January 14, 2008

Governor's Office of Disability Affairs Names Blue Cross Employer of the Year


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana's commitment to recruiting and supporting employees with disabilities has won the company the title of 2007 Employer of the Year from the Governor's Office of Disability Affairs (GODA).

Each year, GODA hosts the Governor's Disability Community Action and Leadership Award Ceremony to honor organizations and individuals who show an outstanding commitment and service to persons with disabilities in Louisiana. In the Employer of the Year category, GODA looks for a company that "actively recruits, hires and accommodates employees with disabilities."

Blue Cross seeks in its employment practices to go beyond the requirements of federal and state employment discrimination laws. Says Human Resources Director Lynne Broussard, "We believe that candidates-for-hire with disabilities are an often-untapped market of valuable job candidates who can prove to be some of the most loyal, committed, engaged employees a company can have."

Blue Cross actively recruits disabled employees through sites that target candidates with disabilities. Officers, directors and managers are trained on how to support employees who are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Blue Cross' workforce includes employees affected by various injuries or disabling diseases that require scheduling or facility accommodations, as well as employees using wheelchairs and hearing- and sight-impaired persons. Two of these staffers - Mitch Bourgeois, who has used a wheelchair since a disabling 1992 accident, and Yvette Moody, a hearing-impaired employee - helped represent the company at the Dec. 14 ceremony at the Old Governor's Mansion as Todd Schexnayder, senior vice president of human resources, accepted the award.

"They have gone far out of their way to make me feel just as accepted and needed as anyone else," wrote Bourgeois in his letter supporting Blue Cross' nomination.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is Louisiana-owned and -operated. Marking its 74th anniversary this year, the company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. It is a tax-paying mutual company, owned by its policyholders. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana also has district offices in Alexandria, Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans and Shreveport. The company's subsidiaries include HMO Louisiana, Inc. and Southern National Life Insurance Company, Inc.