Dining Services receives Workforce Achievement Award

By Allison Lizars ’11

Bates Dining Services has received a statewide award honoring commitment to the employment of people with disabilities.

At an Oct. 30 symposium in Freeport, Working Together, a partnership of Maine businesses striving to advance the employment of people with disabilities, presented Bates with the annual Workforce Achievement Award.

Christine Schwartz, Dining Services director, accepted the award for Bates.

Also known as the “Just Do It” award, the Workforce Achievement Award recognizes Maine businesses that are especially dedicated to and effective in this important cause.

Amie Parker, a human resources manager at Bates, credits Schwartz with a powerful commitment to hiring employees with disabilities. Schwartz “not only works to ensure that these individuals feel a sense of inclusion,” Parker says, but “actively works to hire and retain employees with developmental disabilities.

“Because of Schwartz’s efforts, our workforce is more diverse and richer than ever,” says Parker.

Bates and its Dining Services have proclaimed Nourishing Body and Mind: Bates Contemplates Food as a theme for this academic year. The initiative celebrates Bates’ dining and food-procurement practices; spotlights the college’s unusually high use of local foods and beverages — 28 percent; and calls for heightened awareness across campus of the consequences of individual food choices.

Bates has been recognized nationally for its innovative approach to educational food services, particularly in terms of environmental sustainability. Dining Services received Renew America’s National Award for Sustainability in 1999 and 2000, and in 1999 received the Christopher and Dana Reeve Award for Environmental Leadership.

In March 2002, Farming magazine held Bates up as a model of institutional cooperation with local growers.

In 2001, a Bates culinary team won a bronze medal in the Seventh Annual Governor’s Great Taste of Maine lobster recipe competition — the first time a collegiate dining team placed in the contest. The Bates entry, grilled lobster-stuffed crepes with baby shrimp hollandaise and fresh Maine blueberry and blackberry compote, placed third in a field of 100 recipes submitted by well-known dining establishments throughout the state.