Valencia College has been named one of Central Florida Healthiest Employers by the Orlando Business Journal.
The award, which was presented to Valencia officials on Nov. 17, celebrates the college’s commitment to employee wellness programs.
Companies competed for the award in four categories based on the number of employees. Valencia was recognized in the 1,000-4,999 employees category, along with companies such as the Children’s Home Society. Rosen Hotels & Resorts won the top prize in this group.
Judges highlighted Valencia’s initiative to make all campuses smoke-free by August 2012. The judges also noted Valencia’s budget of more than $54,000 set aside for its health initiatives, plus the college’s program to subsidize Weight Watchers membership fees for employees, and the focus on lowering employee blood pressure.
Valencia’s wellness program coordinator, Debi Jakubcin, accepted the award on behalf of the college. She was accompanied by Dr. Stan Stone, vice president of human resources & diversity; Dr. Amy Bosley, associate vice president of organizational communication & development; Patti Riva, operations manager of Valencia’s Energy Education program; Laurie Youngman, benefits manager; and Carol D’Avella, assistant to the dean of the Winter Park campus.
“It has been an exciting venture,” Jakubcin said, explaining that conversations about the wellness program at Valencia began almost a decade ago. Since then, Valencia’s wellness program has made great strides in helping employees live healthier lifestyles.
The program started off small with classes being held at the East and West campuses. “Now,” Jakubcin continued, “there is at least one class on each campus. Weight Watchers is being held on three campuses with well over two tons of weight being lost.” The program has also grown to include a variety of exercise classes, brown bag Lunch and Learns, healthy cooking classes, CPR training, and self-defense training.
In 2008, Valencia’s program was named the most comprehensive wellness program in the Florida Community College Risk Management Consortium.