LAUREL, MD — Verizon Wireless has received Gold Level certification in the Healthy Howard, Inc.’s Healthy Workplaces program. Healthy Workplaces recognized 58 businesses this year, and their respective 30,000 employees, with bronze, silver and gold medals based on each employer’s comprehensive efforts to improve the health of their work force and working environment in five main categories: Health Education, Supportive Social and Physical Environments, Integration of Worksite Wellness Program into Organizational Structure, Linkage with Related Programs, and Screening Programs.
Verizon Wireless has competed in the countywide awards program since its inception in 2009, and has earned top-level recognition for four consecutive years. A major employer in Howard County, Verizon Wireless operates a regional headquarters in Laurel, a Customer Call Center in Hanover, and a retail store in Columbia, with more than 2,200 employees in Howard County. The company was recognized by the Healthy Workplaces program for providing innovative programs that simplify access to preventive care and early detection, and encourage healthy lifestyles; for supporting healthy nutrition choices through food services; for endorsing programs to address racial and ethnic healthcare disparities; and for offering employees 100% coverage for preventive services, exercise coaching, nutrition and weight management, chronic condition management, tobacco cessation, stress management/reduction, pre/postnatal health education, biometric screenings and mammograms.
“Verizon Wireless has more on-site fitness centers than any other company in North America, including two state-of-the-art centers in Howard County which provide everything from personal training to Pilates for Pregnancy classes,” noted Phyllis Smelkinson, Healthy Workplaces Coordinator. “Its outstanding health benefits, its programs devoted to healthy babies, maternal health and smoking cessation, and its on-site, family-friendly amenities such as lactation rooms for nursing mothers, are indicative of its commitment to helping employees achieve work-life balance.”
“As a leading employer in Howard County, I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of all Verizon Wireless employees,” said Verizon Wireless Regional President Mike Maiorana. “We work hard to create a healthy, environmentally friendly workplace for our employees, and we’re proud to do business in a County that makes employee health and wellness a priority.”
In addition to achieving Gold Level certification again this year, Healthy Howard awarded Verizon Wireless with one of three “Innovation Awards.” Innovation Awards are given to one large, one medium, and one small business with a specific program or policy that goes above and beyond typical worksite wellness offerings, and includes a $500 cash stipend. Verizon Wireless received the “Innovation Award” in the large business category for its Wellness Center Coaches, which in addition to running its onsite fitness centers work closely with onsite cafeteria staff to design daily menu options with a wide variety of healthy food choices, and then work to educate employees about the linkage between good nutrition and long-term health. The wellness coaches launch frequent contests to engage employees and enhance understanding about the linkages between diet, nutrition and overall health; they have a visible presence inside the cafeteria at high-traffic times to answer questions and provide take-home recipes; they create displays to provide calorie counts and nutritional data about food choices; they work with vending machine companies to ensure there are healthy snack options, among other actions. Verizon Wireless will use its $500 cash Innovation Award to enhance the wellness programs it offers employees.
Verizon Wireless has consistently been singled out for its commitment to workplace wellness. The company has been named a Health & Wellness Trailblazer by the Alliance for Workplace Excellence for the last five years since the program began. The award honors businesses that promote professional fulfillment and personal wellness at work, at home, and in the community. In 2011, the company was named a Best Place to Work by Baltimore Magazine, in part for its commitment to employee wellness, including preventative services like onsite mammography screenings.
Nationally, the company has also been recognized frequently for its programs addressing the work/life needs of employees. One of Working Mother magazine’s “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” in 2012 and several years running, the company was also named among the Best Employers For Healthy Lifestyles by the National Business Group on Health for the past four years.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation's largest 4G LTE network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves nearly 96 million retail customers, including 90.4 million retail postpaid customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with more than 75,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.
About the Healthy Workplaces Program
Howard County’s Healthy Workplaces Program was developed from a review of evidence-based worksite wellness activities, guidelines from existing efforts by the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society as well as recommendations from the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and the Horizon Foundation. In 2009, the first year of the program, businesses were eligible to become certified at the Bronze or Silver level; Gold Level was added in 2010 and is the top category. Designees represent a wide range of industries and business models, including local, regional, national, and global businesses ranging in size from 2 to 250,000 employees.