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UAB named nation’s best employer by Forbes

Forbes this week named the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) as America’s best large employer, topping an impressive list of more than 500 public and private corporations, hospitals, universities and more.

Other companies with major Alabama presences named on the list included Lockheed Martin, Southern Company and Boeing.

To compile the rankings, Forbes partnered with market research firm Statista by surveying 50,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees. Participants were asked to rate their willingness to recommend their own employers to friends and family, and to nominate organizations other than their own.

“The University of Alabama at Birmingham is no ordinary institute of higher education. Not only are its 23,000 employees responsible for the education and well-being of more than 22,000 students, but many have also been tasked with caring for thousands of pandemic-stricken patients,” wrote Forbes of the extra significance of UAB’s honor amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

UAB is Alabama’s largest public employer and home to one of the region’s largest academic medical centers. The university has an annual economic impact exceeding $7 billion on the Yellowhammer State.

“We often say our people are what make UAB special,” stated UAB President Ray L. Watts on Thursday. “What makes Forbes’ recognition so meaningful is that it is based largely on whether our employees would recommend UAB to friends and family. Especially after such a challenging year, knowing that our people are proud to be part of the UAB family is eternally humbling and gratifying.”

“As UAB celebrates this distinction, I want to recognize everyone at UAB who works with dedication to our vital mission every day,” he continued. “I also thank the University of Alabama System and our Board of Trustees, whose vision, leadership and continued support have been critical to our growth into a place special enough to be called America’s No. 1 Best Large Employer by Forbes.

UAB Hospital, the centerpiece of the UAB Health System, is among the 20 largest hospitals in the United States. UAB Hospital and clinics saw more than a million patient visits last year.

“UAB has long been known for its extraordinary teams; but to receive this honor in 2021 is even more special knowing how our employees truly came together to overcome challenges, care for our community and state, and provide lifesaving care to patients across all specialties amid the pandemic — it is remarkable,” said UAB Medicine CEO Reid Jones. “In reflection of all we have been able to accomplish together, I am confident that this recognition is just the start of people seeing what truly makes UAB a phenomenal place to work and grow.”

UAB boasts many nationally ranked programs, with 16 graduate and professional programs in the schools of Health Professions, Nursing, Medicine, Engineering, Education, Business and Public Health and the College of Arts and Sciences all ranked in the 2020 U.S. News Best Graduate School Rankings. The Master’s in Health Administration program in the School of Health Professions received the No. 1 ranking as the best in the country.

With annual research expenditures exceeding a record $600 million, UAB continues to create new knowledge and solve critical worldwide issues.

“To be named America’s Best Large Employer by Forbes and among the company of other organizations on this list is a testament to the exceptional employees we have at UAB — a group of people who are dedicated to moving every pillar of our mission forward and living out our shared values,” commented UAB Provost Pam Benoit. “It cannot be overstated the adversities that employees across our campus faced in this pandemic year, and I celebrate this tremendous recognition with everyone in the UAB community.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn