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Lex Frieden Employment Awards

About the Awards

The Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities is proud to announce that the annual employment awards have been renamed after disability rights champion and independent living movement leader Lex Frieden, one of the architects of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

front and back of Lex Frieden medallion

Frieden is the UT Chancellor's Health Fellow on Disability, a professor of biomedical informatics and rehabilitation at UT Health and director of the Independent Living Research Utilization Program (ILRU) at TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital. He was appointed by President George W. Bush as chair of the National Council on Disability in 2002, and also served an eight-year term on the United Nations Panel of Experts on the Standard Rules for Disability. Frieden is author or co-author of more than 60 articles on independent living, disability rights and rehabilitation. He has received two Presidential Citations for his work in the field of disability, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in law by the National University of Ireland in 2004.

Since 1979, the Governor's Committee has worked to highlight the efforts of employers to hire and retain employees with disabilities, and to recognize Best Practices that positively affect employees with disabilities within the workplace.  An employer whose philosophy is to support employment opportunities for all Texans, including people with disabilities, benefits the local community as well as the state. The attitude of working as a partner in the community is considered a strength to be highlighted and encouraged by the presentation of our annual Employment Awards. The active and enthusiastic promotion of business opportunities for people with disabilities is also an important element in the consideration of the award.

Each year during the month of October (National Disability Employment Awareness Month), a local committee in Texas hosts the Annual Employment Awards Ceremony, and the winners in each of several categories are introduced to an appreciative audience. Award categories include large, medium, and small employers, as well as non-profit employers, the Entrepreneurship Award, Martha Arbuckle Award and the Governor’s Trophy.

Download and print a Lex Frieden Employment Awards Brochure in PDF format

Download and print Lex Frieden Employment Awards Brochure information in Word format

The Lex Frieden Employment Awards Brochure is also available in large print upon request.

Read about previous Lex Frieden Employment Awards Winners.

How to Submit a Nomination

Nominations are due by July 15 of each year. Please submit the appropriate Entry Form for your nomination. See Submission Guidelines for more information.

The group and individual categories are:

The Martha Arbuckle Award recognizes the most innovative local committee project, and is presented in memory of Austin's long-time disability advocate Martha Arbuckle.

Employer Awards are given in four categories - Small Employer (25 or fewer employees), Medium Employer (26 to 500 employees), Large Employer (more than 500 employees), and Non-Profit Employer. Each category serves to recognize employers in Texas who have fostered a diverse and accessible workplace and who have developed innovative ways to integrate people with disabilities into the workplace.

The Entrepreneurship Award is awarded to a living entrepreneur with a disability who has shown extraordinary ingenuity and drive to create and sustain a successful business that has created jobs and accessible services.

The Governor's Trophy is the Governor's Committee's highest honor and is awarded to the person who has achieved the highest success in enhancing the empowerment and employment of Texans with disabilities. The Governor's Trophy recognizes long-term commitment and outstanding efforts at both the community and state level.

Nominations, including self-nominations, in any of these categories are encouraged. A completed submission form specific to the category, along with any supporting material, can be sent by email or postal mail to:

Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities
P.O. Box 12428
Austin TX 78711

512-463-5740 - Phone
512-463-5746 - TDD or Dial 711 for Relay Services
512-463-5745 - Fax
Contact Jo Virgil for more information.

2014 Awards Ceremony

The 2014 Lex Frieden Employment Awards will be held in Dallas on Tuesday, October 21, at 11:30am at the Baylor Hospital Conference Center, hosted by the Dallas Mayor's Committee for the Employment of People with Disabilities. For more information, contact Jim Pierce at at 214-498-9620 or or Jo Virgil at or 512-463-5740.

2013 Award Winners

The Governor's Trophy

Carroll Schubert, Professional Contract Services Inc (PCSI) (Austin)

The Governor's Trophy is the Governor's Committee's highest honor and is awarded each year to the person who has achieved the highest success in enhancing the empowerment and employment of Texans with disabilities. The Governor's Trophy recognizes long-term commitment and outstanding efforts at both the community and the state level.

Carroll Schubert was one of the founders of PCSI in 1996, and since 2011 has served as the President and CEO of the company. Mr. Schubert is known for his passion in providing training, accommodations, and full inclusion of all people in the workplace. His enthusiasm has led to a significant growth of the company since its beginnings with its first contract to provide facilities maintenance and support services at Camp Bullis in San Antonio to a company today with national reach that employs roughly 1,300 individuals-about 80 percent of whom have disabilities.

Mr. Schubert has structured the company to provide the highest wages possible for people with disabilities, allowing them the opportunity to live independently and with dignity. He created a "promote from within" culture at PCSI which affords outstanding performers opportunities for advancement, as well as a successful career-coaching program available to star performers as they climb the ladder to success to enter lead, supervisory, and managerial positions. Mr. Schubert created partnerships with commercial subcontractors, affording those who graduate from PCSI programs the opportunity to work for a commercial company if they choose. Also, the partnership Mr. Schubert has built with the Wounded Warrior program helps attract veterans who receive preference in the hiring process.

As the president and CEO of PCSI, Mr. Carroll Schubert has played a pivotal role in cultivating a culture of opportunity, encouragement, and support leading to full and fulfilling employment of people with significant disabilities.

Entrepreneurship Award

Rebecca Page, Livin' My Dreams Art Studio and Co-op (Alpine)

Rebecca Page is the Sole Proprietor of Livin' My Dreams Art Studio and Co-op in Alpine. Ms. Page, who has Down syndrome, was able to start her business with a grant from the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services. She works everyday in her studio creating art and is responsible for the daily operation of the studio. She is also a public advocacy speaker and has travelled all over Idaho and Texas to address audiences and share her enthusiasm. She is the driving force behind the success of her business. One of her primary goals is to recruit other artists to join her co-op. She wants everyone to be able to live their dreams, and if art is their dream, she will help them to live it. People with disabilities come to the studio to develop their own artistic talent and some sell their art on consignment to Livin' My Dreams. The first thing Ms. Page did when she started her business was to make sure her building would be accessible to all people with disabilities, setting an example for the small town of Alpine. The building had to have a bathroom remodel, installation of a ramp on the front door and selection of furniture that was wheelchair friendly. Anyone can move freely in the studio and work at a table. Affiliated artists often teach art lessons in the community. Any age or ability is encouraged to come in and try to create something. Ms. Page has also been working hard to learn sign language, as well as a little Spanish, to ensure more inclusiveness in her business.

Large Employer Award

Army Air Force Exchange Service (The Exchange) (Dallas)

The Exchange has had an ongoing commitment to employment of individuals with disabilities and is poised for continued growth. The company recognizes and honors the value and talent that individuals with disabilities can bring to the workplace. ABLE, the Special Emphasis Disability Employment Program, ensures equal opportunity in the areas of recruiting, hiring, promoting and training. The ABLE Mission is to achieve a workforce in which associates with disabilities are represented at every level in the organization and to assure that the Exchange is on target with the applicable civilian work force. ABLE actively engages the workforce by sponsoring a number of initiatives:

• National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Guest speakers, cultural displays, educational and training programs.
• Outstanding Associate with a Disability: The Department of Defense (DOD) initiative in selecting the Worldwide Outstanding Associate with a Disability.
• Centralized ABLE Portal: A document library that includes current events and Exchange Post articles, disability resources, special events.
• Community outreach: Partnerships with disability organizations and participation in recruitment fairs, expos, and conferences as well as the DOD/Department of Labor Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) Internship Program for college students with disabilities.
• Reasonable Accommodation Tracking System (RTS): A system created by the Exchange to help manage and track the progress of accommodation requests.
• Local, state and national partnerships: A network to provide assistance in recruitment and inclusion of people with disabilities which includes Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), Easter Seals, Ability One, Goodwill Industries, Lighthouse for the Blind, and others.
• Community involvement: Participation as committee/advisory board members of various community organizations focused on inclusion.

Medium Employer Award

Target Medallion Center Store #T0055 (Dallas)

Target Medallion Center Store in Dallas has a strong commitment to promoting diversity. During the employee orientation the topic of diversity and inclusion is featured as core to Target's performance expectation for providing customer services. Employees are reminded that a mutual respect among the teams is required; this attitude is expressed in how they recruit their employees and in how they communicate with their guests. During training, positive communications within the community they serve is an essential job task for all employees. Customer feedback is encouraged and can become a key to earning promotions. Target acknowledges individuals and team efforts by posting scores when they reach store goals or by providing verbal and written recognition for earning positive comments from guests or others. Leadership and other training schedules are publically displayed and are offered to all employees. During the orientation the opportunity to advance is highly encouraged. Mentors are assigned to new employees. Target's team benefits include resources in a program to improve team members' lives based on the five elements of a well-being philosophy: their health, career satisfaction, social relationships, financial security and connections to the community. They also help team members create meaningful connections with others by offering discounts, social networks, fun activities.

Small Employer Award

Stencor Company, LLC (Jacksonville)

Stencor believes in the value of the individual and that each individual has something to contribute when given the opportunity. The company sees meaningful employment in an integrated work setting not only as a benefit to the employees with disabilities, but to the organization as a whole. Stencor works in partnership with Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) and Client Services of East Texas (CSET) to identify consumers who have the potential to learn the necessary skills to be successful in assembly work. Stencor provides the space, parts and tools necessary for CSET to bring in potential employees to complete assessments in order to identify those who want to be a part of the organization. Stencor makes every effort to integrate employees with disabilities into all levels and services in the work place. Its focus is to see that in the workplace there are no differences, all are one and the same.

Non-Profit Employer Award

RISE Center (Beaumont)

RISE Center has a long history of successfully hiring, training and retaining qualified individuals with disabilities to advance in employment at the Center and in the community. Founded in 1996, RISE Center promotes the full inclusion, equal opportunity, and participation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of life; currently, approximately 85 percent of RISE staff are individuals with disabilities. As a consumer-driven organization, RISE Center services are developed, directed, delivered and governed primarily by individuals with disabilities. The goals of the Center are to empower individuals with disabilities to become viable parts of their community, and to make the community and society aware and sensitive of individuals with disabilities. RISE Center follows the independent living philosophy that is founded on principles of self determination, self help, and consumer choice. RISE Center established a Job Readiness Program supported by funds received from an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant. The majority of current RISE Center staff participated in the program and serve in various levels of employment. With a focus on practical and innovative accommodations, the Center has an embosser and software to tranlate the written word into Braille; signage throughout the Center in Large Print and Braille; an automatic door opener to the Center's suite; work areas throughout the Center with adjustable height tables; larger-than-average computer monitors; and five screen readers.

Martha Arbuckle Award for a Local Committee Project

Panhandle Coalition for Transition Services: LITE project (Amarillo)

The Panhandle Coalition for Transition Services is made up of various organizations and agencies interested in fostering a smooth transition from high school to higher education, into the community, or into the workplace for persons with disabilities. Current PCTS members include The Panhandle Independent Living Center, Eddie Bauer Store, West Texas A&M University, Parmer County SSA, Uniting Parents, 2Care for Kids, Coalition for Health Services, Department of State Health Services, Division for Rehabilitation Services, Division for Blind Services, Workforce Solutions Panhandle, Amarillo ISD and Canyon ISD representatives, Region 16 ESC, and Amarillo College. The Living Independently Through Education (LITE) Scholarship program event was developed out of this partnership. The LITE event is held annually; the 2013 LITE event raised over $50,000 for scholarships to be awarded to students with disabilities to attend Amarillo College and West Texas A&M University. The event consists of fund raising, selling raffle tickets, a silent auction, vendor booths, and guest speakers. The Mayor of the City of Amarillo presents a proclamation declaring LITE Day. The LITE event offers an opportunity for the community to celebrate and promote the abilities of persons with disabilities and to acknowledge accomplishments and look to the future. The LITE program has enhanced the lives of Texans with disabilities by allowing many students to attend college who may not otherwise have been able to attend, and to enhance their employment opportunities.

Above and Beyond:  Employment Practices

Suggestions for creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for ALL people to help make your business or service stand out.

Above and Beyond: Employment Practices in Word format

Above and Beyond: Employment Practices in PDF format

Download latest version of Acrobat Reader here

What Can YOU Do to Advance the Employment of People with Disabilities?

In support of the What Can YOU Do? outreach effort, the Campaign for Disability Employment is pleased to present the following video tools. Help us spread the word about the value and talent that people with disabilities bring to the workplace by sharing these videos and playing the Campaign for Disability Employment:
View the “I Can” public service announcement (PSA).
View the What Can YOU Do? Outreach Toolkit.