Veterans, Certification Among Winning 2015 Pinnacle Program Themes

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the awards program

By Kathy Gurchiek Nov 20, 2015
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Programs focused on military veterans were among the 12 winners of the 2015 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Pinnacle Awards that were announced Nov. 20, 2015, during the SHRM Volunteer Leaders’ Summit in Washington, D.C.

The three-day summit ends Saturday.

Paychex Inc. sponsored this year’s awards program, which recognized nine SHRM chapters and three SHRM state councils for their outstanding initiatives. Winning affiliates were from California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

The 12 winning programs—one-third of which were aimed at veterans—were selected from nearly 90 applications. Each winner received $1,000 and a crystal award.

The Pinnacle Awards are “one of the highlights of this conference,” said Elissa O’Brien, SHRM-SCP, SHRM’s vice president of membership, who served as moderator for the awards luncheon. This year marked the 25th anniversary for the Pinnacles.

“For 25 years now, we’ve honored chapters and state councils that have reached the pinnacle of excellence trough their award-winning initiatives,” she said. Winners of the 2015 Pinnacle Awards are:

*SHRM Georgia State Council, “Strategic Business Partners in Education.” In 2014, the state council leadership worked with Georgia Department of Education leaders to redefine the Industry Certification program and develop a plan to revitalize it for the 2014-15 school year to better prepare high school students for the workforce.

*SHRM Hawaii State Council, “HR Pathway Project.” The HR Pathway implements acareer-oriented HR curriculum for the first time at Hawaii’s public high schools. The program aims to introduce HR skills and competencies to students during a formative time in their lives.

*Texas SHRM State Council, “Texas Veteran Employment—Education, Legislation and Sustainability.” This initiative over the last four years included “Operation Job Match,” “The Patriotic Promise,” “The Texas Employer Veteran Friendly Strategic Planning Guide and Talent Management Tool Kit” and participation in Texas legislative action. The aim was to provide a sustainable strategy that state council leaders could use to educate Texas employers and HR professionals on best practices to create a “Veteran Talent Management Program.”

*El Paso (Texas) SHRM, “Get Ready ... Get Set ... Work!” The chapter assisted residents of its local Center Against Sexual and Family Violence with resume-writing and interview preparation, coordinated job opportunities, and collected clothing donations for center residents to wear during interviews. The chapter also assisted local school districts, the University of Texas at El Paso and Fort Bliss with resume-writing and interview preparation.

*Heart of Illinois Human Resource Council, “Celebrate Veterans.” The chapter collaborated on a special event aimed at arming business leaders and HR professionals with a strategy to create, implement and access a veteran hiring program and also raise awareness of the growing problem of veteran homelessness.

*Middle Tennessee SHRM, “Bridging the Gap—Helping Employers Understand How to Effectively Hire Veterans and People with Disabilities.” In 2015, the chapter developed a program to support veterans and people with disabilities. Events included a daylong Warrior Workforce Conference and an inaugural CapABILITY Career Expo where employers could recruit and talk with people with disabilities. The chapter also is planning its first Career Expo for veterans, active-duty and reserve military, and their family members.

*Professionals In Human Resources Association (Calif.),PIHRA Young Professionals.” Thechapter developed a task force and organized events to increase its young professional membership. Its efforts have met with success, according to the chapter, drawing a larger-than-anticipated turnout and eliciting interest from universities and organizations for potential sponsorships.

*San Antonio (Texas) Human Resource Management Association,Transitioning Warrior Workshops.” Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base and Fort Sam Houston are among the military installations that make San Antonio a magnet for military members and their families. The Transitioning Warrior Workshop program was created to help veterans transition into civilian jobs after they leave the military. The challenges they faced included limited access to effective training and coaching and uncertainty over how to transfer their military skills to the civilian workforce.

*SHRM—Dodge County (Wis.), “The Little Chapter That Could—Enhancing the HR Profession in Dodge County.” In 2013, this chapter was on the verge of losing its SHRM affiliation. After electing a new board, rebranding the chapter and taking action such as a membership drive and working to receive certification credit for chapter presentations, it had grown to 60 professionals and 10 student members by the end of 2014.

*Southern Connecticut Chapter of SHRM, “Attracting and Engaging Young Professionals.” The chapter created a Young Professionals Special Interest Group that allowed potential members to sample the chapter’s programs and networking opportunities. It also revitalized student chapters and revamped the chapter website, including making it compatible with mobile devices.

*Southwest Area Human Resource Association (N.D.), Certification Preparation.” The chapter has experienced a dramatic increase in membership, largely due to its location in the heart of the Bakken oil region. The chapter heavily promoted SHRM’s new certifications and ongoing professional development.

*The Savannah (Georgia) Area Chapter of SHRM,Community in Collaboration Project.” Collaborating with local and regional organizations, the chapter provided education on HR topics that affect large and small businesses, nonprofits, government groups and educational institutions, with a goal of offering one training each month. Participants received free continuing education credit.

Kathy Gurchiek is the associate editor at HR News. Follow her @SHRMwriter.

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