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
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
SOURCE Giant Eagle, Inc.