The Newport Restaurant Group announced today that it is helping to launch a national accreditation program for employee-owned companies called Certified Employee-Owned (Certified EO)

“This is a major milestone for the Newport Restaurant Group and for all employee-owned companies,” said Paul O’Reilly, President and Chief Executive Officer of Newport Restaurant Group. “We’re big believers in employee ownership and Certified EO will raise national awareness of this important idea. Job seekers, consumers, businesses, and local governments will now have a uniform and consistent method for identifying great employee-owned companies.”

Certified EO will officially launch on September 5th with 29 “founding member” employee-owned. Certified EO’s founding members operate in all 50 states and employ 47,000 Americans. “This is truly impressive group of companies,” said Thomas Dudley, CEO of Certified Employee-Owned, “they’re outstanding in their industries and they’re united by a deep commitment to their employees and their communities.”

Newport Restaurant Group originally became employee-owned in 1995 when some of the company’s original stockholders had expressed interest in selling their ownership. The Directors of the company saw employee ownership as both socially responsible and good for the company’s bottom line, so they chose to adopt an Employee Stock Ownership Plan and began to acquire stock in the company on behalf of the plan from those stockholders who wanted to sell. Since then, Newport Restaurant Group has enjoyed exciting growth, both regionally and financially, and its Employee Stock Ownership Plan is now the majority owner of the business.

“Employee ownership not only strengthens our business, but it ties us directly to the Rhode Island community,” said O’Reilly. “Our employee-owners care deeply about the local community and that is reflected in the fundraising and charity efforts we do to help our local partners like the Aquidneck Land Trust, Child & Family Services Rhode Island and the March of Dimes.”

Employee ownership is perhaps the best-kept secret in the American economy. Today there are over 6,000 employee-owned companies with combined revenue of over $200B and employment of nearly 2 million. Employee-owned companies strengthen communities, foster a financially savvy workforce, build wealth for working people, and increase the resiliency of the economy during recessions. Despite these major benefits, many Americans don’t know that employee-owned companies are so common and so successful.

Read more: Newport Restaurant Group partners with Certified EO to launch national accreditation program for employee-owned companies – What’sUpNewp