Hartford, CT HARC, Inc. is very pleased to announce Cigna, as the recipient of its 2012 Employer of the Year Award. The award, which was presented at HARC’s 61st Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 21, at Tumble Brook Country Club in Bloomfield, is presented to a company or organization to honor outstanding effort and achievement in including people with intellectual disability into the workplace. WorkDay
From left to right: Glen Matzick, Tina Wright, Jennifer Sanders, David Shira of Cigna at HARC’s 2012 Annual MeetingHARC’s first supported employment collaboration with the then Connecticut General opened in 1977 in the Reprographics Department. In 1986 a second jobsite opened in Cigna Mail Services. In 1988 and 1989 jobsites opened in shipping and delivery and the Cigna dish-room. Following that, two more dish-room sites opened at other locations within Cigna. Throughout HARC’s 35- year history with Cigna, the company has been extremely supportive and committed to the vision of community-based employment opportunities for HARC’s participants. The strength of Cigna’s commitment to employment for people with intellectual disability is certainly illustrated by the fact that even through a succession of food-service management subcontractors at its dish-room site, the HARC team has remained an integral part of the dish-room workforce.
Diana Appleton, the mother of 35 year-old HARC participant, Saarin, who has been at the Cigna dish-room site for nearly 14 years says, “Every time Saarin and I go out into the community she waves to someone she knows from Cigna – and they wave back. She truly has the knowledge that she is part of the community: she goes to work at Cigna, she gets a paycheck from HARC, she goes home and relaxes, she goes out for recreational activities or to help with the shopping. Hers is a regular life. And that is absolutely fantastic! The collaboration between HARC and Cigna has made possible a terrific, productive life for my daughter, and the others on the supported jobsite team, and I am very thankful for that.”
Christine Crawford, a HARC job coach with the shipping and delivery team at Cigna since it began in 1988, says, “Both John and Michael have been with me on this team since it was formed, and none of us would want to go anywhere else. Everyone we have worked with from Cigna has been really wonderful.”
Shirley Boron, Vice President of Employment and Day Services at HARC agrees, “Cigna has always been very supportive and committed to making our supported employment collaborations work. Even to the point of Cigna employees keeping a watchful eye on the HARC workers there to make sure they were OK, as they would make deliveries throughout the huge Cigna complex.”
“HARC is an exceptional business partner that has helped enrich our workplace,” says Cigna’s head of Service Operations, Brett Browchuk. “It’s an honor to be named HARC’s 2012 Employer of the Year, but this recognition really has been earned by the Cigna leaders over the past 35 years who have had the vision and the heart to provide opportunities to those in our community with special needs.”