Human Resources, Nonprofits, and Retail

Meijer wins Employer of the Year title from disability advocate

April 23, 2014
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Meijer, which operates 204 stores, began in 1938 when barber Hendrik Meijer purchased $328.76 worth of merchandise on credit to serve customers during the Great Depression. Photo via fb.com

An advocate for people with disabilities believes there was no better employer this past year than Meijer.

Grand Rapids-based Meijer said this month that it was given an Award for Excellence as the Employer of the Year by United Cerebral Palsy, an international nonprofit, service provider and advocate for people with cerebral palsy.

Meijer was given the award at the nonprofit’s annual conference in Nashville.

Meijer said it was given the honor for its company-wide recruitment of disabled people in its manufacturing and distribution network and fostering a workplace environment of equality for disabled employees.

The company also said it's been an "active voice" in the discussion about reforms in the state of Michigan’s disability policies.

"Meijer, in particular, demonstrates a commitment to making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities through their comprehensive employment programs," said Stephen Bennett, president and CEO, United Cerebral Palsy. “For fostering an environment where all employees are treated equally and given the tools they need to succeed, we are proud to honor Meijer."

The key to developing an equitable environment at Meijer was to train supervisors and team leaders to work with disabled people, said Rick Keyes, executive vice president of supply chain operations and manufacturing, Meijer.

"In creating a culture of inclusion and diversity, we strive to see everyone as part of one team and build on team member strengths,” Keyes said. “In our experience, the results within our distribution network have been fantastic.”

Keyes added that Meijer works “every day to focus on what people can do — rather than what they cannot do.”

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