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June 7, 2001

Governor and First Lady Honor Winners of Family Investment Awards

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan and First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan today awarded the 2nd Annual Governor's Family Investment Awards to nine companies representing the best in family-friendly policies. At a ceremony held at the James R. Thompson Center, Governor and Mrs. Ryan recognized representatives from large and small businesses throughout the state for their business practices that support women and their families.

"The 2001 Governor's Family Investment Award winners proved that policies that are good for women and their families are also good for business," Governor Ryan said. "More companies should follow their lead and develop family-friendly practices."

The award program-sponsored by the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women in Illinois-is designed to showcase progressive business policies and highlight them as "best practices" for other businesses to emulate.

The competition evaluates nominations in three categories: Child and Parent Programs, Elder and Dependent Care and Innovations, and Insights and First Steps. Large companies and small businesses (350 employees or less) were judged separately in each category.

"The impetus behind the Family Investment Award competition was to increase awareness about creative ways Illinois businesses can support their employees in successfully balancing their careers and their family life, and encourage more companies to follow suit," said Commissioner Mary Cameron Frey, co-chair of the Commission's Balancing Work and Family working group.

This is the second year the Balancing Work and Family working group has developed the Family Investment Award competition. One of the group's top priorities is addressing challenges faced by working women with families.

The professionals on the evaluation panel spent several days reviewing the applications, which came from around the state and represented a variety of industries and fields.

"The 2001 Family Investment Award winners have one thing in common -- these companies have clearly seen a business value in supporting their employees and their employees families," said co-chair Commissioner Judy McCaskey.

The Governor's Commission on the Status of Women in Illinois is a nonpartisan advisory group that works with the private and public sectors to promote economic independence and equity for Illinois women. The Commission is organized into eight working groups that are dedicated to key issue areas. Each working group is chaired by one or two Commissioners, and is comprised of relevant agency liaisons and qualified women and men from around the state with knowledge and expertise in that particular issue area.

Attached are the 2001 Governor's Family Investment Award winners and descriptions of their programs.


Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park
Innovations, Insights and First Steps/Large Business

Abbott Laboratories' child care solution strategy includes a new 46,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art child care center, interim care programs and a collaborative initiative to address broader child care needs in the community. The company also offers child care through an outstanding School's Out program for children ages 12 to 15. Abbott also provides a number of alternative work options including telecommuting, job-sharing and part-time schedules. Managers and employees then work together to discuss the options and develop a solution that meets the needs of the employee and the business.

ABN AMRO North America, Inc., Chicago
Innovations, Insights and First Steps/Large Business

ABN AMRO stepped to the forefront by providing work-life effectiveness training for all employees. In addition, the company has gone beyond the usual employee benefit offerings by assisting employees with financial reimbursement for adoption expenses and costs associated with back-up child care in emergencies when the primary provider is unavailable.

Bank One, Chicago
Innovations, Insights and First Steps/Large Business Elder and Dependent Care/Large Businesses

Bank One has set a standard with its well-designed and extensively communicated information about its family friendly programs. The communication pieces assist employees with an easy to use toll-free number that guides the caller through information on various resources such as flexible work schedules and child and dependent care providers. The bank also offers employees who are caretakers of their parents and grandparents, direct contact with gerontologists and elder care specialists who can help locate adult day care programs or respite care.

Export Packaging, Moline
Child Care and Parental Programs/Large Business

Export Packaging was the first employer in the Quad City-area to provide on-site day care. As a result, the company reduced employee turnover and found that women return from maternity leave much earlier because of the high quality of care children receive.

Hi-Grade/Sappano's Decorating Centers, Chicago
Child Care and Parental Programs/Small Business

The owner of Sappano's believes there should be no "latch-key children" and designs employee programs around that principle. Sappano's offers employees flexible work schedules and encourages all family members to take time off during the birth of a child. The company also provides summer employment opportunities for older children. There is also room in the stores to accommodate children who must occasionally accompany their parents to work.

National Manufacturing Company, Sterling
Child Care and Parental Programs/Large Business

National Manufacturing took an innovative approach to developing their child care offerings. They surveyed the 850 employees to hear firsthand what their needs were and explore what solutions would best address those needs. This partnership resulted in a Resource Booklet that employees have said is "outstanding," as well as expanded care for children of employees who work second and third shifts. National also took an active role in assisting in the development and construction of a new Sterling-Rock Falls Day Care Agency that broke ground this spring.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago
Childcare and Parental Programs/Large Business

Northwestern Memorial Hospital provides employees with flexible work schedules, child care facilities and summer camp opportunities for children. The company focuses on the needs of the new mother by providing a well-equipped lactation center. Programs and classes on breast feeding are also provided at a very nominal charge for employees. The hospital also offers a free breast feeding hotline for questions or concerns.

Prem Magnetics, Johnsburg
Child Care and Parental Programs/Small Business

Despite its small size, Prem Magnetics offers employees an outstanding child care center. The company has been a leader in the area, demonstrating the benefits of quality child care to employees and other employers. The company found that these benefits improved its recruiting efforts and workforce morale, while reducing turnover.

Southern Illinois Healthcare, Carbondale
Child Care and Parental Programs/Large Business

Southern Illinois Healthcare surveyed its employees to determine needs and create responsive programs. From this survey they established an in-house referral system for child day care and a program to pay for child care with pre-tax dollars. They also are one of a few employers that provide elder care for employees' dependents. The health organization was a pioneer in addressing the lack of child care in rural areas. SIH's Memorial Hospital took the initiative to work with local providers to extend their hours so shift employees could have dependable child care available according to their work schedules.


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