past year, April has proven to be innovative in her abilities to create content that keeps our clients engaged. She has been a constant in our clients’ lives during a tumultuous year and created a space for them to feel safe and connected despite the distance”.

Lombardi, who started with Work Opportunities Unlimited in November of 2019 as a Career Resource Specialist, jumped right in when the transition to virtual services abruptly took place at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. She was compelled by the exciting opportunity to develop an outlet to bring people together. Lombardi said it was all about engagement. She was inspired to create “bright and interesting” Virtual Job Club calendars and developed inclusive events designed to cultivate connections. Every week, Lombardi involved the group in fun activities and games built around a work-related theme. She closed out each week with a virtual field trip for all to “travel” to a new place and explore the area’s geography, history, and culture. “It’s all about having fun, it’s been our pandemic relief support group” says Lombardi, “people can come and share their happiness and their challenges.” For Lombardi, the best thing about Job Club has been that “clients have formed long-lasting friendships” and this has brought a tremendous sense of value to Lombardi and the clients she serves. “It brightens our day”, she says, “seeing everyone’s gifts and talents at Job Club has been wonderful”.

April Lombardi (left) and Whitney Ritt (right)

Upon presenting the award, Whitney Ritt honored Lombardi for her commitment to Work Opportunities Unlimited’s core value of “We believe in individual initiative and dignity” through her work building and sustaining the daily Virtual Job Club during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of special note is Lombardi’s positive approach to service and her ability to create a space to alleviate the isolation and fears of the individuals she supports, particularly during the last year. WOU President and CEO, Steve Wood, added, “The past year has been a most challenging time for all of us and especially the many individuals we serve. With her positive and friendly nature, April has been a daily beacon of light for dozens of people, and opened their eyes to the many benefits of feeling hopeful because of the strengths within themselves.” Lombardi is truly a great team member and a Success at Work!