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NIGMS Honored for Workforce Development

By Jilliene Mitchell

NIGMS and several other Montgomery County organizations, businesses and individuals recently received Workforce Development Awards. NIGMS was selected for one of the highest awards, Employer of the Year. The institute was honored for its dedication to making workforce development a priority, according to Dr. Marion H. Hull of the Montgomery County Workforce Development Corp., which cosponsors the award program.

NIGMS director Dr. Marvin Cassman said, "It is gratifying to receive an award that recognizes NIGMS' considerable and sustained efforts to support the training, development and advancement of its employees."

Among NIGMS' efforts was creation of a workplace diversity team that implements various activities and programs in support of the institute's Workplace Diversity Initiative. Such activities include employee surveys, training, career development programs and the NIGMS Diversity Book Club. The institute also exceeded its goal for hiring individuals with disabilities through use of the Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities. NIGMS continues to encourage its managers and supervisors to mentor more junior staff members and interns.

Karen Basnight, NIGMS EEO officer, holds Employer of the Year award.

Other award recipients were cited for leadership in and time commitment to workforce development, the recruitment and advancement of people with disabilities, the development of programs for homeless and at-risk children, and achievements in youth education and training.

The awards ceremony took place at Indian Spring Country Club in Silver Spring, and was cosponsored by the Montgomery Work-Life Alliance, a nonprofit coalition that educates and assists the county professional community in becoming "Excellent Places to Work."

In her keynote address, Pandit Wright, executive vice president of human resources and administration at Discovery Communications, Inc., discussed leadership in a time of crisis. She conveyed the importance of reaching out to employees and helping them re-establish their confidence and motivation. She also discussed the significance of creating a secure work place and recognizing people's needs outside of the work environment.

The award presenters included Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan. Duncan characterized the award recipients as excellent places to work that promote flexibility, health and wellness, community initiatives and employee volunteering. Townsend commented on the difficulties of juggling work with personal life. She commended Montgomery County for doing great things for employees and businesses, and said that she wanted to see more employee support on the statewide level.

Karen Basnight, NIGMS EEO officer, accepted the award on behalf of the institute. She said NIGMS continues to foster an environment in which all persons have an opportunity to advance to their full potential through a continuing EEO and workplace diversity program.


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