JobsPlus! Awards Inaugural Empowerment Champion Recognition to Loretto


Recipients are: April English-Palozzola (Team Leader) and Steve Vonderweidt (Director) of JobsPlus!, Dr. Kimberly Townsend (President and CEO), Colleen Engler (Chief Human Resources Officer) of Loretto

JobsPlus! is proud to announce Loretto as the inaugural recipient of the JobsPlus! Empowerment Champion recognition.  The title acknowledges an employment partner who demonstrates alignment with the mission of JobsPlus! through the consistent hiring, retention, and growth of its jobseekers.

Employment partners like Loretto engage JobsPlus! by sharing career opportunities as they arise, participate in employer cohorts and roundtables, and collaborate with us to inform and develop pathways to employment at their organization and within their industry. An Empowerment Champion has a clear framework for job quality for their employees with opportunities to learn and grow personally and professionally within the organization.

The team at Loretto, empowered by the vision of president and CEO Dr. Kimberly Townsend, has made a partnership with JobsPlus! and the hiring of its jobseekers’ integral to their staffing plan. In one measured three-year period, Loretto collaborated in an onboarding process resulting in an 88% placement rate (out of 467 referrals) for our jobseekers, resulting in a 76% reduction in those public assistance cases.

Loretto is single-handedly responsible for more than 750 hires over the life of our partnership, says Steve Vonderweidt, director of JobsPlus!. “Even more impressive is the investment they make in our jobseekers to train and upskill within their system.”

JobsPlus! jobseekers, once employed at Loretto, often receive opportunities for continuing education to obtain certification as home health aides (HHA), certified nurse assistants (CNA), and licensed practical nurses (LPN) – while still working and being paid. Loretto also provides mentoring and career coaching, flexible scheduling, and employee assistance.

“Loretto views their workforce as an asset to be valued and developed, and that’s what makes them stand out as an empowerment champion and valued employment partner,” remarks Vonderweidt. “However, it’s how they understand and embrace the individual employees’ needs that makes them worthy of this distinction. Even post-employment, they’ve engaged with us to resolve situations that arise with our jobseekers like daycare, homelessness, and transportation to ensure barriers are removed to retain employment.”

JobsPlus Empowerment Champion Award Plaque

“Loretto’s mission, ‘to be a family of exceptional people, caring for and about each other,’ has always extended beyond just those who utilize our services to encompass the extraordinary employees of the company,” said Dr. Kimberly Townsend, President and CEO of Loretto. “It is our philosophy of pragmatic altruism that continually motivates us to find solutions to problems that will truly benefit everyone involved – the Individual employee, Loretto as an organization, and our community as a whole. That’s the power of our partnership with JobsPlus!”

Of Loretto’s employees, 65% are single, women of color, and head of households living in highly impoverished neighborhoods.

Most recently, Loretto has partnered with JobsPlus! and other partner agencies to develop innovative solutions designed to increase the capacities of individuals who fell just below acceptable assessment results for employment. The program will lift individuals to the level of understanding and ability they need to, one day soon, deliver quality care alongside the exceptional staff at Loretto.

Dr. Townsend has written two books on her philosophy of pragmatic altruism and has been engaged by local, regional and national organizations to speak about Loretto’s success with this subject.