Giant Eagle Supermarkets Receives Innaugural EEOC Award Supermarket Retailer Honored By Equal Employment Opportunity Commission With

'Freedom to Compete Award' for Best Practices in Employment



    PITTSBURGH, June 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Supermarket retailer Giant Eagle, Inc.
 today announced that it has been recognized by the U.S. Equal Employment
 Opportunity Commission (EEOC) with the Freedom to Compete Award for its
 ongoing dedication and implementation of employment initiatives that promote
 fair and open competition in the workplace.  The EEOC's first-ever Freedom to
 Compete Awards are being presented to six organizations covering a range of
 industries and professions including high-tech, manufacturing, insurance,
 retail/distribution, law, and public service.
     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.
     "The Freedom to Compete Award honors organizational leaders 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.  We congratulate our award winners and look forward
 to partnering with them to ensure equal opportunities for all employees," said
 Cari M. Dominguez, chair of the EEOC.  "Ultimately, the Freedom to Compete
 Award is about setting examples and teaching.  The best way to further the
 equal employment opportunity mission is to learn from one another."
     Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle has a 74-year history of success in the
 supermarket industry which is a direct result of the company's commitment to
 corporate responsibility as well as its ability to attract and retain ethical,
 friendly, and customer service-oriented employees.  Giant Eagle's thriving
 employee base of 36,000 is routed in the company's culture and underlying
 belief that the strength of the organization is dependent on the success of
 the individual job performance of each of its valued employees.
     To help achieve Giant Eagle's goal to attract, develop and retain the
 industry's best employees, Giant Eagle partners with more than 34
 community-based organizations in four states to offer employment and
 educational support programs to individuals with mental and/or physical
 disabilities.  One such employee program for which Giant Eagle is being
 honored, Project Opportunity, was developed by Giant Eagle in 1991 with the
 support of Pittsburgh Vision Services, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation,
 and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
     "Receiving the Freedom to Compete Award is a great honor and a testament
 to the value of programs such as Project Opportunity that opens doors to
 anyone who shares the Giant Eagle commitment to customer service," said Giant
 Eagle Director of Human Resources Dale Giovengo.  "We are very proud of our
 Project Opportunity graduates and the vital role that each employee plays in
 our ongoing success.  We will continue our efforts to create employment,
 professional and social development opportunities to people with mental and/or
 physical disabilities so they receive an equal chance to enjoy fulfilling
 lives."
     Project Opportunity identifies students (ages 16-21) in the Pittsburgh
 Public School system with visual, hearing and mobility challenges as well as
 emotional and learning disabilities.  The program mentors these students
 through three training phases, including:
 
      *  Classroom education with the assistance and support of teachers to
         communicate proper work behavior:
      *  In-store training in specific Giant Eagle supermarket departments:
      *  Permanent employment at Giant Eagle with the assistance of a job coach
         for those students who successfully graduate from the program.
 
     The objective of employment programs such as Project Opportunity is to
 provide individuals with disabilities realistic and equal employment
 opportunities that will help with professional and social development as well
 as build self-confidence and independence.  As a result of just this one
 employee program in Project Opportunity, 315 productive employees with
 disabilities have found quality and long-term employment at Giant Eagle with
 equal opportunities for further advancement within the company.
     Giant Eagle also was honored in 2003 by the Department of Labor's New
 Freedom Initiative Award for outstanding employment practices toward people
 with disabilities.  The award recognized exemplary and innovative
 public-private partnership efforts that furthered the disability employment
 objectives of President George W. Bush's New Freedom Initiative.
 
     About Giant Eagle
     Giant Eagle Inc., ranked 28 on Forbes magazine's largest private
 corporations list and past recipient of Progressive Grocer's Retailer of the
 Year Award and the EPA's ENERGY STAR Retail Partner of the Year Award, is one
 of the nation's largest food retailers and food distributors with more than
 $5.2 billion in annual sales.  Founded in 1931, Giant Eagle, Inc. has grown to
 be the number one supermarket retailer in the region with 140 corporate and 81
 independently owned and operated stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio,
 north central West Virginia and Maryland.
     Giant Eagle was named America's Second Harvest 2004 Regional Retailer of
 the Year for its support of local food banks, and also actively supports
 numerous community events, the United Way, The Salvation Army, Race For The
 Cure and other non-profit organizations.  The company also has created
 education initiatives such as Apples For The Students, which has provided
 millions of dollars in computer equipment, software and other classroom
 learning tools for local schools and the Be A Smart Shopper school nutrition
 program.  Further information can be found at GiantEagle.com.
 
     About the EEOC
     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
 http://www.eeoc.gov .
 
 

SOURCE Giant Eagle, Inc.

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