Reach 4 More honors Calcutta Giant Eagle

At left, Paul Anthony and Courtney Waters of the Reach 4 More program present a plaque to Penny Stowers and Manager Buddy Robinson of Calcutta Giant Eagle for the store’s long history of employing persons with developmental disabilities. (Submitted photo)

CALCUTTA – Hiring people with disabilities is nothing new to Calcutta’s Giant Eagle supermarket. The store has had many, including one person who has been employed for more than 20 years.

The store’s owners and staff were honored with a plaque presentation by Reach 4 More, a program of the Columbiana County Board of Developmental Disabilities which works to promote hiring of the disabled.

Recognizing the value of such workers, there is now a full-time staff member in Giant Eagle stores in northeastern Ohio whose job is to find, hire and retain workers with disabilities. The addition is the result of a partnership between Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) and Giant Eagle Inc.

Hiring people with disabilities “has really worked well for us,” said Buddy Robinson, store manager at Calcutta. He said the new corporate staff person will work with both corporate-owned stores in northeastern Ohio and those which are locally owned, such as Calcutta.

Through this partnership, a full-time OOD Talent Sourcing Coordinator is embedded at Giant Eagle and its human resources staff. The coordinator’s job is to encourage hiring the disabled, and improve training, accessibility within the workplace, and pathways to promotion.

“This partnership is the first of its kind with a private company in Ohio,” said OOD Director Kevin Miller in a joint press release. “We hope this will serve as an example that inspires other members of the business community to recognize the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities.”

OOD is the state agency responsible for assisting individuals with disabilities to gain meaningful employment, to live independently or receive disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.

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