Jerry Davis

Lack of Education – A major impediment towards overcoming unemployment or underemployment for people with disabilities

PURPOSE: Over the last five years, Goodwill Industries of Central Texas (GCT), Austin, USA, determined that one major impediment towards overcoming unemployment or underemployment for people with disabilities and other disadvantaging conditions was the lack of education.

DESIGN: GCT embarked on a two step process to secure funding for a new public secondary school for adults (ages 26-50), to be utilized simultaneously with a newly developed trade school training for jobs in high demand by local employers.

FINDINGS; At this writing, we have graduated over 300 students with over 600 enrolled. It appears that while most of these former students have entered the workforce, and do so with higher wages, filling local business needs, many are choosing to further their education and delay employment, with the likely effect of increasing their wages further. The mixture of the older population described has also benefited by the inclusion of a younger cadre (ages 17-26). This program has also been utilized in a women’s prison with a cohort of 30 inmates. Additionally, the speaker will discuss the method of the problem identification, the solution, future plans and assorted significant data points.

CONCLUSIONS: While data is not robust, preliminary results indicate that it was an accurate assumption that education and trade-school training would result in solutions to unemployment and underemployment of people with disabilities and other disadvantaging conditions.

Jerry Davis is president of Workability International and has been President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Texas (GICT)* since 1998. GICT serves fifteen Central Texas counties surrounding the state capital of Austin. The organization provided 77,789 services to 13,297 people with barriers to employment in 2015. GICT employs over 1,200 people and generated revenues of $72M last year, making it the 15th largest of 183 Goodwill organizations worldwide. GICT is known for its standout staffing services, youth programs and electronic recycling/reuse programs, as well as its distinctly branded retail operation. Davis holds a Bachelors Degree in Occupational Therapy (Ohio State University) and a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Services Administration (DePaul University). He is a Rotarian and is active in community affairs, local boards and his church. Jerry, his wife Theresa and his two grown children enjoy soccer, travel, reading and gardening. GICT serves fifteen Central Texas counties surrounding the state capital of Austin.

The Lead the Way conference in Stockholm, 28-30 of May 2018.