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Education Notes: Goodwill reinforces need to hire people with disabilities

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October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, people with disabilities have a jobless rate of more than 14.1 percent, compared with 7.1 percent among people without disabilities. To bring attention to this, Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth is displaying the “Goodwill Cube” around Fort Worth. The cube demonstrates to local residents exactly how many clothing donations it takes for Goodwill to provide jobs and job training for a disabled adult.

The cube was displayed the week of Oct. 14 at Ridgmar Mall. Future destinations for the cube will be promoted on the organization’s Facebook and Twitter pages, www.facebook.com/goodwillguyfw or @goodwillguyfw. For more than 111 years, Goodwill has helped people navigate the challenges they face in finding employment, including disabilities, lack of education or work experience and other factors. Goodwill staff members work with people to develop their job skills, including writing resumes, interviewing and job searching. Goodwill trains people to work in a variety of high-growth industries outside of the agency such as health care, construction, retail and financial services. “Eighty percent of the people who work at Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth have a disability of some kind. Our organization is growing because their professional expertise and positive contributions help Goodwill grow stronger,” said David Cox, Goodwill’s president and CEO. “People with disabilities are ready to be the productive employees that business needs to grow and thrive.”

Fort Worth mayor among UTA grads honored The University of Texas at Arlington honored seven alumni during the 48th Annual Distinguished Alumni Gala on Oct. 19. Honorees included Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from UT Arlington in 1972. Price served as Tarrant County Tax Assessor for 11 years before being elected mayor in 2011. An avid bicyclist, Price helped organize FitWorth, a citywide initiative to encourage active lifestyles and healthy habits in children and adults. She also has championed responsible and sustainable cuts to balance the city’s $1.2 billion budget and advocated changes to the pension plan to protect taxpayers and stabilize the fund. Other 2013 distinguished alumni honorees are: Herbert A. Beckwith (master’s degree, accounting, 1994), chief financial officer and senior vice president of international operations for Justin Brands Inc.; Arun Bhikshesvaran (master’s degree, electrical engineering, 1995), chief marketing officer for L.M. Ericsson Group; Barbara White Bryson (bachelor’s degree, architecture, 1984), associate vice president for facilities engineering and planning at Rice University; Keith L. Crandell (master’s degree, chemistry, 1987), co-founder and managing director of ARCH Venture Partners; JoAnn Lee (bachelor’s degree, political science, 1976), assistant general counsel, global litigation for ExxonMobil and a member of the Law Department Management Committee; and Jeffrey A. Leuschel (bachelor’s degree, political science, 1977), partner in the Dallas office of McCall, Parkhurst & Horton LLP.

Students named to youth leadership program Texas Trust Credit Union selected 16 students from among 56 applicants to participate in its Youth Advisory Council for the fall session. Students from five North Texas school districts and two private schools have been named to the council. The Youth Advisory Council was started in 2011 as a leadership development program focusing on personal finance. The program is designed to teach and equip high school students with basic financial skills to prepare them for college and beyond. Council members meet twice a month to learn about personal financial issues, service leadership, and marketing and career opportunities in the financial field. Members also participate in a community service project benefiting the Children’s Medical Center. Council members are: Arlington: Angel Murphy (Fellowship Academy), Giovanni Cesto (James W. Martin High School), Victoria Avila and Orion Koepke (Juan Seguin High School); Cedar Hill: Thaddaeus Bacon (Cedar Hill Collegiate High School), Ryan Cameron (Cedar Hill High School); DeSoto: Wendon Blair and Alessandra Wheeler (DeSoto High School); Fort Worth: Madeline Sullivan (Fort Worth Country Day School); Grand Prairie: Jacob Brunson and Isaac Molina (Dubiski Career High School), Colton Breitenbach (South Grand Prairie High School); and Mansfield: Ana Cruz and Mi Mi Nguyen (Mansfield Timberview High School), Justyn Cole (Mansfield Frontier High School), and Tyler Nelson (Mansfield Lake Ridge High School). The students will serve through December. “The council is an interactive educational program that teaches and equips students with skills they will use throughout their lifetime,” said Amber Danford, senior vice president of marketing. “The students also get to see how a financial institution operates, so they have a better understanding of how our financial system works.”

Japanese students visit Cowtown Thirty-six students and teachers from Fort Worth Sister City Nagaoka, Japan, are in town Oct. 19-27 on an annual international exchange initiative. Three local schools – McLean Middle School, Fort Worth Academy and Trinity Valley School – will host the Japanese visitors as partners in Fort Worth Sister Cities’ Ambassador Middle School program. The goal of the program is to prepare Fort Worth students to be globally fluent and give them the leadership skills to succeed in today’s connected world. At the same time, teachers get exposure to international cultures. The Japanese students will attend classes, participate in cultural activities and stay with host families from the participating schools. In partnership with the city of Fort Worth Library, the students will present a Japanese enrichment program for Fort Worth youth at the Shamblee Library.

bdillard@bizpress.net  

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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