Oct. 20, 2005 • Volume 14 Number 4

BCDS Honored for Workforce Programs

Innovation is one secret ingredient to the success of Boston College Dining Services when renovating eateries or developing new menus, and it's also in the recipe for the department in its human resources practices.

Last month BCDS was awarded the 2005 SPIRIT Award from Nation's Restaurant News and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. The award, sponsored by Coca Cola Co., recognizes innovative workforce programs that foster employee satisfaction.

"We're elated to be recognized in this important category," said BCDS Director Helen Wechsler, who heads an operation that serves 22,000 meals per day in 11 dining facilities on two campuses. "It's very important for people to feel that whatever they do, there's a value to it."

The value offered to BCDS employees comes in the forms of training programs, educational opportunities and benefits which help the more than 600 full-time and part-time employees who work as managers, chefs, line cooks, cashiers, dining room attendants and dish washers.

BCDS employees have the opportunity to enroll in culinary arts classes and take part in in-house training programs to bolster skills. Free English as a Second Language programs have helped foreign-born Dining Services employees - representing 33 countries - adapt to both their jobs and their new country, said Wechsler.

"This is all about human interaction and communication, which are very important to us," said Wechsler.

In addition to the benefits offered to other University employees, such as tuition remission and participation in retirement investing plans, BCDS sponsors a school-to-career program for high school students and a support program for workers with disabilities.

The SPIRIT award is the third time in recent years that BCDS has been recognized for its programs in support of employees. In 2003 the

National Restaurant Association honored the organization with its "Employer of Choice" award and in 2000 the Multicultural Food Service and Hospitality Alliance picked BCDS as the inaugural recipient of the "Strategic Example of Excellence in Diversity Award" that recognizes unique and original approaches to managing and developing diversity. -Stephen Gawlik

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