Michael L.Thurmond



Employers Receive $100 Million Tax Cut
Commissioner Michael Thurmond announced recently that the majority of Georgia’s 200,000 employers will benefit from a $100 million unemployment insurance tax cut beginning in January 2007. This latest reduction in employer taxes brings the total employer tax savings to over $1.5 billion since 1999. According to Thurmond, “This tax cut will provide additional fuel for Georgia’s economy. These additional tax reductions will leave more money in the hands of Georgia employers, helping to protect existing jobs and increasing the likelihood that new jobs will be created.” Georgia has the second most solvent trust fund and the lowest unemployment insurance tax rates in the Southeast. Sound fiscal management of the state’s Unemployment Insurance Program is a key factor in maintaining solvency and low tax rates. The U.S. Department of Labor recently cited the program’s performance as “exemplary,” stating that “Georgia was the only state in the region to meet all 10 of the acceptable

OF THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR” levels of performance for the year ending March 31, 2006, and one of only 11 states do so nationally. “The cornerstone of our management strategy is to help Georgia’s unemployment insurance claimants get back to work as quickly as possible,” Thurmond said. As a result, Georgia has one of the lowest average claims durations in the nation. For the twelve months ending August 31, 2006, the average duration of Georgia claims was 11.2 weeks, while the national average was 15.2 weeks. By surpassing the national average by four weeks, the need for benefit payments was reduced by more than $172 million. In addition to reducing taxes, the department has increased the maximum weekly benefit to the Southeast median. Since 1999, the maximum weekly benefit in Georgia has increased from $244 per week to the present rate of $320 per week which represents a 31percent increase.

Vol. Five/Issue 2

On July 1, 2001, the Georgia Department of Human Resources’ division of Rehabilitation Services joined the Georgia Department of Labor family. This merger created an unprecedented opportunity for employers to access the largely untapped reservoir of citizens with disabilities who want to join America’s workforce. To celebrate the fifth anniversary of this historic union, the Georgia Workforce Conference and the Touch the Future Transition Conference will be held jointly this year. My hope is that this collaboration will facilitate much needed discussion regarding the importance of creating a more diverse workforce. More importantly, this gathering should serve as a catalyst that will inspire state and local leaders to address unmet challenges, and provide answers to unresolved problems that persons with disabilities and their families face on a daily basis.

Employment Opportunities for All
Pre-conference workshops will be held October 30-31.

During the last five years, the foundation has been laid for the development of a fully integrated Georgia employment security system. The combined conferences will highlight those efforts and herald the dawning of a new day for Georgians with disabilities.

Conference Encourages Workplace Diversity
According to the National Association on Disability, only 32 percent of Americans with disabilities aged 18 to 64 are working compared to 81 percent of those without disabilities in this age category. This disparity will be the focus of the Georgia Workforce/Touch the Future Transition Conference that will convene in Athens, Nov 13. Workshops, presenters and speakers will emphasize the importance of providing persons with disabilities a full range of support services and equal access to employment opportunities. For the first time, the two conferences will be held jointly and focus on a common theme: inclusiveness and universal access for all working age youths and adults. In its eighth year, the primary goal of the Georgia Workforce Conference is to strengthen the state’s employment security system by providing an environment where state and local workforce development professionals can share best practices, discuss strategies and solutions about common challenges and propose innovative approaches that prepare all GDOL customers for future achievements. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Touch the Future Assistive Technology and Transition Conference and Expo is sponsored by Touch the Future, Inc. The mission of this conference is to provide persons with disabilities with information that will allow them to live, learn and work independently. According to Thurmond, “The merger of the Georgia Department of Human Ralph Leonard is a GDOL Vocational Resources’ Rehabilitation Services Division with the Georgia Department of Labor in Rehabilitation Services customer and is 2001 was the catalyst for merging the two state conferences. The primary purpose of employed by Wal-Mart in Columbus. the combined conference will be to encourage cooperation between public and private sector advocates and the elimination of bureaucratic barriers that prohibit persons with disabilities from accessing existing resources and services.” Joy Kniskern, co-chair of the conference committee and manager of Assistive Technology programs for GDOL added, “This conference will bring everyone together on a level playing field. A world-class workforce will only happen when everyone is included as equal partners.” Conference planners and organizGeorgia Department of Labor ers are hopeful that this historic gatherPRSRT STD POSTAGE & FEES PAID 148 Andrew Young International Blvd., N.E. ing will encourage Georgia’s workforce GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Atlanta, Georgia 30303-1751 professionals to work more cooperaPERMIT NO. 7077 tively and have a broader understanding of the concept of workplace diversity. For GDOL, this conference will open a new chapter in ongoing efforts to ensure that there is a, “Job for Every Georgian and a Georgian for Every Job.” For more information about the conference, visit the department’s website at www.dol.state.ga.us, contact Faye Duzan at (404) 232-3875, ext.21271, or email gwcinfo@dol.state.ga.us.

So join us in Athens on Nov. 1-3 as we recognize those who contributed to the successful merger of two important state employment and training agencies. We will also rededicate ourselves to the proposition that, “It’s ability, not disability, that counts!”

I N Sthe D E I

The GDOL recently opened the R.S. “Bo” Marlow Career Transition Center to assist Ford workers in finding employment.. . . . . . . . . . . . PAGE 2

Job Transitions



Coffebreak with Brenda Blackshear

Find out about Blackshear’s JGG high school graduation rate success at Dougherty Comprehensive High School in Albany. . . . . . . . . PAGE 6

This year, 1,100 youths participated in the GDOL Summer Youth Work Experience Program . . . . . . . . . PAGE 7

An Experience for Youths

Page 2 – Vol. Five/Issue 2

The BEACON – Georgia Department of Labor

Janice Reaves
Editor, The Beacon

The Beacon Online

that enlighten and inform readers of GDOL’s programs and initiatives. By making the newsletter available online, more people in and outside of the state will have access to informative news regarding the Georgia Department of Labor.

In October 2000, the official newsletter of the Georgia Department of Labor, The Beacon, made its debut. GDOL employee Don E. Head, an auditor in the Quality Assurance unit, named the newsletter in a department-wide contest. Not many people realize that Head named the newsletter but that doesn’t faze him. He said, “It’s hard to believe that it has been six years since The Beacon was first published! I enjoy it for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it gives all GDOL employees an idea of what’s going on within the department. Second, it gives some deserving employees recognition for a job well done. I also enjoy the columns where individuals are highlighted and have a chance to share their stories.”

I appreciate all of you who write to tell me how much you enjoy The Beacon. I hope that the online version will give you even greater access to the Georgia Department of Labor and keep you informed of all it has to offer. Editor’s Note: I make every effort to keep The Beacon’s database current and up to date, but I need your help. If you would like to add someone to The Beacon’s mailing list, change an address or remove someone who no longer works for your company, please e-mail janice.reaves@dol.state.ga.us or drop me a note at the address listed below.
The Beacon, a quarterly publication, will consider for publication articles relating to or dealing with the Georgia Department of Labor. Please include name, address and a daytime phone number with article. Submissions must arrive before the 15th of each month to be considered for the next issue. Articles may be emailed to janice.reaves@dol.state.ga.us or faxed to (404) 656-2683. Editor reserves the right to edit all articles of submission. The Beacon is available in Braille and other alternate formats. Mail articles to: Georgia Department of Labor Suite 600 148 Andrew Young International Blvd., N.E. Atlanta, GA 30303-1751

On October 28, the Ford Motor Factory in Hapeville is scheduled to shutdown operations, leaving more than 2,000 workers without jobs and in search of new careers. To aid these workers, the Georgia Department of Labor opened the R.S. “Bo” Marlow Career Transition Center to assist workers in finding employment. The transition center is named for R.S. “Bo” Marlow, the late president of the United Auto Workers of America (UAW) Local 882. “The on-site transition center will enable the Georgia Department of Labor to serve the employment needs of the workers in a manner that is most convenient to them,” Thurmond said. “Our staff will help the nearly 2,000 Ford workers who are losing their jobs with a wide range of services to help them return to work as quickly as possible. Providing these services onsite before the layoffs occur will expedite their transition between jobs and careers.” Among the services being provided are transition assistance, outreach and recruitment, counseling, job search assistance, job development, job placement, basic skills training, basic education, workshops, classroom training, occupational skills training, customized training, on-the-job training and other support services. Unemployment insurance services are also available.

GDOL Dedicates Transition Center at Ford Motor Factory

In keeping with the Commissioner’s vision, I am pleased to announce that The Beacon is now accessible online by logging on to www.dol.state.ga.us and clicking “The Beacon” link in the right corner of the web page. As editor of The Beacon, I constantly strive to make the newsletter an informative vehicle for its readers. Stories are published

In the first edition, Commissioner Thurmond said, “This newsletter is another important step in ongoing efforts to improve internal and external communication for the department. It is important that all GDOL employees and customers are informed of the progressive changes taking place inside our department.”

Commissioner Thurmond (right) recognizes Jill Marlow, widow of R.S. “Bo” Marlow. The transition center was named after Marlow, who was president of UAW Local 882, until his death last year.

Georgia JobTV Gets New Look
Georgia JobTV, the second generation, is now being seen on television sets across the state. The greatly improved programming was launched April 10. The new JobTV allows the GDOL to incorporate features not available over the original system. Perhaps the most noticeable is that JobTV now includes interesting and informative video announcements and stories about job development and services of the Georgia Department of Labor. The new technology allows the GDOL to create and use attractive, eye-catching graphics comparable to those used by other broadcasting and marketing outlets. The graphics, which are often work-related tips for job seekers and employers, are usually accompanied by narration, making JobTV more accessible for use by persons with impaired vision or limited reading skills. And of course, JobTV incorporates the 160 job openings that have been the staple of its programming since it debuted in 1995. Each job opening provides the job title, location, salary, education, experience requirements, and the job reference number. The selection of job openings is designed for the specific area being served by the television station or cable system over which JobTV is being seen. Viewers who are interested in a job listed on JobTV are instructed to visit one of the GDOL’s 53 Career Centers, or go online to www.dol.state.ga.us, to obtain additional information and, if qualified, be referred to the employer for an interview. Employers who wish to have their job openings telecast need only list them with the GDOL and request that they be shown on JobTV. This is one of the best ways for employers to get their job openings before a potential audience of thousands. JobTV is another example of the GDOL’s use of technology to better serve the people of Georgia. It proJanice Reaves, Editor vides those who don’t have Internet John Ard, Staff writer access the opportunity to search Matia Storey Edwards, Staff writer through job openings listed with the Annie Hughley, Staff writer GDOL from the convenience of their Carolyn Kowalski, Staff writer homes. In this case, the state-of-the art Quentin Miller, Staff writer technology used to distribute JobTV Nicole Mangham, Layout Designer, Graphic Artist was developed by FrameRate, Inc., a national leader in multi-media delivery Official Newsletter of the services based in Salt Lake City, UT. JobTV is now telecast in many communities throughout the state. Among the larger communities are Albany, Americus, Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Cordele, Douglasville, Ft. Valley, Irwinton, Jesup, Wayne County, Macon, Savannah, Thomasville, Tifton, Valdosta and Waycross. Now that the new JobTV system is up-and-running, the GDOL is working to expand into areas of the state never before served. Who knows, if your area is not already served by JobTV, maybe it will be soon.

Tune in to your local community broadcast station for JobTV.
City Albany Americus Athens Augusta Austell Camilla Columbus Cordele Douglas Jesup Macon Marine Corps Logistics Base Martinez Moultrie Savannah Screvens Thomasville Tifton Valdosta Villa Rica Waycross Winder Winterville Channel Mediacomm Ch. 16 Mediacomm Ch. 16 Charter Cable Ch. 7 Knology Cable Ch. 6 Comcast Cable Ch. 23 CNS Cable Ch. 6 Charter Cable Ch. 3 WSST TV-55 Charter Cable WDTV-13 Comcast Cable Ch. 3 or 16 Cox Cable Ch. 14 Mediacomm Ch. 16 Knology Cable Ch. 6 CNS Cable Ch. 6 Comcast Cable Ch. 8 Comcast Cable Ch. 3 CNS Cable Ch. 6 City Net Cable Ch. 17 Mediacomm Ch. 96 Comcast Cable Ch. 23 Waycross Cable Ch. 42 Comcast Cable Ch. 12 Charter Cable Ch. 7



Georgia Department of Labor

This is only a partial listing of JobTV affiliates. Check your local cable listing for Georgia JobTV.

The BEACON – Georgia Department of Labor

Job Well Done
The Athens Area Employer Committee and the Athens Career Center of the Georgia Department of Labor, in partnership with Cedar Shoals High School, sponsored a Summer Leadership Academy. The purpose of the Summer Leadership Academy was to engage high school students in seminars on leadership qualities and skills with the overall goal of providing a positive means for achieving success, as well as increasing the students’ chances of completing high school.

building a world-class workforce
Vol. Five/Issue 2 - Page 3


the Eastman Career Center, Janet Hutcheson, employment and training consultant presented an informative presentation on the Georgia Works initiative. As a result of the presentation, the Eastman Career Center received additional Georgia Works job orders.

Congratulations to Vatisha Prophet, Customer Service Award winner and Victor Black, Team Player Award winner. They each received their own parking space and a $50 gift certificate from the Middle Georgia Employer Committee. Pictured with the winners are Royce Hopkins, district director, Al Elvins, chair of the Middle Georgia Employer Committee, Mo Wilson, Macon Career Center manager, Fran Jones, Cathy Hagins and Diana Billups, unit supervisors, and Olivia Jackson, Macon Career Center assistant manager.


Janet Hutcheson, employment and training consultant, presents information on Georgia Works.

Pictured: Participants in the Summer Leadership Academy from Cedar Shoals High School

The Augusta Career Center celebrates Customer Service Month by providing customer service information and training to staff during Friday’s staff meetings. All GDOL staff and partners joined together to celebrate and show appreciation to their customers.


Carson Barnett of Elberton was recently awarded a $500 scholarship by the Elberton/ Broad River Area Employer Committee. Carson is attending Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton and is enrolled in the Pre-Dentistry program. Carson is the son of John and Cynthia Barnett of Elberton.


Vatisha Prophet poses with her Customer Service Award.

Shown (L-R) Charles Jennings, employment marketing representative, Wayne Beaty, Career Center manager, and Greg Criste, employment marketing representative.

The Cairo-Grady County Employer Committee sponsored a management seminar on labor and employment law for area employers. The seminar was presented by David Whitlock, a partner with Fisher and Phillips, LLP who special, izes in the area of immigration and nationality law.


Kudos to the LaFayette Career Center for their collaboration with the Atlanta TAA/TRA offices and the local Workforce Investment Area which resulted in the transitioning of laid off factory workers to medical jobs. Johnnie Lewis, Career Center manager with the Georgia Department of Labor was instrumental in helping the workers to see the options they had in front of them, making their career change possible.


Victor Black poses with his Team Player Award.

The Walton County Employer Committee held a seminar at Great Oaks in Monroe entitled Immigration Reform Changes Your World. The seminar was presented by David C. Whitlock of Fisher and Price LLP Attorneys at Law. There , were 48 employers in attendance.


Every week 323 babies in Georgia are born too soon and the rate of premature births in the U.S. is escalating. The LaGrange Career Center decided to do something to help by participating in three events – Blue Jeans for Babies Month, pledge walk, and a sweets sale. The money raised from these events made a sizeable contribution available to help fight premature births.


Employers attend an immigration seminar presented by the Walton County Employer Committee. Pictured: David Whitlock lectures to employers on immigration law. Left to right – Kimberly Hollis, Angela Brewer-Laye, Cliff Meeks, Cookie Leverston, Bonnie Barber, Jamie Ortiz, Gary Smith, Sherry Rayfield, Gary Massey, Cynthia Pugh, and Tracy Bernett Rome.

During the August 15, 2006 Magnolia Midlands Employer Committee breakfast held at


The Thomasville Career Center, local Workforce Investment Area members and Vocational Rehabilitation staff attended customer service training at the Thomasville Career Center. Dr. Nolia Brandt discussed good and bad customer service, as well as how to deal with dissatisfied customers and 10 steps for great customer service.


Page 4 – Vol. Five/Issue 2

The BEACON – Georgia Department of Labor

Job Well Done (continued)
Local Veterans Employment Representatives of the Year: Walter A. Pollock, Columbus Career Center and Lee Massey, Gwinnett Career Center; Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialists of the Year: Ben J. Seger, Columbus Career Center and Jack Baker, Augusta Career Center; Exceptional Service to Georgia’s Veterans: William Goodwin, Savannah Career Center, Patricia Sharpe, South Metro Career Center, Riley Watkins and Canute Tinnie, Gwinnett Career Center, Nathaniel Olaniran, South Metro Career Center; Dedicated Service to Georgia’s Incarcerated Veterans: Willie Lester and Fisher Ellington, state service officers, Athens Post Number 2. Congratulations!

Veterans’ Awards

Dr. Nolia Brandt discusses good and bad customer service to GDOL staff members. The Thomasville Career Center and WIA Staff were treated to lunch and a plant tour by Caterpillar, Inc. The Thomasville plant, which is hiring through the Career Center for another line, is a valuable partner, and staff members enjoyed the delicious meal, and informative tour!

Lt. Rachelle Denmark of the Thomasville Police Department.

Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation

Lt. Denmark with Cindy Wooten, DOL services specialist.

International wheelchair basketball returned to the GDOL’s Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation (RWSIR) as the Joseph F. Lyttle World Basketball Challenge (WBC), re-named in honor of former RWSIR recreation director Lyttle. It’s the fourth time RWSIR has hosted the WBC, the latest in a series of Roosevelt Cup events, and the first under its new name, a fitting tribute to the late recreation and disabilities advocate who died in Dec. 2004. Lyttle, a multi-decorated Army veteran of the Vietnam War, including two Purple Hearts, joined the staff at Roosevelt Warm Springs in 1980 and until his retirement in 2002.

Pictured (L-R): Front Row: Laura Craig/ Volt Services, Kathy Lundy, Cassandra Williams, Joan Reaves, Veronica Blackwell, Cindy Wooten. Back Row: Tammy Barber/Caterpillar, Treva Johnson, Mike Edwards, Theresa Austin, Laneika Thomas, Keyondria Conner, Tina Cooney, Juanita Sherrill, Angie Chastian/Caterpillar The Thomasville Career Center, WIA, and Vocational Rehabilitation staff attended a workplace safety seminar presented by Lt. Rachelle Denmark of the Thomasville Police Department. Lt. Denmark spoke on signs to look for, steps to take, and resources available in dealing with workplace safety issues.

The Tift-area Employer Committee, Tifton Career Center, Tift County Chamber of Commerce, City of Tifton and Tift County joined together to sponsor their Second Annual Career Expo/Job Fair. The event occurred on October 5 at the Tift County Recreation Department. Three hundred businesses participated in last year’s event, and many applicants were hired on the spot. Potential employees were encouraged to dress to impress.


The Valdosta Career Center recently observed Customer Appreciation Day. Customers were given calendar/planners donated by Moody Air Force Base and refrigerator magnets with local Georgia Department of Labor contact information by the Career Center.


Welcoming Team USA

This year marks the 14th class of the Georgia Department of Labor’s EXCEL (Executive Commitment to Excellence in Leadership) program. This program was designed to cultivate creative, change-oriented leaders and managers who often make significant contributions to the agency and community as a result of EXCEL. The program enhances the GDOL’s ability to meet the challenges of the future by developing agency leaders who are committed to challenges facing the state and the nation.

Front Row (L - R): Rebecca Sills, V.R. Administration, James Williams, Macon Career Center, Helen Kim, Workforce Information & Analysis, Janice Burley-Black, North Metro Career Center, Alice Gardner, VR Region 3A, Gwen Roussel, Macon Career Center Second Row (L - R): Roni Bell, South Metro Career Center, Harold Smith, Special Accounting, James Hance, Vidalia Career Center, Rudene Mosley, Employer Accounts, Angel Brutus, VR Region 3A, Angela Williams, VR Region 5, Linda Bennett, VR Region 5, Phyllis Roberts, Information Technology, Ashley Howard, Staff Development / Program Sponsor

Third Row (L - R): Toronda Williams, Staff Development, Tedra Adams, Milledgeville Career Center, Nancy Goodwin, D.A.S. Stone Mountain, Cathy Chafin, D.A.S. Savannah, Rick Caracciolo, VR Region 4, Andrea Godette, Cobb/Cherokee Career Center, Tim Alexander, North Metro Career Center

Fourth Row (L - R): Sherri Lundy, Commissioner’s Office, Lee Davis, VR Region 12, April Neal, Human Resources, Pam Peterson, D.A.S. Stone Mountain, Kyna Demons, Unemployment Insurance, Dion Reid, Clayton Career Center, Rashaud Smith, Macon Career Center

The BEACON – Georgia Department of Labor

Rehabilitation Services

Vol. Five/Issue 2 - Page 5

Happy Birthday, Miss Sadie!
Each day for 27 years, Sadie White has gone to work at Georgia Industries for the Blind (GIB) in Bainbridge, GA, where she consistently exceeds production requirements. Even though she has very limited hearing and even less sight, Sadie plans to continue working until she just can’t work anymore. She says, “They are not going to run me off from here.” What makes this story so remarkable is that on August 10, Sadie turned 90 years young! “Miss Sadie,” as she is called by her co-workers, is a binder assembler in the paper products division, and she is an inspiration to everyone in her department. Sadie was born in Ashburn, GA in 1916, and lived there until her early 20s. In reflecting on her younger years, she says it was her grandfather who made the greatest impression on her. Sadie remembers square By Betty Genovar, Kevin Kelley, and Karen Cook dances in his living room during cane grinding and hog killing times. She says she was good at doing the Charleston dance. One of her fondest memories of her grandfather is the cane syrup candy he made with different kinds of nuts. “That was the best stuff I can ever remember eating as a child with my grandfather.” Sadie began to lose her sight in her early teenage years. Today, she is nearly blind, but highly motivated which keeps her in an active lifestyle, which includes knitting, sewing, crocheting, growing flowers and fresh vegetables. Around the age of 29, Sadie moved to Jacksonville, FL where she ran a wrapping machine for the Tinder Box Company. After 25 years, she retired from that job and moved to Sarasota, FL. She broke her hip in 1974 and spent five years in a nursing home in Sylvester, GA. A special friend, Al Weaver, helped get her out of the nursing home to work for GIB in 1979. Sadie was 62 years old at the time. Since she has been employed at GIB, she has received several perfect attendance certificates over the years and was Employee of the Month in September 2002. She also tries to keep her supervisor aware of any quality problems she finds in her work. Sadie worked for years, pinching pennies and going without a lot of things so she could build a house. She paid for a three bedroom brick house on her own, and is proud that she owns it free and clear. When asked what she would like for her 90th birthday Sadie said, “I would like to have a bulldog puppy named Freddie, a sewing machine, and a million dollars.” She also wants her birthday notice

Miss Sadie celebrates her 90th birthday. put in her hometown newspaper, The Wiregrass Farmer, in Ashburn, GA. “Miss Sadie is a valuable member of the GDOL family and an exemplary role model for all of us in today’s workforce,” Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said. “We can always count on her being at work and doing her job well. She is a wonderful example of why employers should recognize the value and dedication of older workers and workers with disabilities. We’re proud to have Ms. Sadie as a colleague and wish her many more happy birthdays.” If you would like to send birthday greetings to Ms. Sadie, you may send them to the following: Ms. Sadie White 1224 Avenue B Bainbridge, Georgia 39819

Miss Sadie at work as a binder assembler in the Bainbridge GIB plant.

October is National Disability Awareness Month
By Carolyn Kowalski Employment is a highly-regarded goal for most Americans — whether or not they have disabilities. Employment is the single most important factor that allows most Americans to achieve economic power, dignity and independence — whether or not they have disabilities. Employment is within easy reach of most Americans — unless they happen to have disabilities, and then it is too often out of reach. Recent research and surveys from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) indicate that the most prevalent employer concerns are finding and keeping qualified employees, finding employees with the right work ethic, and managing costs and benefits. With such significant challenges, it might be obvious that one way to meet them is for employers to recruit and retain workers from a pool of qualified people with disabilities. Yet ODEP also reports that people with disabilities have disproportionately high unemployment rates as compared to non-disabled individuals; some estimates reach 70 percent. Helping society become more aware that people with disabilities are ready, willing and able to join today’s workforce is the preeminent goal of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The 2006 theme, “Americans with Disabilities: Ready for the Global Workforce,” reflects the fact that increasing the opportunities for Americans with disabilities in the workforce can produce positive results for employers. In 1945, Congress designated the first week of October each year to draw attention to employing people with physical disabilities. In 1988, the week was extended to the entire month and the official name was adopted. Implicit in those changes is the message that it’s ability, not disability that counts…. it’s ability, not disability that matters. Today people with disabilities are better educated, more creative, more empowered, and more likely to achieve their full potential than ever before. According to the National Association on Disability, they typically have equal or higher job performance ratings, higher retention rates, and lower absenteeism, and they are dedicated to their jobs and are loyal to the employers who hire them. Perhaps more than any other group of people, individuals with disabilities have the ability to adapt to different situations and circumstances. They tend to be natural problem solvers because of the daily creativity they need to manage their own disabilities. As employees, they add to the range of viewpoints businesses need to succeed, offering fresh ideas on how to solve problems, accomplish tasks and implement strategies. This October, and throughout the year, it’s appropriate to recognize not only the people with disabilities who have achieved meaningful employment, but also the employers who hired them and the vocational rehabilitation professionals who helped prepare them for the workforce. So, thanks for a job well done. It would be beneficial for employers and workforce professionals alike to help fulfill the promises of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency.

Please check us out online at www.dol.state.ga.us.

Page 6 – Vol. Five/Issue 2

The BEACON – Georgia Department of Labor

Coffee Break
Brenda Blackshear
Brenda Blackshear is a job placement specialist with the Georgia Department of Labor’s Jobs for Georgia Graduates Program. She is housed at Dougherty Comprehensive High School in Albany, GA and has racked up impressive results. We wanted to learn more. Brenda, how long have you been a job placement specialist and what attracted you to this job? A friend told me about this job and said it was made for me. She said I would benefit from it and everyone else would benefit from me having it. I applied and was hired for the position. As of August 8, I have been a job placement specialist for nine years.

World-class Customer Service
C. MacDonald Worley, Jr., D.M.D.. M.D.
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon

Oral Surgery & Dental Implants


“Linneweber, Tom” Pat Bailey 8/4/06 PMG Indiana Employment Activities in Monroe, GA

Georgia Department of Labor Safety Engineering Division Attn: Jeannine Konieczny 1700 Century Circle Atlanta, GA 30345 Dear Ms. Konieczny,

er lumm vid P s, Da odall os ary M a Wo L-R, M and Agath

Dear Ms. Bailey

Please accept my heartfelt “Thank You!” for your department’s assistance in filling our employment needs. You, Susan Yearwood, and other members of the Monroe Career Center (and other sites) have worked diligently to screen and offer several candidates for our consideration. Presently, two persons have been hired to assist us in continuing a strong, respectful relationship with UNISIA. We learned today that UNISA has reduced their orders in response to a reduction in part requirements from Ford. We do not know how long to expect reduced order quantities but anticipate keeping both employees on our payroll for the immediate future.

I would like this letter to express my deep thanks and admiration of your staff. In March, 2006, we were down to the wire of moving into our new building. We were told that we would not be able to move due to our new office building not having an elevator. This was an extremely stressful moment in our office as we had movers scheduled and inspectors working to get our Certificate of Occupancy ready for a specific day. When talking to my contractors I was told that there was nothing I could do, because the GA DOL was the one we were waiting on at this time. On my own, I took a leap of faith and called your office. The first time I called I spoke with Mary. She was extremely professional and very helpful. She went out of her way to help me in my time of need. On the second day, I spoke with Agatha. She was just as helpful, and after explaining my plight, was very empathetic. Both women helped me to get in touch with David Plummer. Mr. Plummer was extremely helpful getting our inspection in a timely manner and helping us move into our building. Ms. Konieczny, I worked in a government position as a manager for over 5 years, and I know it is frustrating and extremely demanding. Having employees on your staff that go that little extra step to help are very difficult to find. They also get overlooked from time to time in this busy world we live in. I wanted to make sure, although very overdue, that I send you a note to let you know how much we appreciated their efforts. Thank you so much, Mary Ann Prewett Business Manager Editor’s Note: The Star Award is presented each issue to GDOL staff who provide exceptional service.

It appears unlikely that we will hire a third person, but will continue to assess our needs. I will contact you when we have a better understanding of the future hiring needs and length of service for our current employees. Again, your team did its job . . . “and then some!” Best Regards,

In 2005, you had a 100% fulltime job placement rate. What is your secret? The school I was placed in was already a comprehensive high school with strong vocational development. During the in school phase, I would tell my students daily that the world owed them nothing, but they owed the world everything. I would help them do job searches. I would do job development. It was a case of true nurturing as well as skill development.

Tom Linneweber Director of Human Resources PMG Indiana Corporation Columbus, IN 47201

ood Yearw Susan

Likewise, 88.9% of the students you worked with were accepted to college. How did you accomplish this? The students already had college in mind, but I would continually ask them “Who are you?” “Where are you going?” and “How are you going to get there?” I would help them plan what they needed to do, how they needed to apply for scholarships, and other steps they needed to take. Your students maintained a 97.83% high school graduation rate. Are there any secrets to motivating students? My students know that I check on them constantly. They call me “Momma Bee” because they say that I will sting them. I call them at home, go to their games, see what they are doing. I don’t stop at the classroom door. I am a mom, and I know that each child has different needs and needs different things. I try to maintain a one-on-one relationship. You received the 2006 Golden Apple Award. What is that and what does it mean? The Golden Apple Award is an award a high school senior gives to the person who has made the greatest impact on his/her life. I was proud to receive it and feel it was quite an honor.

John C. Whitley III, Ph.D., P.C.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Mr. Michael L. Thurmond, Commissioner Georgia Department of Labor Suite 600 148 Andrew Young International Blvd., N.E. Atlanta, Georgia 30303-1751 RE: Rick Lockamy, GCDF Veterans Representative Brunswick Career Center

Families First Child Evaluation Centers & Anger Management Center www.johncwhitley.com

Dear Mr. Thurmond, Mr. Lockamy has been assisting me to locate a job for a number of weeks now. I find him punctual, courteous and intelligent. He offers me encouragement and good choices along with excellent and intelligent advice. He always answers my calls immediately and keeps his appointments, being on time, even meeting with me after hours when the need arises. It is people like him that make our systems work. I have a tremendous respect for him and for our system. When anybody comes to him to obtain help finding a job, they feel that Rick is doing the best that can be done and indeed he is. Additionally, after all of the applications are placed, he calls you if new opportunities arise. This is really wanting to keep people on the job. It is very encouraging. Mr. Thurmond, I just moved here from Puerto Rico and did not know how good your Labor Department was and wanted to let you know. Sincerely yours,

Georgia Department of Labor Disability Adjudication Services 1551 Julliette Road Stone mountain, GA 30083 To: Ms. Mickey Albert RE: Gaynell Nicholas I just wanted to let you know of the deep appreciation that myself and staff have for Gaynell. She goes above and beyond what anyone has ever done for us. When we call Gaynell, she helps us fix a problem, obtain authorizations we did not receive or she answers any other questions we may have. She has helped us obtain referrals when we asked for them. I know we are unable to nominate Gaynell for any awards in your facility, but I feel sure that she would well qualify and win, hands down, any support staff award that you may offer. Gaynell has always been extremely prompt with any paperwork we have requested. She is very professional in her duties and often goes beyond her job description to assist us. Gaynell will call the office to see if we have any problems or needs. She is very courteous and professional when she presents herself. We have worked with Gaynell for several years and I look forward to several more productive years. Sincerely, John C. Whitley III, Ph.D.
s ichola ell N Gayn

amy Lock Rick

Is there one achievement of which you are most proud? I am proud of all my students and their achievements, but one student comes to mind. This student had no financial resources and had her heart set on going to Benedict College. I knew she could go to a local college, but she wanted Benedict. We worked before school, after school, and during any free time we had on getting her into Benedict. She was never late to our sessions. I am proud to say that we sent her off to Benedict on August 5.

From: To: Subject:

“Terry Hooper” Michael Thurmond Positive Feedback

From: To: Subject:

“Lilly Croft” Michael Thurmond Positive Feedback

Dear Mr. Thurmond:

I will always recall December 2005 as a very unsettling time, when my employment terminated in a field where I have worked for 20 years, in a sudden and negative manner. So, it was refreshing, in a time many people have lost faith in governmental bureaucracy, to encounter your seasoned DOL services specialist, Judy Holcomb, in LaFayette. While Ms. Holcomb is efficient, she is professional in a way that shows appropriate human concern. That meant a lot to me. Her assistance in helping me to modify my resume was especially kind. I am relieved to know that, for others who find themselves unemployed as I did, you have competent persons on your staff like Judy Holcomb. Sincerely,

Dear Mr. Thurmond:

After losing my job in February, I felt sad and embarrassed. The job I was terminated from was a job I’m more than qualified to handle. A part of me wanted to throw myself a big pity party and cry, cry, cry! But the people at the Department of Labor in Cedartown wouldn’t let me do such a thing. They helped me with my job search and helped me create an impressive resume. To have people like that working for you must make you proud. They are such quality people. They seem as though they love their jobs, and truly want to help. Being the head of this division, you must be part of the reason why. So thank you. You helped me without ever meeting me! (Staff of the career center includes: Front row, L-R: Jim Price, Tammy Reyes, Mark Ezzel, Lisa Clark, Patsy Grubbs Back row, L-R: Cynthia Shepard, Cindy Davis, Marilyn Mobbs, Lisa Ives, Charles Trippe) God bless you, Lilly Croft

- By Annie Hughley

Terry Hooper

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The BEACON – Georgia Department of Labor

Vol. Five/Issue 2– Page 7

Workforce Investment Act

GDOL Summer Youth Work Experience Program: An Experience of a Lifetime
By Matia Storey Edwards A strong advocate for Georgia’s youth, Commissioner Thurmond is continuously seeking new methods to reach youths by keeping them opportunity-bound, safe and informed. This passion for youths led him to spearhead, in partnership with Georgia’s 20 local Workforce Investment Boards, the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) Summer Youth Work Experience Program. “Youths are integral to our ability to thrive as knowledgeable, skill-oriented and hardworking workforce professionals,” Commissioner Thurmond says. “We must provide channels for our youths to make contributions as valuable to the workplace as we do as adults.” Initiated in 2003 to give teens and young adults experience and training in the workforce during their summer vacation, Commissioner Thurmond allocated $1.3 million in funding to create the statewide work program for youths in rural and urban communities. Energized by the effort, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) offices eagerly developed jobs in the public and private sectors to meet the needs of Georgia’s youth. This year, local WIA areas enrolled 1,100 youths across the state in the program. Youths were selected based on one or a combination of the following criteria. Participants had to be 14 to 21 years old. Preference was given to participants from low-income families. However, local areas are allowed to place up to 10 percent of non-WIA eligible applicants. Preference was also given to participants enrolled in the GDOL High School/High Tech program. During the 1980s and 1990s, the federal Job Training Partnership Act allocated funds each summer to create jobs for young people nationwide. Prior to that, the Comprehensive Employment Training Act (CETA) also provided funds for summer youth work experience. However, this separate and specific funding stream was discontinued under the current Workforce Investment Act of 1998, which replaced JTPA. Although WIA funds are allocated for year-round youth programs, which should be designed to include a summer youth work experience component, limited funding for youth programs allows only a small number of students to enroll and receive services each program year. Participant reports reveal that youth participants worked in a multitude of settings, which allowed them to develop new skills and hone existing ones. The most popular job sites involved performing clerical support, working as parks and recreation aides, janitorial/maintenance assistants, summer camp counselors and day care aides. The summer job openings provide benefits for the participating employers and the young people on the rise to professional growth and development. Students benefit by gaining the tools and opportunities they need to succeed in the workforce and employers benefit by investing in the workforce of the future. When this happens, a young person’s life is changed. And with that comes affirmation for the success and value of the GDOL Summer Youth Work Experience Program.

John McDonald, (R), a student at Etowah High School in Woodstock, GA assists Beth Zaccari, registered veterinary technician at Bells Ferry Veterinary Hospital, during his participation in GDOL’s Youth Work Experience Program.

Every Internship is an Opportunity to Learn
By Kristi Singletary dents can go to learn, build self-esteem and acquire skills in a nurIn the past when I heard the words “Georgia Department of turing environment. It is wonderful to know that there is a place Labor (GDOL)” I thought its sole purpose was to find jobs for like Warm Springs. I will never forget my visit there because it is people. I believed this until I was chosen as a summer intern with a model of how all (rehabilitation) places should be. Lastly, I GDOL. Yes, finding jobs for people is an important part of what visited a Tools for Life Town Hall meeting which helps people get the agency does, but I learned that it does much, much more, and access to assistive technology, and can make the difference it is this level of commitment to the community that makes the between people with disabilities working or not being able to agency so important. obtain employment. I was placed with the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) arm of Another aspect of my internship that I enjoyed was the GDOL. I did not know what to expect, and I had many questions. Internship Leadership Conference at Stone Mountain Park. At the What does VR do? Who are the clients? My supervisor, Lyiouse conference, I was able to meet other interns and find out about Magee, made it possible for me to spend time with staff in the their experiences. Being able to compare different situations administrative unit to learn what they do. The key thing I learned allowed me to see that every office has its own challenges, is that passion makes the profession. To effectively do your part in strengths and personality. The workshops and speakers at the any work situation, you must love what you do. GDOL is successful because it helps people to focus on their abilities, not their Kristi Singletary is a junior at conference were very motivating. The fact that each session disabilities. Vanderbilt University in Nashville, encouraged active participation amongst participants made them As I stated in my application essay, “every internship is an TN majoring in communications very effective. I think the Internship Leadership Conference is a very important aspect of the internship that illustrates the imporopportunity to learn – from supervisors, mentors, co-workers and sociology. tance of skill-building, professionalism and networking. and even other interns.” Each person within a professional enviAs I end my internship, I have acquired the answers to many ronment has something to offer and to show an intern. My expequestions and gained a more complete knowledge of what GDOL can do for riences with Rehabilitation Services taught me that this is true. people who may have thought that they would never find a niche in the working In addition to working in the VR state administrative office, I was able to visit community. I now know that the value of the Georgia Department of Labor goes other VR sites, including the Gwinnett County One Stop Center which houses far beyond job fairs. The programs of Rehabilitation Services help to bring people both a career center and a vocational rehabilitation unit, as well as the Georgia that are normally thought to be unable to achieve into the forefront of our comIndustries for the Blind (GIB) which provides employment for sight impaired indimunities. viduals. At GIB, the employees mastered skills that many sighted individuals could From this experience I realize that GDOLs’ Vocational Rehabilitation is also not accomplish. I saw first hand how important it is for all people with the desire about self-discovery, priceless skill-building and helping all to realize that we have to find jobs. the ability to do something. I also visited Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation, where stu-

Page 8 – Vol. Five/Issue 2

The BEACON – Georgia Department of Labor


Greg Schmieg


Greg Schmieg accepted the position as executive director of Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation (RWSIR) before he ever saw the sprawling campus nestled in the place where injured Indian warriors used the healing waters to recuperate. When he finally saw Roosevelt Hall and walked the treelined quadrangle, he was overwhelmed and humbled by the sense of history. Today when he crisscrosses campus, he knows he made the right decision, but now he’s overwhelmed and humbled by the impact he knows RWSIR makes in the lives of so many.

Employment Opportunities for All
Pre-conference workshops will be held October 30-31.

Festival of Charities
“Building Better Communities Together – By Sharing” is the chosen Georgia Merit System (GMS) theme for the 2006-2007 State Charitable Contributions Program (SCCP). It is also a theme the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) upholds with each SCCP campaign by encouraging charitable donations among GDOL employees. Created by the 1982 Georgia General Assembly and administered through the GMS, the SCCP is a statewide program that allows state and public employees to donate via one time contributions and monthly payroll deductions to their favorite charities. Actively supporting this cause, the GDOL first selects very important players– SCCP coordinators who encourage donation participation among their division employees, and then kicks off the SCCP campaign with its annual Charityfest. This year’s Charityfest was held on September 14. Twenty local and national organizations participated. Labor employees perused brochures and other literature on representing charitable organizations. With approximately 200 Charityfest attendees, this year’s event was another success for the GDOL. Employees were informed of the services and missions of a variety of charities. Several of the attending organizations included: the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, United Negro College Fund, Hemophilia of Georgia, Good Samaritan Health Center, Canine Assistants, and the Atlanta Community Food Bank among several others. With all the enthusiasm, participation of charities and interest of GDOL employees, the Labor Department is hoping to exceed last year’s total one time and payroll contributions of almost $85,000. This total was met in part by fundraising efforts by individual GDOL divisions across the state. Each year, the Marketing & Community Relations division awards the Pelican and Paragon honors to the division that is most creative in its fundraising efforts and the division that submits the largest fundraising contribution. The Charityfest is of course the prelude to the campaign and the Pelican and Paragon honors are closing reminders that hard work is recognized and rewarded at the GDOL. By Matia Storey Edwards

As a naval petty officer during Vietnam, Schmieg also found time to volunteer at a local hospital when off duty, and ultimately worked in a precedent-setting program for soldiers with drug abuse problems. That set his career path; once discharged, he pursued a degree in psychology. Schmieg has held several positions, from public health therapist to CEO of Fortune 100 specialty hospitals to independent consultant. The common thread in his work life, if not the keystone of his personal philosophy is being of service to

people. “It is a privilege to serve others,” he says, “and it is a privilege to work at Roosevelt Warm Springs.”

Much of Schmieg’s professional expertise and success centers on his ability to reshape and revitalize organizations. He notes that while there are numerous approaches to restructuring and organizational turnaround, the bottom line is to commit to and serve all stakeholders truthfully. As he sees it, his primary responsibility as the front person in the process is to raise the bar and set the highest example from which to lead. Schmieg sees the rejuvenation of RWSIR as solidifying a focus that will punctuate its 80th birthday next year, as well as carry it forward for the next 80 years. First and foremost, he says, that future direction must continue to honor the legacy. It must also be based on teamwork and the synergy created when people work together to serve others. And it has to build strategic alliances… and move the whole organization forward for the enhancement of all stakeholders — from the commissioner to the groundskeeper to the chairman of the board to each and every student and patient. In what spare time he currently has, Schmieg plays guitar, likes to bike, golf and work outdoors. He and his wife, Christine, have a daughter, Anna, who is working on a double major in marine mammals and clinical psychology; two cats – Pepper and Prince, and a rescued greyhound named Todd. - By Carolyn Kowalski

1. Which president is responsible for the West Wing? a. Georgia Washington c. Abraham Lincoln b. James Garfield d. Theodore Roosevelt 2. Who occupied the first Oval Office? c. Howard Taft a. Theodore Roosevelt d. Franklin Roosevelt b. Woodrow Wilson

With the popularity of the West Wing Television Show, let’s see how much you know about the real West Wing. Circle the correct answer.


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Kentucky Tennessee Georgia Hawaii Delaware Florida Alabama Connecticut Michigan Nebraska

Answers to last edition’s puzzle
11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Washington Wyoming South Dakota Pennsylvania Oklahoma New York Maine Louisiana Alaska California

3. What was the color scheme of the first Oval Office? a. Royal Blue c. Sunflower Yellow b. Olive Green d. Rust 4. What did President Franklin Roosevelt add to the West Wing? a. Tennis Court c. Pool b. Pool Table d. Laundry Room 5. What was the original name of the West Wing? a. Fish Room c. Pool Room b. Oval Room d. Sun Room

7. Where in the West Wing did President Harry Truman take the Oath of Office? c. Cabinet Room a. Oval Office d. Fish Room b. Roosevelt Room

6. What happened to President Franklin Roosevelt’s swimming pool during Nixon’s administration? a. Became the Press Room c. Became the Tennis Court b. Became the Cabinet Room d. Became the Laundry Room

10. What is the difference between the President’s chair and the other chairs in the cabinet room? a. Features the Presidential Seal c. Different Color b. Signed by George Washington d. Taller

9. What is the name of the garden outside the Oval Office? a. Children’s Garden c. Jackie Kennedy Garden d. Rose Garden b. West Garden

8. Which rock-n-roll sensation did President Richard Nixon welcome to the White House? c. The Supremes a. Elvis Presly d. The Beatles b. Buddy Holly

The Office of Staff Development is featuring You Can Do It! A Guide for the Adult Learner and Anyone Going Back to School Mid-Career by Harry G. Turner as the “Selection of the Month.” In a job market where such concepts as the virtual corporation and portable skills have replaced job security and lifetime employment, a growing number of adults are looking for mid-career education. Whether you’re going back to get a university degree or taking a few vocational or technical classes, this book will sharpen the classroom skills you need to succeed. You Can Do It helps any adult learner brush up on comprehension, memory and note-taking skills, understand the different types of test structures, use individual learning profiles to take advantage of the learning environment, and much more. If you want to re-enter the learning market with confidence and ability, call (404) 232-3835 to check out this book. - By Dave Razel