YourForce: The 2015 Optimas Winners Are … All of Us

By Mike Prokopeak

Nov. 22, 2015

For 25 years, the Workforce Optimas Awards have recognized the best and brightest in human resources, highlighting leading companies for the work they do to support and lead their organizations.

This year’s general excellence winner — WVU Medicine — is no exception. With the country gripped by the threat of the deadly Ebola virus last year, WVU Medicine’s HR team swung into action, taking the initiative and creating a crack multidisciplinary team to treat suspected cases safely. WVU Medicine, as well as 20 other organizations recognized in this issue, are deserving winners. But they’re not the only ones.

What makes the Optimas Awards special are the lessons they offer — from helping employees plan for retirement to developing tomorrow’s leaders.  At the ripe old age of 25, that’s already a lasting legacy.

YourForce December 2015


Team Holy Walkamole from Alcoa Fastening Systems & Rings in Kingston, New York, took part in the 2015 Global Corporate Challenge wellness initiative along with more than 21,000 Alcoa employees who achieved more than 24 billion steps, averaging 14,098 steps a day. Alcoa has been named World’s Most Active Organization three years running by Global Corporate Challenge, a Melbourne, Australia-based organization that works with businesses worldwide to improve the health and performance of their employees. The next Global Corporate Challenge starts in May 2016.



The Workforce Q&A with Donna Faye Randall from September 2015 titled “Menopausal Mentor” drew these comments:

Sue Dickerson said: I do not believe, regardless what is said on the surface, that today’s workplace is ready for this. It adds another layer of ‘I’m a victim’ to how women are perceived. Women’s concerns — PMS, pregnancy, motherhood, menopause, the list goes on. These are not conditions that need to be identified, singled out, excused, understood, etc. This is life; deal with it. If a woman cannot do a job, cannot be in attendance or make decisions that the job requires, then a woman should not be in that job. I think women should understand their physical stages of life, but I do not believe this is warranted in the workplace. Just another target on an already targeted but critical demographic of the workplace.

SK added: I completely agree. This is taking ‘women’s employment issues’ too far. There do not need to be meetings about menopause at work unless it’s related to a health fair.

There were several comments about Rick Bell’s Last Word column titled “The Bridge to H-1B Visa Reform.”

StopTheLies said: Despite words of appeasement, Rick Bell is transparent in his advance of corporate profit over the interests of fellow citizens. Hey Rick, how about we put the nation back to work before continuing to flood our labor markets with more cheap imported labor? While it seems unlikely, perhaps Rick is just unaware that 2 of every 3 new IT job now goes to a foreign ‘guest worker?’ Or that 50 percent of this nation’s STEM graduates cannot find technical work? This has nothing to do with ‘skilled labor shortages,’ ‘thousands of unfilled jobs,’ ‘best and brightest” or any of the other countless and proven lies made up by paid propagandists on behalf of corporate America. This is about corporate profits, cheap labor, and greed — at a very high cost to our nation and citizens.

Said John802224: Overall you speak more rationally on this topic than most articles I see. It has become no better than the luxury SUV tax break where the intent of a hand up for the small construction company turned into me helping CEOs buy their next Escalade. Though outsourcers are most egregious, let’s not let the Facebooks and Microsofts off the hook so quickly either. They use these visas to overlook many domestic candidates and for some reason expect that their status grants them access to only the top 0.1 percent.

And, Col. Leopold Swindle said: ‘The only way a curtailment could have a snowball’s chance at not completely crashing the U.S. tech economy is by immediately herding U.S. born citizens into upward of a million STEM careers.’ Ohh, the fearmongering.

Mike Prokopeak is Workforce’s editor in chief.

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