The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
EEOC PRESENTS 'FREEDOM TO COMPETE AWARD'
FOR BEST PRACTICES IN EMPLOYMENT
Six Winners Cover a Range of Industries and Professions
WASHINGTON - Cari M. Dominguez, Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC), today presented the agency's first-ever "Freedom to Compete Award" to six organizations for
initiatives that promote fair and open competition in the workplace.
"Today, we honor companies, associations and people whose extraordinary efforts embody a key
tenet of the Commission's goals: to ensure that all individuals have the freedom to compete and advance
in the workplace on a level playing field," Chair Dominguez said at a morning ceremony at EEOC
headquarters in downtown Washington. "Ultimately, the Freedom to Compete Awards are about setting
examples, and teaching. The best way to further the equal employment opportunity mission is to learn
from one another."
The six award recipients cover a range of industries and professions including high-tech,
manufacturing, insurance, retail/distribution, law, and public service:
- PK USA of Shelbyville, Indiana - For using alternative strategies to recruit, hire and promote
employees from a Latino community outside its traditional employment area. The company trained
all of its employees in cultural diversity and also arranged education and other support activities
through various state and county schools and service agencies to provide a smooth transition for
these new workers and their families. As a result of this initiative, more than a quarter of the full-
time PK U.S.A. workforce is currently comprised of Latinos.
- Giant Eagle, Inc., of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - For an initiative to train students with disabilities to secure a variety of positions at the company's grocery stores. By partnering with schools and local service agencies, the company developed alternative strategies to create a strong support system that enabled these students to hold permanent positions with the company and contribute to their own well-being and independence.
- Minority Corporate Counsel Association - For creating "KAN-Do", a multi-faceted model for
addressing employment barriers to diversity in the legal profession. KAN-Do offers persons of
diverse backgrounds and women knowledge, access and networks to address barriers to opportunity
in recruitment, hiring, retention, and career advancement in the legal profession.
- IBM Corporation -- For "Project View", a nationwide initiative using small events to bring together
highly qualified diverse college graduates with company managers who have available positions.
About half of IBM's university hires from diverse groups come through Project View.
- Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey -- For the "Supervisor Candidate Development
Program (Leadership Development)," an initiative to enable diverse employees to become more
competitive for supervisor positions. The initiative includes education and training components, as
well as assigned coaches, to ensure a level playing field for advancement. Over the past six years,
more than 70 percent of the promotions from the initiative were obtained by diverse employees.
- The State of Maryland -- Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., with bipartisan legislative support in 2004, was the first Governor in the nation to create a cabinet-level Department of Disabilities. The creation of the Department provides impetus for efforts to unify and comprehensively reform Maryland state
policy and programs for people with disabilities.
The awards are part of Chair Dominguez' Freedom to Compete Initiative, a national outreach,
education and coalition-building campaign launched in 2002 to provide free and unfettered access to
employment opportunities for all individuals. The central theme of the initiative is that every individual deserves the opportunity to compete and advance as far as his/her talent and ability allows without regard to discriminatory barriers based on race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age or disability. As part of the Freedom to Compete campaign, the EEOC has been forging strategic alliances and
partnerships with a cross-section of stakeholders to influence positive change in the workplace.
The EEOC is the federal government agency responsible for enforcing the nation's
anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. Further information the EEOC and on the Freedom to Compete
Award is available online at www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on June 14, 2005.
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