Business, Free News Articles, Government

Individual with Down Syndrome Testifies for Phasing Out Subminimum Wages for Individuals with Disabilities

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), the leading organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, and the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (MDSC), the premier resource for information, advocacy and networking in Massachusetts, applaud the testimony of John Anton at Wednesday's Education & Labor Committee joint subcommittee hearing titled "Phasing Out Subminimum Wages: Supporting the Transition to Competitive Integrated Employment for Workers with Disabilities."

Mr. Anton, who works as MDSC's legislative specialist, has been a vocal advocate on issues concerning the rights of individuals with Down syndrome. His testimony is an important part of efforts by the community to support the passage of the Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (H.R. 2373) which was introduced by Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).

At the hearing, Mr. Anton spoke about the vast difference between his work at MDSC and his experience working in a sheltered workshop. While working for subminimum wages, he was bored and asked his boss for more work. He was told no and quit his job on the spot. He went on to work for the Massachusetts State House and intern in Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers' office prior to his role at MDSC.

"It is all about respect and dignity as a citizen for me and not being stigmatized by labels, which belong on jars not people!" said Mr. Anton.

"We are thrilled that John had an opportunity to lend his powerful voice in this important forum," said MDSC Executive Director Maureen Gallagher. "Being paid an unfair wage is, unfortunately, a topic that John knows all too well. But not only has he survived, he has become a leading spokesperson in the movement to ensure that all people with Down syndrome and other disabilities have equal access to employment and other opportunities." Gallagher added that MDSC is also working on programmatic solutions to the disability employment crisis. "Through our Your Next Star employment initiative, MDSC is outreaching directly to employers to open their eyes to the abilities of employees with Down syndrome and help them diversify their workforces," she said.

Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 allows employers to pay people with disabilities less than the minimum wage (subminimum wage). People with disabilities who are employed under the 14(c) certificates are trained to perform mundane tasks for as little as $0.02 an hour, according to a 2018 report from the National Council on Disability.

"Despite being referred to as training programs, these environments do very little to build capacity or transfer into skills necessary to help people transition into other employment options," said Matteo Lieb, Employment Policy and Program Manager at NDSS. "This practice reinforces the misconception that individuals with disabilities are less productive and creates an artificial barrier to future employment opportunities."

As support builds for wage equity for people with disabilities around the country, NDSS, in partnership with the MDSC and other grassroots advocates, will continue to support phasing out subminimum wage at the federal and state levels.

"Equitable employment is a key legislative priority for NDSS," said President & CEO Kandi Pickard. "We believe every individual deserves the opportunity to work in an inclusive, competitive role where they can acquire meaningful skills and are paid a fair wage. Phasing out 14(c) will help pave the way for equality in the workplace for people with Down syndrome and other disabilities."

About NDSS

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations and become valued members of welcoming communities. Founded in 1979, NDSS supports and advocates for the Down syndrome community by focusing on three key areas of programming: Resources & Support, Policy & Advocacy and Community Engagement. Within these focus areas NDSS engages in various activities, events and programs such as the National Advocacy & Policy Center, which seeks to create systemic change through engaged advocacy; the National Buddy Walk® Program, which honors and celebrates individuals with Down syndrome in local communities across the world, and other initiatives that provide support, informational resources and community engagement opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome and those who support them. Visit http://www.ndss.org for more information about NDSS.

About MDSC

MDSC has been working with NDSS for over a decade to promote policies that improve the lives of all people with Down syndrome. MDSC has sent a delegation to NDSS's Buddy Walk on Washington annually to meet with legislators and share the importance of our disability policy priorities. MDSC also offers a broad array of programs to serve people with Down syndrome and their families throughout Massachusetts, including: A Buddy Walk® Program that gives individuals, schools, community groups, and local businesses an opportunity to get involved in fundraising campaigns; Self-Advocate Programs like Advocates in Motion and our Self-Advocate Advisory Council, which provide opportunities for teens and adults with Down syndrome while making empowerment a central component; Parents First Call Program, a volunteer, state-wide group of trained parent mentors available 24/7 to listen, share, answer questions, and provide valuable information; and other programs like our Diversity Outreach & Support Program and our affiliate programs Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome (D.A.D.S.) and the Down Syndrome-Autism Connection that serve the entire Down syndrome community.

To learn more, visit https://mdsc.org/ and https://www.yournextstar.org/ for more information.

VIDEO (YouTube): https://youtu.be/ZCGgJKhim3I

RELATED LINKS:

https://edlabor.house.gov/hearings/phasing-out-subminimum-wages-supporting-the-transition-to-competitive-integrated-employment-for-workers-with-disabilities

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/2373

MEDIA CONTACT:
Joshua Komyerov
Director of Communications, MDSC
jkomyerov @ mdsc.org
781-221-0024 ext 202

Related link: https://mdsc.org/

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Business, Elections and Politics, Free News Articles, Government

Melissa Martz’s Congressional Campaign Finishes First Quarter with Strong Grassroots Support

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A tenacious fighter, attorney, mother and anti-child trafficking advocate, Melissa Martz hit the streets three months ago to garner community support for Florida's 18th Congressional District. Her first quarter FEC filings show she did just that by raising $202,000.

Martz reported no political action committee (PAC) money, but a substantial amount of local money and in-kind donations.

"These numbers let me know the people in our community are serious about having someone in Congress who will represent their interests and not those of big business and special interest groups," said Martz. "The encouragement I've received has been overwhelming."

More than 40 people have adorned their cars with large magnets acknowledging their commitment to her candidacy from the start.

A main tenet of her platform is to protect the innate value of each individual. Martz is a Constitutionalist, with a moral fire to see the inalienable rights of "We The People," protected by the government, not taken by it.

Government intrusion, overreach and outright corruption are happening at alarming rates, which is prompting a ground swell of support for new leadership in our country.

Martz is prepared to introduce and support legislation that supports Constitutional rights, restricts government overreach and protects our children. She is known as a woman of action and understands the God-given sovereignty of the individual.

A campaign celebration is planned for July 24th from 4-6 p.m. at You Farm in Loxahatchee, FL. For more information about the Melissa Martz for Congress 2022 campaign and to follow her on social media, visit http://www.melissamartz.com/.

*PHOTO link for media: https://www.Send2Press.com/300dpi/21-0409s2p-mmartz-300dpi.jpg

*Caption: Melissa Martz, candidate for Florida's 18th Congressional District.

PAID FOR BY MELISSA MARTZ FOR CONGRESS 2022.

Related link: https://melissamartz.com/

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Business, Free News Articles, Government

Opposition to Los Angeles’ Burbank Blvd Street Widening Project – Burbank Widening Citizens Group

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- The Burbank Widening Citizens Group. ("BWC Group") announced today that it is organizing in opposition to the Burbank Blvd. Street Widening Project. The Group consists of businesses and residences situated along the affected Burbank Blvd., between Lankershim Blvd. and Cleon St. The BWC Group states, "On the heels of Covid, eighteen businesses are required to spend tens of thousands of dollars on property abatements.

"This highway project takes our property, parking, fencing, gates, and improvements and subjects the neighborhood to two years of noise, traffic disruption, and lost business, all for a highway nobody wants or needs. The call for public comment on this project occurred in 2009, as was the Project Impact filing. With the passing of twelve years since the Project CEQ Impact filing and public comment, it is mandatory that a Project Impact Re-evaluation and a re-opening of a period of public comment. The neighborhood description in the 2009 Impact statement looks nothing like the 2021 neighborhood."

The BWC Group also notes that "the Planning Department has targeted many businesses as scofflaws who have "built in the city right-of-way" despite City permits on the improvements. There has been a lack of transparency and a failure of communication between the neighborhood and Planning Commission." The BWC Group continues, "the bottom line is nobody wants this highway, and the neighborhood feels it's unnecessary. The neighborhood wants a road that fits the neighborhood, not the other way around."

The BWC Group has a petition in opposition on http://change.org/burbankblvd and the Burbank Widening Citizens Group website at https://burbankwidening.com/.

For more information: Burbank Widening Citizens Group Committee@BurbankWidening.com

Related link: https://burbankwidening.com/

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Business, Defense and Military, Free News Articles, Government, VAR and IT Consulting

Cole Engineering awarded $179M OTA by U.S. Army

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Cole Engineering Services, Inc. (CESI), a By Light Company, has been awarded a $179M Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreement to serve as the core software enabler for the Synthetic Training Environment (STE) Training Simulation Software / Training Management Tool (TSS/TMT). The TSS/TMT is the "core" simulation software and hardware that provides a common synthetic environment, the exercise design and control tool, and data manager for STE collective training.

As the Army's future training capability, the STE will be a single, interconnected training system that provides a training environment, in which units from Soldier/Squad through Army Service Component Command conduct collective training. The STE will converge the live, virtual, constructive, and gaming environments as one complete training capability.

"Team CESI is honored to be entrusted to enable the future of the Army's Synthetic Training Environment to empower a revolution in Army training capability and effectiveness," said Devin Lyders, CESI Senior Vice President, Advanced Training Systems, "We have taken great pride in supporting STE since the initial onset of prototyping activities in 2018 and are proud to offer a comprehensive solution that is modular, scalable, and prepared to rapidly deliver capability into the hands of the Soldier. As a participant in and benefactor of Soldier Centric Design, CESI understands at its core that the TSS/TMT capabilities are about delivering the best possible training to our Warfighters no matter the place, time, or domain."

Team CESI consists of a robust group of contributors with deep understanding of the STE vision including 4C North America, Inc.; Bohemia Interactive Simulations, Inc.; Cesium GS, Inc.; Dignitas Technologies; Leidos, Inc.; Perspecta; Raydon Corporation; Systematic, Inc.; and Maxar Technologies.

The Team CESI solution is a modular open systems architecture built on a CESI-developed backbone called MSSV ("massive"). The TSS/TMT solution will realize a modern, modular system that converges live, virtual, constructive, and gaming environments into a single, holistic synthetic environment. MSSV is a proven, hardened architecture solution that will allow an integrated, tested, and training-ready capability to be delivered in under a year.

"By Light and its companies continue to provide innovative systems and solutions to help stay ahead of our country's adversaries," said Bob Donahue Jr., Chief Executive Officer of By Light, "Team CESI is immediately postured to deliver a solution that keeps our soldiers in front and is adaptable to the ever-changing operational environment."

About CESI

Formed in 2004, Cole Engineering Services, Inc., is an award-winning company that maintains a distinct record of strong performance in developing dynamic engineering programs. CESI implements operational, modeling, simulation, and gaming-based technologies that enable Warfighters and First Responders in their services to the nation. CESI develops unique simulation-based systems for simple and complex military missions and has extensive experience developing interoperable distributed simulation architectures for engineering and training environments. Led by a highly talented and experienced team with deep institutional knowledge and an extensive infrastructure in the form of laboratories and tools/methodologies, CESI tackles some of the military's most complex modeling and simulation projects. Learn more at https://coleengineering.com/

About By Light

By Light Professional IT Services LLC, headquartered in McLean, VA, is an ISO 9001, 20000-1, and 27001 registered and CMMI-Dev Level 3 rated systems integrator that provides secure, turnkey systems by incorporating exceptional engineering, project management, telecommunications, and cyber capabilities to safeguard mission success. Founded by industry professionals with extensive knowledge in the DoD, DISA, and other US Government agencies, By Light successfully implements technical solutions that integrate commercial best practices to meet the needs of government. For more information, visit https://www.bylight.com/.

Related link: https://www.bylight.com/

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Business, Defense and Military, Free News Articles, Government

NSC Awards Cole Engineering Team $31M OTA

MCLEAN, Va. -- Cole Engineering Services, Inc. (CESI) a By Light Company, has been awarded a $31.3M contract by the National Spectrum Consortium (NSC) for the Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) 5G Network Enhancements Prototype Other Transaction Agreement (OTA). CESI as the prime contractor for this OTA, with key teammates Eridan Communications, Inc., Prizm XR, Inc., and Athena Technologies, LLC, are together delivering this next-generation technology development for augmented and virtual reality testbeds, 5G networks, and applications at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBML) in Washington State.

This project supports the Department of Defense (DoD) 5G Strategy Implementation Plan to accelerate implementation of advanced wireless communications with applications in both the Continental United States (CONUS) and outside CONUS regions. For this 5G experimentation at JBLM, DoD, and the Department of the Army expect to develop effective methodologies to allow combat training enhanced by 5G communications technologies.

The project is divided into three sequential phases in which advanced 5G technologies will be tested in laboratory environments, then fielded and evaluated in the 5G enhanced training environment deployed at JBLM. The goal of this prototype project is to develop and demonstrate 5G-based AR/VR enhancement that enables Army mission planning and training. The prototype will demonstrate the ability to design, build, and sustain an advanced enhancement that allows for 5G cellular connectivity to accommodate military training activity.

According to Thomas Fransson, CESI, SVP Operations, Simulation Products & Services, "This award reinforces the success of our long heritage in advanced wireless communications, and now extends into the new and exciting area of providing these capabilities for training and operations, where we can leverage our extensive experience of supporting DoD with simulations and training products. Our 5G network solution addresses the breadth of challenges presented by foliage and weather, vastly improves the performance of the network in terms of number of participants and reduces latency - thereby improving soldier perception of combat engagement."

About By Light

By Light Professional IT Services LLC, headquartered in McLean, VA is an ISO 9001, 20000-1, and 27001 registered and CMMI Level 3 rated systems integrator that provides secure, turn-key systems by incorporating exceptional engineering, project management, telecommunications, and cyber capabilities to safeguard mission success. Founded by industry professionals with extensive knowledge in the DoD, DISA, and other US Government agencies, By Light successfully implements technical solutions that integrate commercial best practices to meet the needs of government. For more information, visit http://www.bylight.com/.

About CESI

Formed in 2004, Cole Engineering Services, Inc., is an award-winning company that maintains a distinct record of strong performance in developing dynamic engineering programs. CESI implements operational, modeling, simulation, and gaming-based technologies that enable Warfighters and First Responders in their services to the nation. CESI develops unique simulation-based systems for simple and complex military missions and has extensive experience developing interoperable distributed simulation architectures for engineering and training environments. Led by a highly talented and experienced team with deep institutional knowledge and an extensive infrastructure in the form of laboratories and tools and methodologies, CESI tackles some of the military's most complex modeling and simulation projects. Learn more at http://www.cesicorp.com/.

Related link: https://www.bylight.com/

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Advertising and Marketing, Business, Economic Development, Free News Articles, Government

Local Community Gift Card Program Shows up to 8X ROI on Federal Funds Invested to Help Small Businesses in Pandemic Recovery

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- As communities strive to help their local businesses weather the pandemic storm, Yiftee has grown to more than 270 Community eGift Cards across the United States and executed 74 "Buy-One-Get-One" programs. These programs enlist entire communities in purchasing eGift Cards that can only be spent at local businesses, where the card buyers also receive free bonus gifts for their own use.

Yiftee and Whatcom County, WA teamed up to measure the revenue impact of their program for small businesses in Whatcom County. Between money spent on community card purchases, bonus cards funded by the CARES Act, and overspend on the gift cards and bonus cards, the analysis found that the bonus program investment was returned by 2X in its first month, 4X after 3 months and could return up to 8X over the next year when the majority of the purchased cards have been redeemed.

Data shows more than 30% is typically spent over the card value

Derek Long, Executive Director of Sustainable Connections in Bellingham, WA, who worked with Whatcom County government to fund the bonus cards and marketing to support it said, "The card buyer survey showed that on average, people spend 34% more than the purchased cards and 31% more than the bonus cards. We returned 2X our bonus card investment in the first month, and now we are at 4X with potential to double that as more cards are redeemed over the next year or so."

Sandy Ward, President and CEO of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism added, "The Whatcom County community has really rallied to help our small businesses and we are thrilled with the results. The bonus funds sold out quickly in December, and people have continued to purchase the Whatcom County Think Local First cards, with thousands more purchased after the bonus ran out."

Besides the CARES Act in Q4 2020, Yiftee is seeing funds for similar programs coming from corporate sponsors, tourism offices, city and county governments, and most recently federal funds from the American Recovery Plan all helping small businesses come back.

More than half of card holders tried out new shops or restaurants

Yiftee and Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism jointly sponsored the survey and were pleased that the extensive card buyer survey, conducted by the Claremont Consulting Group Inc.*, also found that 51% of card buyers tried new shops or restaurants with their Community eGift Cards, and cardholders liked being able to use them at multiple places around town. The bonus program drew attention to the new Whatcom County program, launched in November 2020, with 50% of people saying they would be significantly more likely to purchase a $50 card if they got a $10 bonus.

"Shopping local has always been popular but now it's essential, and Community Cards are a simple way for consumers, companies and local governments to keep their local dollars local," said Donna Novitsky, Yiftee CEO and co-founder. An incredible 92% of card buyers surveyed said they prefer to support their local business with a Community Card vs buying national brand gift cards.

Ann Marie Cooper, Owner of Good Earth Pottery in Bellingham, WA commented, "The gift card program definitely brought extra/new traffic to our shop. Several customers told me so. I know some local folks sent these gift cards to friends and family out of town, to bring their business to us/Whatcom County. The incentive program (bonus spending money) was big motivation for people to purchase the Think Local First Gift Cards... I am very thankful for the program."

About Yiftee, Keep Local Dollars Local

Yiftee serves more than 270 communities and 10,000 local businesses with simple, secure, PoS-independent eGift Cards that keep local dollars local - more than $13M in pandemic year 2020. The company works with Chambers of Commerce, Downtowns, Main Streets, Business Improvement Districts, city governments and other local organizations to create "Community Cards," branded for the community and redeemable at 10s to 100s of local businesses. Organizations and individuals purchase them online and send them via email, text or print to friends, family and co-workers to support their local businesses.

There is no cost to the organizers or merchants for the program and it can be set up in just a few days. Yiftee also provides custom-branded cards for individual merchants, franchises, and chains.

More info at https://yiftee.com/, email: sales@yiftee.com, Twitter: @Yiftee, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yiftee/.

(Note: * Claremont Consulting Group Inc. study included 197 survey responses for purchases made November 2020-March 2021.)

IMAGE LINK FOR MEDIA: https://www.Send2Press.com/300dpi/21-0511s2p-yifteecard-300dpi.jpg

CAPTION: The Whatcom County, WA Think Local First gift card promotion held in Nov/Dec 2020 multiplied federal government funds with consumer purchases that exclusively support local shops and restaurants in the area as they come back from closures due to COVID.

Related link: https://yiftee.com/

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Business, Free News Articles, Government

Dr. Bernice King, Martin Luther King III & Jason Carter Join The Peoples’ Agenda to Launch Statewide Votercades on John Lewis National Day of Action

ATLANTA, Ga. -- In an effort to bring attention to the onslaught of voter suppression laws and ignite public support for bills to restore protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples' Agenda (Peoples' Agenda) will join local and national partners to host Votercades, teach-ins and other events throughout the state on John Lewis Voting Rights Day of Action, 2 PM Saturday May 8, 2021.

For a city-by-city schedule of Votercades and events visit https://tinyurl.com/peoplesagenda.

Charles Steele, president, SCLC; Jason Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter; Dr. Bernice King and Martin King III, the children of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Cheryl Lowery, daughter of Dr. Joseph E. Lowery; and other children of civil rights leaders will be on hand to kick off the Votercades during a press conference 2 PM Saturday May 8, 2021 at The King Center on Auburn Ave. The press conference will be broadcasted as part of a national press conference hosted by Transformative Justice Coalition in Washington, DC.

"We expect the participation on Saturday to be even larger than our Votercades during the runoffs because on the same day, same time, concerned citizens will drive through various U.S. cities to bring attention to the urgent need for policies that make voting easier, not harder," said Helen Butler, executive director of the Peoples' Agenda. "Here in the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement we are determined to send a loud message that, as our founder, Dr. Joseph Lowery said, 'We're not going back. We've marched too hard, died too young and bleed too profusely to allow anyone to turn back the hands of time on our journey to justice' - even in a global pandemic."

Created in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Votercades are presidential-style motorcades that are safer than marching during the pandemic. In many cities they will be followed by outdoor or virtual activism villages providing information for citizens to become civically involved. Votercades were instrumental in bringing attention to the importance of the 2020 election and were used to turn out Black and Brown voters in record numbers during the Georgia Senate runoff in Jan.

Dekalb and Clayton County Votercades and a caravan from The Carter Center will join the Atlanta group at The King Center. After the press conference they will proceed through the city, ending at Cascade United Methodist Church where they will have a teach-in. Other Georgia cities hosting events include: Athens, Albany, Augusta, LaGrange, Loganville, Macon, Savannah, Statesboro, and Hinesville.

For starting locations go to https://tinyurl.com/peoplesagenda and for Gwinett County, https://tinyurl.com/peoplesagenda1 .

Partners joining the Peoples' Agenda for the John Lewis Voting Rights Day of Action include leaders from civil rights, faith, labor and the business community the Voting Rights Alliance, Clayton County Black Women's Roundtable and Westside Neighbors United in Macon. Current bills the groups are supporting are S1 (For The People Act); HR 4 (The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act); and HR 51 (Washington, DC Admissions Act), making the District of Columbia the 51st state and empower the predominately Black residents with equal voting rights.

Georgia Coalition for the Peoples' Agenda is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization performing year-round voter registration, education and mobilization in Black communities throughout Georgia. Led by board chair, Rev. J. A. Milner, and Butler, the organization has headquarters in Atlanta and offices in Athens, Albany, Macon, Augusta, LaGrange and Savannah. For more information visit http://thepeoplesagenda.org/, email coalition@bellsouth.net or call the Peoples' Agenda at (404) 653-1199.

MEDIA CONTACTS

Contact: Edrea Davis- edmedia@dogonvillage.com

Sean Davis - otssean7@gmail.com

Phone: 770.961.6200/818.613.9521 (text)

Related link: http://www.thepeoplesagenda.org/

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Business, Economic Development, Free News Articles, Government

The City of Pompano Beach Parks and Recreation Department Announces All-Inclusive Playground

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. -- The City of Pompano Beach Parks and Recreation Department has enhanced the Sergeant Kip Jacoby Park with a new all-inclusive playground that features equipment that will encourage side-by-side play for all children. The new pieces by the Kompan Company improve physical, cognitive, creative and social skills for all children, while offering a welcoming atmosphere for children with special needs.

"We recognized the need for an all-abilities park in Pompano Beach and felt that Sergeant Kip Jacoby Park would be an ideal choice," said Mark Beaudreau, Recreations Program Administrator. "This new playground, with its state-of-the-art equipment, will improve the quality of life for families throughout our City and the region and will encourage inclusion and foster new friendships."

During the past few months, the playground has been redesigned to include a custom-built play structure with ramps, special swings and an array of accessible equipment that encourage fun, interaction and learning.

Responsive to children's movements, the TIPI apparatus spins when pushed or pulled. Apart from being a fun negotiation and turn-taking game, the pushing and pulling build muscles and cardio. In the TIPI, children can lie, sit or stand with the support of the side bars or the top frame. This welcomes children with mobility disabilities to be part of the play, too. The spinning movement trains the sense of space and balance. The Robinia Percussion Music Panel is an invitation to play for children featuring a variation in drumming sounds and tonal responses to movements. The drums can be played alone or together. The Xylophone Music Panel trains hand-eye coordination while the tonality of the music panel stimulates logical as well as creative thinking. And the Spinner Bowl allows children to adjust the spinning speed with their body movements. This trains logical thinking and trains the sense of balance, which is mandatory for concentration skills and the ability to sit still. Pushing or being pushed by others trains social-emotional skills such as turn-taking.

"Thank you, City of Pompano Beach! There are so few inclusive playgrounds for children with disabilities," said Myrna Miott, Director of Development and Marketing for the Broward Children's Center. "We are thrilled that our city has taken this proactive and innovative step so that children of all abilities can play together. We look forward to the many friendships and connections that will be made in our community as a result of everyone being able to safely let loose together in this space."

Sergeant Kip Jacoby is named after a longtime Pompano Beach resident who lost his life on June 28, 2005 in Afghanistan during Operation Red Wings. To honor his sacrifice, the City renamed the park, where he loved to skateboard, in his honor. The park is located at 620 S. Cypress Road in Pompano Beach.

The City of Pompano Beach is a vibrant multicultural community located in the heart of Florida's Gold Coast. We are known for our warm welcome and beautiful beaches, listed 9th in the 2021 "Best Beaches in the World" by Travel Addicts Life Magazine. This All-America City is one of the largest beachfront cities in South Florida with a four mile stretch of pristine shoreline, over 700 acres of parks, and a commitment to arts & culture. Key industries include marine, manufacturing, distribution, tourism and entertainment.

For more information visit us at http://pompanobeachfl.gov/

Media Contact: Kay@KRPRmediagroup.com

Related link: https://pompanobeachfl.gov/

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Business, Economic Development, Free News Articles, Government, Manufacturing

Rural Iowa Manufacturing Jobs Surplus Means Big Opportunities

OSCEOLA, Iowa -- It's been a year since the manufacturing industry was hit by the COVID-19 crisis forcing businesses to get creative to manage their workforce assets. In April of 2020, the rural Clarke County, Iowa's unemployment rate jumped from 3.4% to 11.8%, and more than 100,000 workers across the state were displaced, laid off, or simply let go when businesses had to close their doors, says Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC).

Now COVID restrictions have begun to lift and the economy is picking up again, especially for manufacturers in Osceola, Iowa. Unfortunately, many businesses are still struggling in their search for the right candidates to fill key positions.

"We've got 4,700 non-farm jobs and our major manufacturers continue to grow and add staff," said Bill Trickey, Executive Director of the Clarke County Development Corporation. "Now is a great time to find a job in Clarke County."

Major Clarke County employers have a variety of positions available and are casting a wide net to entice the right candidates to the region. Full of lucrative job opportunities, Osceola boasts easy access from Des Moines, Indianola, Norwalk, St. Mary's, Martensdale and many other South-Central Iowa and Northern Missouri cities via I-35 and highways 34 and 92.

"We're certainly in a position where we have more jobs than people to fill them, so we're recruiting from across the state to find the right fit," said Susan Miller, Human Resources Recruiter for the Altec body plant. "While our pay is more than competitive with most Des Moines metro employers, and our benefits package is outstanding, we've found that it's our unique company culture that really makes working here desirable."

In an effort to fill essential manufacturing positions, companies are finding new incentives to draw in applicants, encourage referrals from current employees, and reward retention among the staff. For example, The Paul Mueller Company, manufacturers of stainless steel, food-grade refrigeration and transportation tanks, offers an incremental referral bonus as well as new employee sign-on bonuses awarded at ninety days, six months, and one year.

Altec body plant helps employees attain Bachelor or Masters degrees in the industry by funding online courses through The University of Alabama and offers wellness benefits to employees and their spouses for completing fun and easy challenges. And Iowa Steel gives their regional sales team the opportunity to work from home or remotely as they travel the country to meet with customers, offering an excellent base salary as well as commission.

"We're in the process of growing, locally and nationwide. On top of filling regional sales positions around the country, we're also adding to our Osceola facility in the fall of 2021 and hiring more skilled labor," said Kate Patton, Human Resources Director at Iowa Steel. "Clarke County is full of employers offering diverse opportunities with competitive pay and an excellent work-life balance. We're just looking for the right applicants."

While unemployment rates are relatively low, there is still a lot of work available in rural Iowa, especially in Clarke County. Employers are finding that top pay and benefits aren't the only tools needed to draw in a workforce.

"Money isn't the most important thing people are looking for these days. People are looking at our culture, and finding a place they enjoy coming to every day, and positioning their family to do more than just make ends meet," said Lauren Robins, Human Resources Generalist II for Paul Mueller Company. "On-site training, and a safe and healthy work environment are all important to prospective employees. Most of all they want to know that they're valued and able to be productive and growing for years to come."

Clarke County's manufacturing industry has advantages not found in bigger cities across the state. Factors like job security, educational incentives, and unique, diverse opportunities for advancement are all part of what draws in a workforce that drives the success of the entire community.

For more information about the availability of jobs mentioned in this press release, feel free to reach to the Human Resources department at each company:

- Altec Osceola Body Plant, HR Recruiter, Susan Miller, 641-223-8807, email: susan.miller@altec.com

- Iowa Steel Human Resources Director, Kate Patton, 641-342-2134, email: kpatton@countrysidetank.com

- Paul Mueller Company, Lauren Robins, Human Resources Generalist II, 641-342-5521, email: lrobins@paulmueller.com.

If you'd like to learn more about the manufacturing industry and development opportunities available in Clarke County, Iowa, please reach out to Bill Trickey, Executive Director of the Clarke County Development Corporation, at 641-414-1884 or email: info@clarkedev.com.

Related link: https://osceolaclarkedev.com/

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Virginia Minimum Wage Set to Increase

RICHMOND, Va. -- Beginning May 1, 2021, the minimum wage for workers in Virginia will increase to $9.50 per hour. Additionally, some jobs previously exempt from the minimum wage are no longer exempt (e.g., domestic workers), the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry announced today. Please also be aware that, in contrast to the federal law, Virginia does not factor in the size of a business when deciding whether an employer is required to pay the minimum wage.

The Department of Labor and Industry has prepared some materials to assist both workers and employers in the Commonwealth to understand this new change. For a list of Frequently Asked Questions, please visit our website, http://www.doli.virginia.gov/.

Any employee who believes they are not being paid the minimum wage in violation of the law after May 1, 2021, should submit a claim form for unpaid wages. Claim forms are available at http://www.doli.virginia.gov/.

Please review the statutory exemptions listed here if you want to know if a job or business is exempt from the minimum wage: https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title40.1/chapter3/section40.1-28.9/

Should you have any additional questions about the Virginia Minimum Wage Act, or any other labor and employment law related questions, please contact the Department of Labor and Industry at laborlaw@doli.virginia.gov, or by phone at (804) 371-237.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Wendy H. Inge
Labor & Employment Law Director
(804)786-3224
wendy.inge@doli.virginia.gov

Related link: https://www.doli.virginia.gov/

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