Giving Back at Work

Giving Back at Work

Do you have a heart for serving others? You’ll be glad to know service opportunities don’t end after your FFA years are through. Many companies and organizations incorporate service as a core value for their business, so you’ll likely come across ways to serve in your future career.

Headquartered in Erlanger, Ky., Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America (TEMA) partners with philanthropic organizations across the country with a focus on education, safety and the environment. The highly successful automaker is engaged in a huge number of annual community service projects, including the March of Dimes March for Babies, River Sweep (an Ohio River cleanup project), and Prepare Affair, a program that helps elderly homeowners prepare their homes for winter.

“National Public Lands Day is a program Toyota sponsors nationally where all local operations plan a park or public lands cleanup day,” says Helen Carroll, manager of community relations for TEMA. “We’re also involved with One to One Reading. We have 15 team members who are now trained reading coaches for struggling readers in one of our local partner elementary schools.”

Toyota employs more than 37,000 people in the United States, and Carroll says they tend to be service-minded people.

“We have very engaged team members who are not only willing to volunteer their time in community efforts, but we have a number of folks who step up to lead those volunteer activities,” she says. “Our culture is one of ‘Give back.’ ”

Giving Back at Work

CSX Transportation in Jacksonville, Fla., also incorporates service as part of its corporate culture. CSX is a Fortune 500 railway company that employs 30,000 people and provides freight and intermodal transportation across 23 states.

“The company delivers around 20 major community service projects each year focusing on tree plantings, park renovations, environmental cleanups, and enhancements to schools, recreation centers and charities like the Boys and Girls Clubs,” says John Kitchens, corporate citizenship director for CSX Transportation. “We do our best to make service easy and fun. Service of this nature has become very popular, and we have waiting lists for some of our projects.”

In post-project evaluations for 2012, 92 percent of CSX employees indicated they would recommend the service experience to a friend.

“Our service is guided by a CSX core value to ‘Be a positive influence on communities and the environment,’ ” Kitchens says.

At TEMA, Carroll says Toyota began partnering with the National FFA Foundation because Toyota and FFA are like-minded.

“We both believe in service to others, specifically in our communities,” she says. “And because of the professional and leadership development FFA members experience, we see great potential for future employees from this talented and impressive group of students.”

Join the Cause
Want to find out if a potential employer focuses on corporate citizenship? Here are three easy ways to learn about their service efforts:

  1. Check the corporate website. Look into the company or organization’s values, which are usually listed on the corporate website. There might be also be details about their specific ways they give back and how employees are involved.
  2.  Seek social clues. Many companies post photos and updates about their employees’ efforts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and the company blog.
  3.  Ask them! During your job interview, ask the employer to share how they give back to the community. It’s a great question to ask, and it shows that you are focused on serving others in your own career.