Winnebago Ind. Earns Iowa Job Honors Award

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June 14, 2014 by   Comments Off on Winnebago Ind. Earns Iowa Job Honors Award

(L-R) Winnebago's Matt Mason, personnel recruiter; Gary McCarthy, personnel supervisor; and Susan Gardner, personnel Recruiter

(L-R) Winnebago’s Matt Mason, personnel recruiter; Gary McCarthy, personnel supervisor; and Susan Gardner, personnel recruiter

Winnebago Industries Inc. was the recipient of the Iowa Job Honor Awards, a new initiative aimed at recognizing Iowans who have overcome significant barriers to employment. 

Kyle Horn, founder and director of the awards, describes his motivation to launch the initiative: “Our society celebrates lottery winners, celebrities and professional athletes. Yet if these are the only paths to self-sufficiency, then most Iowans will never escape poverty. It’s time for a new kind of hero.”

According to a press release, nominations were submitted via the organization’s website,, and judged by a statewide panel. Gary McCarthy, Winnebago personnel supervisor, was on hand for the award presentation during the Iowa Association of Business and Industry annual conference on June 11. Several hundred Iowa business leaders assembled in Cedar Rapids’ Paramount Theatre to witness the ceremony, in which biographical videos described the honoree’s efforts to win life-changing jobs.

In the employer category, T&D Repair in Burlington and Winnebago of Forest City were honored for their commitment to hire disadvantaged candidates. According to McCarthy, “Our employees are very loyal, hardworking, and dependable. Because of their struggles, they really value their job.”

One such honoree is Yvonne Rodriguez of Sheldon. Trapped in a life of poverty and lacking marketable skills, Rodriguez pursued training in her struggle to gain financial independence for her family. She’s now employed as an optometrist assistant at Eye Care Center in Sheldon, where her employer credits her with attracting new customers through community involvement and bilingual skills. 

Each employee honoree received a $500 cash award and engraved trophy.

Honoree Yvonne Rodriguez believes perseverance is the key for struggling jobseekers. “Always believe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” she urges, “There will be a day you wake up and say ‘This is the life I’ve been wanting.’”

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