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Celebrating Dedication: The Arc’s Annual Celebration Service Honors Longstanding Employees

July 3, 2024

“I came here because I needed a job out of school, and I’ve stayed because I love the people so much!”

At The Arc Central Chesapeake Region, we believe in the power of our people, and recognize that our incredible employees are who make everything we do possible. On Thursday, June 20, The Arc celebrated the dedication and commitment of employees who have been with the organization for five or more years with Celebration Service.

This celebration is a testament to the loyalty and longevity of our employees. This year, The Arc celebrated 115 people reaching this career milestone, the sheer number of which speaks to The Arc’s supportive and fulfilling work environment as well as their passion for The Arc’s mission, vision, and work in the community.

Celebration Service took place at our Severn office and was done in true Maryland style – with a celebratory crab feast. Guests arrived to freshly steamed crabs and shrimp served by senior leadership, showcasing their appreciation and dedication. Employees also enjoyed a full BBQ buffet, DJ, drinks, games, ice cream truck, and raffles.

“We have a diverse group of incredibly passionate professionals,” said Jonathon Rondeau, President & CEO of The Arc. “The fact that so many people are here after five years is a testament to their commitment to The Arc’s mission and vision as well as the resources and opportunities we pour into our employees.

This year, 115 people were celebrated as honorees at Celebration Service, which roughly equals 20% of our total workforce enterprise-wide. Of the 115 people recognized, 86 hold a role as a Direct Support Professional, and 21% of DSPs have stayed employed with The Arc for five years or longer, well above the industry average. Annually at Celebration Service, underscoring our reputation as an employer of choice for people seeking long-term career opportunities.

“I started as a Direct Support Professional, providing services for my brother-in-law. I’m still here after 26 years because I enjoy seeing the growth people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) achieve every day while in The Arc’s services, as well as the astronomical growth the organization has achieved over these last seven years.”

Angie, Director of Executive Operations

What motivates employees to stay with The Arc long-term? Our collective commitment to The Arc’s mission of empowering people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is a powerful factor. Employees are deeply passionate about the work they do, knowing that their efforts directly impact people throughout the community and region. But it is also the culture, opportunity, and resources that makes The Arc a place where people want to stay and grow.

“I started with The Arc out of high school, working as an administrative assistant. I have honestly worked throughout the enterprise.  From corporate supports to Chesapeake Neighbors and even Finance. Now I’m the Director of 2Gen Initiatives and have loved the last 25 years I’ve spent with this organization.”

Jessica, Director of 2Gen Initiatives

The Arc prioritizes employee development and growth, offering ample opportunities for advancement and professional enrichment. Whether through specialized training programs, ongoing education assistance, or career advancement pathways, employees are continuously supported in their personal and professional development journey. This investment in employees’ growth not only fosters a sense of loyalty but also equips them with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in their roles and make a meaningful impact within the organization.

“They recognize our hard work and celebrate our successes, big and small. Not to mention, the benefits can’t be beat. I love how I don’t have to worry about the cost of healthcare since they have affordable premiums and pay for our deductible and haven’t raised the cost for the last three years.”

Edward Coker, Direct Support Professional

The Arc places a strong emphasis on cultivating a supportive and inclusive work culture characterized by trust, respect, and collaboration. Employees feel valued and appreciated for their contributions, fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie within the organization. This positive work environment promotes employee morale and engagement, making it more likely for employees to remain committed to The Arc for the long term.

Celebration Service is not just a moment to honor employees’ years of service; it is a celebration of The Arc’s vibrant and dedicated workforce, united by a shared commitment to serve the community. As employees gather to commemorate their achievements and milestones, they are reminded of the profound impact of their work and the invaluable role they play in the growth and success of The Arc’s work throughout the region. Through their unwavering dedication and steadfast commitment, they embody the spirit of The Arc and inspire others to join in its mission of inclusion, advocacy, and empowerment.

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