PUBLISHED: 5:16 PM on Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Juneau Chamber, UW seeking family friendly businesses
The Partnerships for Families and Children, along with United Way of Southeast Alaska and the Juneau Chamber of Commerce have begun solicitation for the 2008 Family Friendly Business Award Nominations.

The award encourages employees of local businesses to recognize the ways their employer assists them in maintaining a positive work life balance.

"Top performers rate the balance between work and family life as second of sixteen factors in their decision to stay with or leave a company," says Joy Lyon, Executive Director of Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC), "And when you consider that 68 percent of Juneau's young children are in childcare, that means there is a significant amount of parents in the workforce looking for an employer who is family friendly."

Family-friendly business practices give employers a competitive edge when recruiting employees.

Workplace flexibility is one of the most common ways an employer can assist their employees. Possibilities can include setting daily hours within a range of time, enabling time off during the work day to address family matters, job sharing, the ability to work from home, and allowing compressed work weeks.

Sierra Kaden and Cheryl Van Dyke nominated their employer, Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL), and won the 2007 Family Friendly Business Award for the non-profit sector. In their application they said, "As staff members come and go throughout the day, everyone adapts to cover for coworkers when there is a teething baby, an ill husband, a grandson's game, or various appointments that just need to happen between 9 to 5.

"We are encouraged to put personal lives first where there is a family crisis. And to take the time needed regardless of leave status. When all is said and done, we come back to work more focused and committed because we feel valued...We love where we work!"

Nomination forms for the 2008 awards can be obtained from the Partnerships website, or from Kristin Mahle at 463-5530 or Past recipients include Elgee Rehfeld Mertz; Don Abel; Southeast Alaska Independent Living; KTOO; and USKH.

Nominations are due by March 15. The winning businesses will be honored in an award ceremony at the April 17 Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

The Partnerships for Families and Children is an inclusive group of 16 non-profit and state agencies in Juneau working collaboratively to promote a seamless web of support services, and to increase broad based community support for young children and their families. The group's vision is that all families with young children will have access to community resources that support the health, growth and development of children.