Category Archives: Fort Worth

Texas Workforce Commission updates businesses on employment laws

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) hosted the Texas Business Conference on Friday, June 16 at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth. The event featured sessions pertaining to employment law.

“We put these on across the state so we can educate employers about employment law, unemployment claims and the appeals process, as well as state and federal laws and regulations,” Ruth Hughs, TWC Commissioner Representing Employers, said. “We are committed to providing employers with the information they need to succeed. The Texas Business Conference brings valuable resources to effectively navigate employers through state and federal employment laws.”

The TWC holds this conference two times a year to reach out to as many people as possible from all over the state.

“We want to give employers the resources they need so they can grow their business and continue to operate and expand and not be worried about whether or not they’re in compliance,” Hughs said. “There are so many laws and regulations they need to stay ahead of, and we’re trying to be a resource to help them so they can focus on their business. We found it to be incredibly helpful to employers to navigate all the myriad rules and regulations that they need to stay ahead of.”

Darla McCuen, co-owner of Kookie Haven, attended the conference before the grand re-opening of her bakery in July. McCuen and her family started a bakery in Mesquite and are now in the process of moving to the Bishop Arts area. She attended the conference because her bakery will soon hire employees from outside of the family.

“We’re trying to learn the rules and regulations, because we want to make sure that we’re in compliance,” McCuen said. “We want to make sure we’re following the rules, and it’s just a world of information.”

Between sessions, McCuen spent some one-on-one time with one of the guest speakers, William (Tommy) Simmons. One of the main topics Simmons talked about during the conference was wage and hour law.

“That topic is always on our agendas at every Texas Business Conference because pay related questions are the most frequently asked,” Simmons said. “We get more questions about wage and hour law than probably any other topic.”

During the conference, TWC provides attendees with a copy of a reference book, Especially for Texas Employers. The book provides information on employment issues.

“I think the main benefit from being at a conference like this is employers have a chance to find out that there are actually people available at the workforce to help them as employers and who want to help them and make sure all their questions get answered,” Simmons said.

The workforce receives about 1,200 calls a month. Employers can call Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1-800-832-9394.

“I think one of the greatest things is that we have access to them,” McCuen said. “We can call them and they’ve given us their phone numbers. The way it’s presented makes it feel like we can reach out to them. We can call them and they’ll answer our questions. I think that’s going to be the greatest benefit that I leave with today, because there’s so much information.”

Opportunities add up in the world of accounting

Army veteran and North Lake College graduate Wesley Wilson experienced a life-changing moment on a battlefield in Afghanistan in September 2011. His convoy had just been ambushed; fortunately, he escaped injury. Once back on base, he decided he was ready to move on with his life.

“It put everything in perspective. I thought: if I’m going to live my life, what’s the best thing I could do? What do I really want?” Wilson asked himself. “First thing, I wanted a family, but I didn’t want the military life.”

Wilson left the Army, moved to Texas and enrolled at North Lake to study finance, but after talking to friends and family, he decided to major in accounting instead.

“I liked the idea of a better work-life balance that a job in accounting offered,” Wilson said. “Being a financial advisor meant selling a lot, meeting clients after hours, and bringing in new clients. I wanted something more stable where I could work from 9 to 5.”

Careers in accounting add up

Numbers for the Dallas-Fort Worth indicate that Wilson should find the accounting job he wants in the area. In March 2016, more than 4,200 accounting positions were posting (non-duplicated), according to EMSI. The Dallas-Fort Worth area added 8,400 accounting and auditing jobs between 2001 and 2015 alone.

In the U.S., the number of jobs for accountants and auditors climbed 10.9 percent between 2001 and 2015; in the DFW region, that number grew 29.6 percent during the same period. And in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the median hourly earning is $33.31 per hour, compared to $32.20 per hour nationally.

Wilson, who worked in graphic design in the Army, took his first accounting course in 2014 at Brookhaven College and enjoyed it. He enrolled in his second accounting class at North Lake with faculty member Stephanie Swaim.

“She’s a great instructor,” Wilson said about Swaim. “We did practical exercises, and she taught me what I would be doing as an accountant.”

Swaim, who also studied at North Lake before she became an instructor at the college, said students in accounting need to learn that what they are studying matters on a day-to-day basis, so she tries to find context in the material she teaches.

“If you’re just studying something, you have no idea what it’s about. You have no concept of how you might use the information, and it becomes difficult to learn it,” Swaim said. “If I just tell them how to apply the material, it’s difficult to absorb it, so I try to bring context and relevance to the material.”

Swaim said every business needs accounting, and she compared businesses to sports. “Every sport has a score, and accounting is score-keeping for business. You figure out how much is coming in and how much is going out. If students can think about accounting in the way you keep score in business, then they can compare statistics, just as they do in baseball,” she said.

Credentials are critical

Accounting is a very client-driven business, according to Swaim, and accountants “need to be collegial and detail-oriented. If anything slips through the cracks, it can generate significant errors,” she said.

Wilson’s Army experience as a graphic designer prepared him for a career in accounting.

“It taught me to think outside the box, how to talk to people and to be diplomatic,” Wilson said.

“In accounting, you can ‘get it’ or you can learn it, and some students just ‘get it,’” Cencelia Pierre, an accounting faculty member at Mountain View College, said. She added that she knew from early on that accounting was for her, and she can tell when students “get it.”

“They see how credits and debits work. They have a good work ethic, and that ethic in academia carries over into their work,” Pierre said. “I love students who walk into my office, because those are the students who have a keen interest in learning. Students who seek me out, ask for help and ask questions–they get it instinctively, or they roll their sleeves up to get it.”

Wilson said the firefight he was in was an “eye-opening experience. Every time I left the base, I would think about what I wanted to do with my life. It put everything in perspective.” He found his passion in accounting and hopes to start a family in the future, too.

For more information about the accounting programs at North Lake and Mountian View colleges, contact Stephanie Swaim at sswaim@dcccd.edu or Cencelia Pierre at cpierre@dcccd.edu.

SOURCE Dallas County Community College District

Hispanic professionals reach out to impact education at high school, college level

The National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) announced its new strategic plan to address the changing educational and professional needs of young Hispanics during its 2015 NSHMBA Academy & Job Fair in Dallas on Feb. 20. NSHMBA CEO, Manny Gonzalez, explained the organization is extending its focus to reach beyond the MBA community to undergraduate and high school-level students and other entrepreneurial audiences.

“For 26 years, our work has focused on advancing Hispanic leadership and career opportunities for Hispanic MBAs through higher education and professional development,” Gonzalez said. “While this remains an important directive for our organization, we recognize that in order to significantly improve Hispanic educational attainment, we must reach students earlier.”

With Hispanics expected to account for 60 percent of U.S. population growth between 2005 and 2050, Hispanic success in education and in the labor market is of immediate and long-term importance to the nation’s economy. A key aspect of the organization’s renewed mission is focused on expanding NSHMBA’s current and new programs to undergraduate students through the creation of university chapters. Initially, NSHMBA will be targeting universities in Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas/Ft. Worth.

“At the end of the day, it is not just about Hispanics,” Gonzalez said. “It’s about America. It’s about your children’s, children’s, children’s neighborhoods. It’s about having the best country in the world, and the best environments for our families to thrive.

“For me, being Hispanic is not only a privilege, it’s a responsibility. We have a deep responsibility to make our country better.

“The only way that we can take the next step is by looking at our community in a more strategic manner. The [high school] dropout rate in [the Hispanic] community is three times as bad as our White counterparts. So we have to start looking at the problem there.

“Only 49 percent of [Hispanic] high school graduates go to college, so half of our community that graduates from high school does not continue their education. Out of that, half (46 percent) is going to community colleges. I am not saying that community colleges are a bad way to get into college,” he said. “It is more accessible financially to go to community college with hopes to transition into a four-year institution. The problem is that it doesn’t happen.

“Only 13 percent of those high school kids who went to college graduate with a bachelor’s degree. That is a problem. We are perfectly aligned to make a difference. Every single one of our 30,000 members has successfully gone through that process and graduated.

“We’ve been very successful at delivering our mission to become the premier, Hispanic, business professional organization. But now, because of the needs of our community, our mission has changed. Our new mission is to empower the Hispanic business professional to achieve full educational, economic and social potential,” he said.

As the Hispanic population has risen in America, their presence in the highest levels of the country’s corporate structure has continued to lag. To ensure a brighter future for corporations and those who will work for them in the future, NSHMBA is committing to encourage young people to dedicate themselves to years of additional schooling, which will require these young people to think about the world differently than their parents’ generation did.

“When you look at the labor force, Hispanics are overall 60 percent of the population, but only about seven percent of the top jobs in corporate America are held by Latinos,” NSHMBA board member Manuel Delgado said. “When you look at corporate boards of directors, the numbers are even worse. Only three percent of corporate board seats are held by Latinos. Eighty-five percent of Fortune 500 companies have zero Latinos on their boards.

“When you look on the other side, 40 percent of new workers, 40 percent of people entering the workforce in the US are Latinos today. So there is a big disconnect,” he said.

Since 2004, Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships to NSHMBA members.

“We understand the vital role that quality education plays in unleashing the leadership potential of Hispanic students, so we have formed this long-standing partnership with NSHMBA to support their mission today and in the future,” said LaTanya Johns, Director of Graduate Career Services at the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University. “We are proud to be part of the historic unveiling of NSHMBA’s new strategic vision.”

While higher education will remain deeply engrained in NSHMBA, the new strategic plan will add an aggressive corporate partners’ strategy to accelerate the community’s advancement through entrepreneurship, internships and corporate placements.

“NSHMBA stakeholders, including more than 350 U.S. corporate partners, have a growing interest for a broader pipeline of Hispanic talent across the overall educational spectrum. These same companies are looking to us for a more efficient and effective way to communicate with candidates,” Gonzalez said.

One of the ways NSHMBA will connect Hispanic business professionals with its corporate partners is through its mentorship and internship programs – matching mentees and internship applicants with mentors and companies, respectively, in order to thrive in a mutually beneficial relationship with NSHMBA actively involved.

$5,000 reward offered for Most Wanted sex offender from Fort Worth

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has added Randy Hofstetter, 28, to the Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offenders list, and a cash reward up to $5,000 is now being offered for information leading to his capture. Hofstetter has a violent criminal past, and is wanted for failure to register as a sex offender, probation violation and parole violation. All tips are guaranteed to be anonymous. 

Hofstetter’s last known address was in Fort Worth and he has ties to other cities in Tarrant County, including Arlington, Keller and Hurst. He also has ties to Sulphur Springs (Hopkins County). Hofstetter has been known to seek employment through temporary staffing agencies. His criminal history includes aggravated sexual assault of a child, sexual assault and manufacture/delivery of methamphetamine.

Hofstetter is 5’ 7” and weighs approximately 220 pounds. He has multiple tattoos, including a biohazard emblem on the right side of his chest; a portrait of a little girl on the left side of his chest; and “In Loving Memory Paw Paw” on his arm. For more information and updates in the event of his arrest, see his wanted bulletin at: http://www.dps.texas.gov/Texas10MostWanted/SexOffenderDetails.aspx?id=248.

Texas Crime Stoppers, which is funded by the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division, offers cash rewards to any person who provides information that leads to the arrest of one of the Texas 10 Most Wanted fugitives or sex offenders. 

To be eligible for the cash rewards, there are four different ways to provide anonymous tips: 
• Call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477). 
• Text the letters DPS – followed by your tip – to 274637 (CRIMES) from your cell phone. 
• Submit a web tip through the DPS website by selecting the fugitive you have information about, and then clicking on the link under their picture. 
• Submit a Facebook tip at http://www.facebook.com/texas10mostwanted by clicking the “SUBMIT A TIP” link (under the “About” section). 

All calls, texts, e-mails and Facebook messages are anonymous. 

DPS investigators work with local law enforcement agencies to select fugitives for the Texas 10 Most Wanted Fugitive and Sex Offender lists. You can find the current lists – with photos – on the DPS website athttp://www.dps.texas.gov/texas10mostwanted/.

Do not attempt to apprehend these fugitives; they are considered armed and dangerous. 

SOURCE: Texas Department of Public Safety

Competition gives students practical engineering experience (RESULTS)

Precisely crafted, one-of-a-kind, radio-controlled, model aircraft took off from a miniature airstrip at Thunderbird Field in Mustang Park along the southern shore of Benbrook Lake on March 29-30. The aircraft represented thousands of hours of work by members of 72 teams from roughly 65 colleges throughout the western portion of the United States as well as teams from colleges in Poland, India, Bangladesh, Turkey, Canada and Mexico that came together in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Aero Design West competition, hosted by Lockheed Martin.

The aircraft were divided into three classes. Each team’s final score was a composite of the aircraft’s five flight scores, combined with the team’s previous scores for a written design report and oral presentation on their aircraft.

“The Greater Class sums up payload, which may be as much as 25 pounds per flight,” said Tom Blakeney, the event director. “Each time they fly, it adds to their score.

“Micro Class is a smaller airplane, which is graded on both how much weight they carry relative to the airplane, as well as the amount of payload they carry in each flight. It is a scoring formula which is heavily dependent on how much weight you carry.

“Advance Class airplanes have to carry a three pound sand bag that represents a humanitarian package drop. They have to hit a 100-foot target with a three pound sand bag, send back video to guide them in to drop it, and they have to have telemetry on board that records the altitude they dropped the payload from. They also have to make a successful takeoff and landing. If everything works, that is a scoring flight. If they miss any one thing, they get a zero. Advance Class is very tough,” he said. “They have to do the full hat trick.

“We’ve had one successful Advance Class flight out of 30 or 40 today. Last year at this field, there were none who could do it. Last year we were East, West was in Los Angeles. There was one team in LA that did it. Right now, this is only the second time in the history of the new Advance Class event that a team has had a scoring flight.

“All these students are training to be engineers which is great,” Blakeney said. “You’ve got to have all the basics. You’ve got to go to class. You’ve got to learn your trade, but that is not enough in this day and time. Once an engineer goes through college and gets his degree, he has to go out into industry and get a job. He is going to have to design things, arrange to have things built, trouble shoot things, work as a member of a team and learn to make presentations and reports. This event is a perfect microcosm of training for an engineer. It makes them do the stuff they will have to do once they get out into the real world.

“Lockheed Martin feels this event is one of our most valuable recruiting tools. You can see a team that really shines at this and has some great young engineers. We’ve hired some of them to work for us and they typically work out extremely well.”

At the end of the first day of flying, all the buzz was about Missouri University of Science and Tech’s team, Advanced Aero Vehicle Group, which was the only scoring Advance Class team of the day.

“We performed very well last year, but we never got a flight score,” said Emily Dierkes, a fourth year mechanical engineering student in the five year program who served as the team’s chief engineer. “So we took what worked well last year and built upon it. Our success comes from fantastic aerodynamics, to be honest. Testing everything prior to ultimately manufacturing the design also helped.

“Design-wise, we are all very experienced in this. It is always challenging to try something new. Construction has been the biggest learning area for us,” Dierkes said. “Personally, I learned how to manage people I learned how to work with different people. Ultimately, keeping to a schedule was the biggest challenge.”

Despite the day’s frustrations, the members of team Astra from Hindustan University in Chennai, India were all very optimistic about the competition.

“It is a passion to have come all the way here to compete in Advance Class competition,” said Douthan, a junior in aeronautical sciences and the leader of team Astra. “It is the first time we are competing in this competition.

“This is a simple and practical way to learn more about aeronautics,” Douthan said. “We cannot build full scale airplanes, but in this case we can build UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). UAV systems are used for multiple objectives. This plane carries a payload which could be used for multiple options. We have learned a lot about aerodynamics and stability based on this experience.

“This is an international forum. We get to interact with a lot of international people and teams from all over the world,” Douthan said. “We have a chance to learn a lot from other teams, because everyone has their own approach to the challenge.”

A longtime model airplane enthusiast and member of the Thunderbirds Radio Control Club, Randy Rodgers volunteered to help with the event.

“(Through an interest in) aviation is where all our scientists, engineers and astronauts come from now,” Rodgers said. “Model aviation is real important to our country right now, because we are hurting for scientists.

“This event is incredible. I love seeing young people getting interested in this. Drones will be our future, and that is what they are building. I saw some really good stuff, and I saw some really primitive stuff. But all of it worked. The technology is a little edgy right now as far as telemetry. Most of the planes had telemetry problems. There were a few structural failures, but most of it was electronic,” Rodgers said.

Click here for West Competition results.