IBM Receives 2003 New Freedom Initiative Award

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ARMONK, N.Y - 20 Oct 2003: Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced that IBM is a recipient of the 2003 New Freedom Initiative Award from the U.S. Department of Labor. The award recognizes exemplary and innovative public-private partnership efforts that further the disability employment objectives of President George W. Bush's New Freedom Initiative. Five businesses, four non-profit organizations and one individual received the award this year.

"IBM has a long-standing commitment to people with disabilities, which began in 1914 when we hired our first disabled employee, 76 years before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)," said Randy MacDonald, senior vice president, Human Resources, IBM Corporation. "Over the years, our nationally recognized policies, training and mentoring programs were created to ensure employees with disabilities are welcomed, valued and productive in the IBM workplace, and the 2003 New Freedom Initiative Award reinforces our efforts."

IBM received the Secretary of Labor's New Freedom Initiative Award in recognition for its training and mentoring programs for the disabled. In addition to its equal opportunity hiring practices, the company was also recognized for its dedication to making technology products and services accessible to people of all abilities, as well as its commitment to research in this area through the IBM Accessibility Center. In addition to IBM's equal opportunity hiring practices, the company has long been active in many of the regulatory organizations that set accessibility standards.

"President George W. Bush wants all Americans, including Americans with disabilities, to have the opportunity to learn and develop skills and engage in productive work," said Secretary Chao. "The recipients of the 2003 Secretary's New Freedom Initiative Awards are organizations that recognize the value that persons with disabilities bring to the workplace and exemplify that philosophy in their daily operations."

Corporation awardees were: Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, Va., Cingular Wireless, Atlanta, Ga., Giant Eagle, Pittsburgh, Pa., IBM, Armonk, N.Y., and Manpower, Inc., Milwaukee, Wisc. Organization awardees were: Abilities, Inc., Albertson, N.Y., Courage Center, Minneapolis, Minn., Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, Salisbury, Md., and Sensory Access Foundation, Sunnyvale, Calif. The individual awardee was Joyce Bender, Bender Consulting, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Secretary Chao presented the 2003 New Freedom Initiative Awards on Wednesday, October 16, at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C.

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