Pixel Tracker

Saturday, December 15 , 2018, 9:41 am | Fair 53º


Noozhawk Earns Santa Barbara Mayor’s Award for Its Coverage of Disability Issues

Annual honors also bestowed on airport director Karen Ramsdell, Marshalls and Trader Joe's

Kristina Rice benefits from more than a paycheck while working for UCSB Dining Services, she earns respect.

“If I forget a step, (my supervisor) Robbie (Wright) reminds me I need to train with them in all the steps of the task,” said Rice, a Devereux graduate who has worked at UCSB for the past 12 years with the assistance of supported employment services.

“Robbie wants us to work as a team. She treats us all equal and I feel very respected at work.”

Respect and equal treatment had been hard to come by at past jobs, said Rice, who teamed up with Sue Hawkins, director of UCSB’s University Center Dining Services, as the keynote speakers at the Seventh Annual Mayor’s Awards on Wednesday morning.

The breakfast ceremony, hosted by Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider at the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center, coincides with National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The event recognizes area businesses that help provide employment for people with disabilities.

For her part, Hawkins recalled the apprehension she felt when she first volunteered in a special-needs class in high school. She said she quickly realized her fear was unfounded.

“The only cure for fear is diversity, and that is something we can control and accommodate in the workplace,” Hawkins told about 100 guests at the ceremony. “For employers providing work for those with differing needs, it can be enriching and rewarding.”

PathPoint has helped Hawkins hire employees with special needs since she started working at UCSB more than 19 years ago.

“First, (I wanted to) provide meaningful employment with those of limited abilities, and, second, I could provide a learning experience for our young students,” Hawkins said. “Being careful of those who are different can be immobilizing and prejudicial. If you look at our world you can see it in a much larger context.”

Hiring those with disabilities is a win-win, Schneider said. Through the state Department of Rehabilitation, a company could receive more than $31,000 for each new hire, she said, adding that more than half of workplace accommodations cost nothing but result in improved retention and productivity.

“People always talk about getting government and businesses to work together,” Schneider said. “This is one small way of showing positive reinforcement on how to be inclusive and recognize businesses that do what they can to employ those with disabilities.”

» Marshalls, a newcomer to downtown Santa Barbara, earned the Employment/Accommodation Award by reflecting the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act in its employment practices.

» Santa Barbara Airport director Karen Ramsdell accepted the Design/Accessibility Award for her leadership in creating equal and aesthetic access for travelers with disabilities at the newly renovated terminal.

» Nakia Rhodes, team captain at Trader Joe’s, 3025 De la Vina St., accepted the Outstanding Effort Award for recognizing people with disabilities as valued community members.

» Noozhawk business reporter Alex Kacik accepted the Media Award for the news Web site’s ongoing recognition of the importance of equality and dignity while reporting on disability issues. Noozhawk was a previous recipient of the award, in 2008.

“It’s great to acknowledge businesses that go out of their way and don’t take what may be perceived as the easy way out and be as inclusive as possible,” Schneider said. “It benefits the community as a whole.”

Among the dignitaries in attendance were Santa Barbara City Councilman Grant House, Goleta Mayor Margaret Connell, Santa Barbara County 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf and Sharon Siegel, district representative for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.