SHRM Chapters and Councils from Nine States Win Pinnacle Awards for Exceptional HR Programs

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the SHRM Pinnacle Awards

Nov 20, 2015
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WASHINGTON — The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) presented 12 affiliates today with its Pinnacle Award — the highest honor given to SHRM state councils and chapters for notable contributions to the human resource profession.

Created in 1991, the award is the greatest achievement SHRM state councils and chapters can attain, and it honors programs that exceed the standard activities of SHRM affiliates in enhancing the creation of effective HR management. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the award. 

Affiliates from California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin were presented with the Pinnacle Award during SHRM’s annual Volunteer Leaders’ Summit, which ends Saturday, Nov. 21.

“This year’s Pinnacle Award winners have demonstrated exceptional leadership through their innovative programs,” said Henry G. “Hank” Jackson, president and CEO of SHRM. “Their projects also offer practical solutions to business challenges facing companies today such as military veterans’ transitions to the civilian workforce.”

Winning programs selected from nearly 90 applications received a $1,000 prize, given by Paychex Inc., which is the sponsor of this year’s Pinnacle Awards. 

The 2015 SHRM Pinnacle Award winners are:


Professionals in Human Resources Association (Calif.) – “PIHRA Young Professionals #PIHRAyp”
In 2015, the Professionals in Human Resources Association launched a young professionals program, in an effort to increase SHRM’s young professional membership. According to PIHRA, program events have drawn a much higher turnout than anticipated, and the chapter has also received sponsorship interest from universities and well-known organizations.

Southern Connecticut Chapter of SHRM – “Attracting and Engaging Young Professionals”
In an effort to increase, engage and retain young HR professionals, the Southern Connecticut Chapter of SHRM created a Young Professionals Special Interest Group, revitalized local student chapters and upgraded its chapter website. Since starting these initiatives, the chapter has grown its young professional membership, increased participation in activities and programs, and attracted new volunteers to its board and committees.

Georgia SHRM State Council – “Strategic Business Partners in Education”
In 2003, the Georgia SHRM State Council partnered with the Georgia Department of Education (DOE) to better prepare high school students for the workforce, and the initiative is still active today. In 2014, the council met with the Georgia DOE to redefine the industry certification program and develop a plan to revitalize it for the 2014-2015 school year. This chapter has shown an over 10-year commitment to this initiative and preparing the next generation of workers.

The Savannah Area Chapter of SHRM (Ga.) – “Community in Collaboration Project”
The Savannah Area Chapter of SHRM collaborated with its business resource partners to present relevant and timely human resource topics at local educational events. These were HR topics that affect small business nonprofits, government entities and educational institutions. The chapter set a goal to hold one seminar a month. SHRM members also were offered continuing education credit for these sessions free of charge.

Hawaii SHRM State Council – “SHRM Hawaii HR Pathway Project”
The Hawaii SHRM State Council identified a lack of awareness about the human resources profession among college-bound high school students. As a result, it created a course that focuses on a career-oriented HR curriculum for Hawaii public high schools. It is intended to increase the number and quality of candidates for the profession and improve future workforce knowledge by tapping into the more than 185,000 public school students attending nearly 300 high schools. Members have presented the course to high school teachers and anticipate that schools will begin offering the course to students in the near future.

Heart of Illinois HR Council – “Celebrate Veterans”
The Heart of Illinois HR Council collaborated with the Heartland Division Salvation Army Veterans Outreach Center to host an “Arming Business Leaders and HR Professionals” event. The event was designed to provide business leaders and HR professionals with a strategy to implement a veteran hiring program and raise awareness of veteran homelessness.

Southwest Area Human Resource Association (N.D.) – “Certification Preparation”
The Southwest Area Human Resource Association chapter, which has experienced a large increase in members, saw a great opportunity to engage and advance human resource professionals in its community. The group heavily promoted the new SHRM Certification program to its members, increasing the number of certified professionals.

Middle Tennessee SHRM – “Bridging the Gap – Helping Employers Understand How to Effectively Hire Veterans and People with Disabilities”
In 2015, Middle Tennessee SHRM developed a program to support veterans and people with disabilities. Along with a few collaborators, it planned two inaugural events for veterans, including a Warrior Workforce Conference, a day-long seminar focused on educating employers on how to effectively hire veterans. The second event is the chapter’s first annual Career Expo for Veterans, active military and their family members, which will take place this month. Seventy-five exhibitors and 300 attendees are expected to attend. The chapter also planned an event called the CapABILITY Career Expo, which was designed exclusively for employers to recruit people with disabilities. Thirty-four employers and 150 job seekers attended the expo.

Texas SHRM State Council – “Veteran Employment – From Education to Legislation”
The Texas SHRM State Council created a multipart initiative called Texas Veteran Employment – Education, Legislation and Sustainability, which 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. This initiative was designed to provide a sustainable strategy that could be utilized by Texas SHRM leaders to educate Texas employers and HR professionals on best practices to create a veteran talent management program.

El Paso SHRM (Texas) – “Get ready … Get set … Work!”
El Paso SHRM partnered with its local Center Against Sexual and Family Violence to assist residents with resume writing and interview preparation. The chapter also worked with its members to coordinate job opportunities and to collect interview clothing for these residents. Taking the initiative one step further, the chapter applied the same resume writing and interview preparation efforts with its local school districts, the University of Texas at El Paso and Fort Bliss.

San Antonio Human Resource Management Association (Texas) – “Transitioning Warrior Workshops”
The San Antonio Human Resource Management Association created the Transitioning Warrior Workshop to assist veterans as they transitioned back into the civilian workforce. The chapter recognized a timely need for this service in the midst of budget sequestration and military cutbacks. Through this program, the chapter matched employers with qualified veterans and also partnered with the non-profit organization Centurion Military Alliance to present monthly workshops that focused on interview training and resume building. About 300 military and ex-military individuals have participated in this program and 60 members of the San Antonio chapter have volunteered over 250 hours of their time.

Dodge County SHRM (Wis.) – “The Little Chapter That Could – Enhancing the HR Profession in Dodge County”
In 2013, Dodge County SHRM was on the verge of losing its SHRM affiliation and therefore knew it had to make some major changes to get back on track. With a new board of directors, members began chapter rebranding and provided a variety of valuable resources to the rural Dodge County, Wis., area. They created new marketing materials, held a membership drive and worked to receive certification credit for chapter presentations. Since these efforts were taken and implemented, the chapter has experienced a 668 percent membership growth.

Media: For more information or to request an interview, contact Vanessa Gray at 703-535-6072 and or Kate Kennedy of SHRM Public Affairs at 703-535-6260 and

About the Society for Human Resource Management
Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, the Society is the leading provider of resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the professional practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @SHRMPress.

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