Although Abel Personnel was not always a woman-owned business, women played key roles in the company from its early days.
Different Pay and Fee Scales for Men and Women
Abel acquired Hallmark Personnel, founded in 1962, after its establishment in 1969. Since then, there have been significant changes in equality in the workforce. Different pay and fee scales for men and women were evident from Hallmark's 1962 Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry's Staffing License. This document indicated that there were "women's jobs" and "men's jobs," and separate employment counselors for each. Men's wages ran from $25.00 to $200.00 per week, while women's wages started at $25.00 per week and maxed at $100.00 per week. Placement fees for women were lower than fees for men. This license still hangs in Abel's offices as a reminder of the progress made. Visitors often remark how unbelievable it is that these guidelines were in place not so long ago.
To Keep up with Staffing Trends, Abel Girl is Established
To keep up with staffing trends, Abel Personnel launched "Abel Girl" in 1977, with a nod to Kelly Girl which had been established in 1957, as a temporary placement division. At the time, Abel primarily did permanent placement staffing. This division was created to place employees in temporary roles which made them easy to locate and connect with when permanent opportunities became available. The late Ruth Kline was instrumental in building this division as she went door-to-door visiting downtown businesses in Harrisburg to find clients in need of temporary staff. Within two years, this was rebranded as Abel Temps, as the "girl" got a makeover with the times and became a woman and also as many candidates were men.
Talented Women were the Core of Abel’s Growth Over the Next Several Decades
Dorothy (Dottie) Abel became a full partner in the firm with husband Frank Abel upon the retirement of an original partner. Although she intended to assist for just a short time during this transition, she ended up staying in her role as a placement counselor until her retirement in 1987 after 18 years of helping take the business to new levels. Joan K. Lewis, a significant hire as Director of Temporary Staffing who became Vice President of Operations, and Barbara K. Isaacman, a Placement Counselor who was promoted to Vice President of Recruiting, were critical members of the Abel operation, growing and enhancing the young firm's reputation for service, competence, and dedication to their clients. Joan began her role with Abel in 1969 and retired 42 years later in 2011 after connecting thousands of candidates with jobs in the Central PA area. She has been described by those who worked with her as dynamic, caring, and thoughtful and helped elevate Abel's position in the staffing industry with her hard work and dedication. Barbara Isaacman joined the Abel team in 1979 and was featured on the Montell Williams show in 1998 after helping a woman who had recently left a domestic abuse situation find a rewarding position in Harrisburg. Barbara was a guest at Abel's holiday party every year, sharing her great stories about the many placements she had made over the years until her passing in 2018. To hear Babrara’s daughter-in-law speak about her, click here: www.abelpersonnel.com/abel-story-cindy-isaacman/
Women Continue to Help Propel the Company into the Future
Fast forward to the 1990s. Debby Abel (daughter of Frank and Dottie), joined the firm as Marketing Director. By 2000, Debby’s increasing stock ownership and assumption of day-to-day management of the company allowed application for the Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) designation. www.wbenc.org. WBENC was founded in 1997 to develop a nationwide standard for women-owned business certification. Since then, the organization has grown to become the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by women in the United States and a leading advocate for women-owned businesses in corporate and government supply chains. This proved very helpful to Abel’s clients who were seeking or holding government contracts.
The WBE designation goes beyond that benefit. Nearly the entire next generation management team of Abel Personnel are women, including the company's current leadership, President and CEO, Debby Abel Jasie Garlin, Director of Operations, Marion Adams, Director of Recruitment and Client Engagement, and Business Manager, Irene Partenheimer. Jasie, Marion, and Irene have each been with the company for more than 10 years and have been incredibly impactful in their respective roles. They are supported by a cadre of other women who are strong, intelligent, capable, problem solvers, out of the box thinkers, forthright…no shrinking violets. Each was handpicked by Debby for top qualities including strength, commitment, dedication to client service, and leadership potential.
In addition to the company’s internal staff, there are many notable women who have been excellent additions to Abel’s client teams. Of the top 20 tenured employees Abel has on assignment, 19 of them are women. Wendy S. and Debra K. have been in their positions since 2006 and are true assets to the companies they are assigned to.
The recruiting team at Abel Personnel is able to make these enduring placements by viewing each candidate as a whole person, not only their skills and work history, but their overall capabilities and potential. Likewise, they look at their employer clients as partners whose needs are not just those that check particular skill boxes, but for employees who meet their stated needs and enhance their organization. This has resulted in consistent placement success, whether or not the client had any interest in Abel’s WBE certification.
As a woman-owned business enterprise, Abel Personnel seeks to exemplify how diversity leads to excellence in the workplace. Abel is proud of this certification and to have a team of talented women who work hard every day to provide the best staffing services to clients and candidates. Abel Personnel understands the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and strives to create an environment that fosters these values.