United Way of Denton County officials challenged business leaders Friday to consider giving to the organization as a way of improving their own workforces.
The 2012 campaign kicked off Friday on the campus of Texas Woman’s University with thanks and appreciation to everyone involved, including campaign teams, pace-setting partners and board members, and put the message out there that all donations, no matter how small, benefit the community.
“We are investing in ourselves, in the labor force we need now and in the future,” said Lisa Wiborg, director of human resources for Peterbilt Motors Co.
Wiborg referenced a recent community assessment study the United Way conducted in Denton County and encouraged everyone to look at it. She said the study and the needs outlined in it related directly to a recent hiring drive Peterbilt had undertaken.
For example, she said, 15 percent of adults in the community do not have a high school diploma. A requirement of working for Peterbilt is a high school diploma, so a number of potential employees were turned away immediately.
The assessment also found that the need for affordable, flexible day care in Denton County outweighs the supply.
Wiborg said the lack of reliable child care resulted in many potential employees being turned away because they could not work the company’s fluctuating schedule.
“Don’t just look at it as people who aren’t you,” Wiborg said of the assessment. “Think ‘how does our community affect you and your business?’ Look at it as helping yourselves because that is what you are really doing.”
The 2012 campaign video did not feature anyone impacted by United Way donations this year. Instead, it reiterated the United Way’s mission and answered some of the common concerns, such as feeling that donations are not big enough to do any good and wondering whether people in need are receiving help.
Closing the luncheon, United Way President and CEO Gary Henderson echoed the final statements in the video, advising people to “not underestimate what the smallest donation can do.”
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is email@example.com .