Verizon Named Private-Sector Employer of the Year By 'CAREERS & the disABLED' Magazine

NEW YORK - CAREERS & the disABLED magazine has named Verizon as The Private-Sector Employer of the Year, praising the company for creating an inclusive environment that maximizes the talents of all employees. The publication also named Cheryl Mongell, Verizon's market area president for New England, as one of 10 Employees of the Year.

The magazine presented the awards during its 13th annual recognition ceremony here yesterday. Honoree profiles appear in the publication's April issue.

"Companies like Verizon raise the bar for the rest of corporate America," said Jim Schneider, CAREERS & the disABLED editor. "It proves that people with disabilities are an asset to the workplace. Not only are they conscientious, hardworking and capable, but they also demonstrate to co-workers that people with disabilities are just like everyone else."

To select the private-sector employer of the year, the magazine examined its annual list of top 50 companies and evaluated each company on recruitment, hiring and advancement of people with disabilities. The magazine also asked readers to identify the companies they saw as superior in support of people with disabilities.

Verizon actively recruits diverse employees. It forms strategic partnerships with colleges, universities and advocacy groups, participates in job fairs and workshops, and places advertising in a variety of diverse publications.

Verizon has 10 employee resource groups, including the Disabilities Issues Awareness Leaders (DIAL), which promote personal and professional growth for employees with common interests. DIAL also helps educate the company about the issues and concerns of people with disabilities.

In addition, the company's two centers for customers with disabilities serve nearly 5 million customers in more than 25 states. Specially trained service representatives work with these customers to determine how Verizon products and services can be adapted for their needs, recommending solutions that involve telephone services, directory assistance exemptions, discounts for customers who use text telephones, and phone bills in large print or Braille.

The magazine reviewed hundreds of nominations to select Verizon's Cheryl Mongell and nine other candidates as Employees of the Year. Those selected were identified as making a positive impact on their communities and achieving personal and professional goals.

Mongell, who has multiple sclerosis and a daughter who is deaf, oversees a work force of nearly 5,000 employees and manages operations and service delivery to more than 6 million Verizon residential and business customers throughout New England. An active member of her community, Mongell has served on several boards and is currently program committee member for the Central New England Multiple Sclerosis Society. She also advocates for MOPIX captioning technology in local movie theaters. The technology allows people with hearing disabilities to enjoy captioned movies.

Verizon, with the support of its diverse work force, has earned numerous honors for its commitment to improving the lives and advancing the rights of people with disabilities, including the Disability Rights Advocates' 2004 Eagle Award and the American Association of People with Disabilities' 2003 Justice for All Award.

With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of more than 210,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom serves customers based in 29 states with wireline telecommunications services, including broadband and other services. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 43.8 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.