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SAN ANTONIO -- Valero Energy Corp., operator of more than 1,200 convenience stores, was one of just five companies to receive the "Exemplary Voluntary Efforts" (EVE) award, which honors federal contractors that have demonstrated exemplary and innovative equal employment opportunity (EEO) programs.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao presented the award to Valero during the Department of Labor's annual awards ceremony last nigh in Washington. "Each of these businesses and organizations should take pride in the outstanding efforts they have made to offer women, people of color, veterans and people with disabilities access to equal employment opportunities in our 21st century workforce," she said. "They create opportunity in America's workforce and serve as role models for employers across the country."
Valero, which also manages a branded network of more than 4,500 convenience stores under brands including Diamond Shamrock, Stop N Go, Valero and Beacon, was selected for this national honor based on its progressive employee programs and diversity initiatives that promote understanding and maintain a positive and productive work environment. The award also recognizes Valero for its commitment to improving the quality of life in the communities where the company has operations.
"We're very honored to accept this award because it is a strong testament to our commitment to diversity and to our efforts to create the best possible workplace for all of our employees," said Bill Greehey, Valero's chairman and CEO. "We're proud of the programs we have in place not only to recruit and retain a diverse workforce, but also to provide employees at all levels with the best pay and benefits in our industry, and, with great opportunities for professional development and advancement."
In addition to diversity programs and benefits, Valero has many other employee programs aimed at making the company an employer of choice. The company offers innovative compensation programs that reward high performance, extensive education and training opportunities that encourage growth and development, innovative wellness programs and alternative work schedules that allow employees to maintain a healthy work/life balance.
Valero also has an extensive, employee-driven community service program. In 2001, when the company had just 3,500 employees, Valero's employees donated more than 50,000 volunteer hours to worthwhile organizations and the corporation's charitable contributions exceeded $3.5 million. In addition to a positive impact on all of the communities where Valero has operations, the program also promotes pride, camaraderie and teamwork among employees at all levels.
"This spirit of caring and sharing makes for a better, happier and more dedicated work force and it serves as the foundation for Valero's past and future success," said Greehey.
Chao singled out the Valero Intern Program (VIP) as an exemplary EEO effort. Valero initiated the program at its San Antonio corporate headquarters in 1997 and has expanded it to all of its refineries across the United States. Through the program, the company encourages talented women and minority college students to seek internships with the company with the possibility of being offered permanent entry-level positions upon graduation. To date, 30 of the 33 interns who were hired are still with the company in full-time professional positions.