PITTSBURGH -- Giant Eagle Supermarkets here was named one of the six winners of the first-ever Freedom to Compete Awards, presented by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The award was presented to companies dedicated to implementing employment initiatives that promote fair and open competition in the workplace. Giant Eagle won the award for Project Opportunity, a program it began in 1991 to hire people with visual, hearing and mobility disabilities.
Dale Giovengo, Giant Eagle's director of human resources, said the award is "a testament to the value of programs such as Project Opportunity that open doors to anyone who shares the Giant Eagle commitment to customer service. 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."
The awards are an outgrowth of the EEOC's Freedom to Compete Initiative -- a national outreach, education and coalition-building campaign launched in 2002 to provide access to employment opportunities for all individuals, based on the premise that every individual deserves the chance to compete and advance in the workplace on a level playing field.
"Ultimately, the Freedom to Compete Award is about setting examples and teaching," said Cari M. Dominguez, chair of the EEOC.
Other winners were IBM Corp., for sponsoring events that bring together qualified diverse college graduates with companies that have positions available; PK USA of Shelbyville, Ind., for going outside traditional employment areas to recruit Hispanics; Minority Corporate Counsel Association, for addressing employment barriers to diversity in the legal profession; Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, for helping diverse employees become more competitive for supervisory positions; and the state of Maryland, for creating a cabinet-level Department of Disabilities.