Three local employers have received state awards for outstanding workforce development success that will be presented at an upcoming conference, the Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board has learned.
Michael Foods/Papetti’s Hygrade Egg Products of Klingerstown, Dollar General of Wilkes-Barre and Lowe’s Home Improvement of Pottsville will receive their awards at the 2012 Annual Employment, Training and Education Conference in Hershey, presented jointly by Pennsylvania Partners and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. The awards will be presented to employers during a special Employer Awards Luncheon held during the conference on May 17.
The awards recognize Pennsylvania employers that are exemplary supporters of workforce, community and economic development in the commonwealth, and that have created jobs or hired workers through the workforce development system. Michael Foods/Papetti’s Hygrade Egg Products was nominated through the Department of Labor & Industry, Dollar General was nominated through the Department of Public Welfare, and Lowe’s Home Improvement of Pottsville was nominated through the Department of Aging.
“We would like to congratulate these companies on their well-deserved awards,” said Lucyann Vierling, L/S WIB executive director. “They have demonstrated that they use workforce development programs to their full potential in creating and retaining quality jobs for local residents.”
Michael Foods and its subsidiary, Papetti’s Hygrade Egg Products, will receive the 2012 Governor’s Workforce Development Award. Michael Foods is the world’s largest supplier of processed egg products and a leading provider of refrigerated potato, cheese and other dairy products.
Jack Hallick, human resources manager at the Klingerstown facility of Michael Foods/Papetti’s Hygrade Egg Products, said, “We are extremely pleased to be recognized for the efforts that our company has put forth as we work to position the local workforce for successful careers. We found partnering with the L/S WIB to be an excellent way to reach out to current and future employees through the Qualified Food Worker Certification Program, which helps prepare the workforce for employment in the food industry in particular.”
Dollar General in Wilkes-Barre was named to the Governor’s Achievement Award for Employers Honor Roll for its successful use of the Employment, Advancement and Retention Network (EARN) program and its Incentive Pantry, which provides goods for underprivileged families in the area.
The company has hired many workers through the PA CareerLink® and the EARN program and gives priority placement to EARN participants. Local stores advise the CareerLink’s job coordinator of available openings. After an interview and hiring test, qualified candidates are placed at Dollar General stores in the area.
“We are very proud to receive the award for the relationship we have built with EDSI and CareerLink. Many fine employees have come to us through the EARN program,” said Dollar General District Manager Thomas Aruanno.
Through the Incentive Pantry, Dollar General has donated more than 3,000 items, worth approximately $11,000, to the Luzerne/Schuylkill EARN program. In placement of cash incentives for EARN clients, the pantry is incorporated into the different stages of the EARN program and is used as a motivational tool for clients as they work toward the goal of self-sufficiency. Items include everyday household items, clothing, first aid equipment, toys, kitchen supplies, food, personal hygiene items and more.
Aruanno said, “One of our core values as a company is serving others. This was a perfect opportunity to serve the community we operate in. It was a pleasure to help stock the pantry to provide goods and services to those individuals who need it the most.”
Lowe’s Home Improvement of Pottsville was selected by the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame of Champions of Older Workers Committee as the Champion of Older Workers for 2011.
“The committee members were impressed that 38 percent of Lowe’s staff are older workers and that the older workers are offered flexible schedules, part-time work, advancement opportunities, a generous benefit package including matching company contributions to the retirement plan, free pre-retirement planning services, and a mentoring program,” said Rocco Claroni, chairperson of the Hall of Fame of Champions of Older Workers Committee.
Cathy Milbrandt, human resources manager at the Pottsville Lowe’s store, said, “Older workers bring a great deal to the table, including experience, dedication, a good work ethic and the ability to train newer associates because they have often worked in the home improvement field in their younger years. We are thrilled to supply such an opportunity for senior citizens and are excited to receive this award.”
L/S WIB Board Chair Martha M. Herron said, “The L/S WIB recognizes Michael Foods/Papetti’s Hygrade Egg Products, Dollar General and Lowe’s Home Improvement of Pottsville as outstanding employers, workforce enthusiasts and community leaders in Pennsylvania and around the world. We commend them for receiving these awards from the state.”
The Pennsylvania Partners Annual Employment, Training & Education Conference was first organized in 1984 and has since grown to attract more than 1,300 professionals from all facets of workforce development. Attendees include Workforce Investment Board staff and members, PA CareerLink® One-Stop, Department of Public Welfare and County Assistance Offices, adult basic education providers, career and technical educators, Department of Education staff and economic development professionals, as well as representatives from other community-based organizations.
The L/S WIB brings together business, industry, education, economic development and community organizations to participate with the public workforce system to identify workforce challenges and develop strategies and solutions to address those challenges. The organization’s mission is to ensure a demand-driven world-class workforce system aligned with economic development and education.