TRINITY STUDENTS CREATE DEVICES TO HELP GOODWILL TEAM MEMBERS, LIGHTHOUSE FOR THE BLIND OVERCOME CHALLENGES IN THE WORKPLACE
Designs include solutions to help operate equipment, automate assembly processes
SAN ANTONIO (May 6, 2015) — Goodwill team members could get specially adapted equipment to help them perform jobs thanks to Trinity University engineering students whose class projects are helping workers overcome challenges in the workplace.
For more than 10 years, Goodwill has partnered with Trinity to allow students to get practical experience designing products for real-world applications in Goodwill’s operations. Program goals are to help people with disabilities perform their jobs more safely, easily and efficiently.
Media are invited to a special event featuring student project presentations:
- WHEN: Thursday, May 7, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.
- WHERE: Trinity University Campus, the Center for the Sciences and Innovation (CSI) building, Room 282.
Parking is available either on Oakmont (street parking), or in visitor spots along the inner parking drive segment that is located north of Rosemont (after you enter Trinity through the Oakmont entrance, take an immediate left and pass in front of CSI building). Campus map: http://bit.ly/1zIs3cB
Goodwill will decide at a later date which projects are feasible for use in the field. The focus on overcoming disabilities is critical as more than 87 percent of Goodwill’s Contract Services team members have significant disabilities. On May 7, student presentations will include the following projects, among others:
- Hand-operated utility vehicle – A modified, gas-powered utility vehicle operates using hand-controls only. The system incorporates a lever-operated brake and a motorcycle handlebar-style throttle control.
- Baling wire spools – A special lift allows employees with lower back pain to safely and easily transport and mount large clothing bales into position on their fixtures for use in baling operations.
"This program has proven to be an effective teaching tool, but it also develops practical solutions that we implement in our everyday operations," said Mark McKeever, Goodwill’s Vice President of Contract Services.
Examples of previous designs in practice through Goodwill operations include:
- A blinking light system for a weed eater to alert hearing-impaired associates when a crew lead needs their attention.
- An extended pole that reaches up high in trees to paint cut-off branches.
- Lights that attach to a hat and come on automatically when entering a dark room. This leaves hands free to perform maintenance activities.
"One of the major goals in the class is to compel students to design using universal principles that will enable all people, regardless of ability or disability, to be able to use a particular object," added Jack Leifer, Ph.D. and Trinity University associate professor of engineering science.
New for 2015, Trinity University is partnering with the Lighthouse for the Blind to design solutions for the visually impaired population. Lighthouse design projects include a modified lead transfer apparatus that allows workers to assemble mechanical pencils more easily as well as a clip dispenser that includes an automated process for positioning clips.
About Goodwill Industries of San Antonio
Serving San Antonio since 1945, Goodwill San Antonio is a Section 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that helps change lives through the power of work. When you shop or donate at Goodwill, you’re funding educational programs and services that assist people in finding better jobs and building careers. Together with the support of our generous community, partners and employers, Goodwill provides employment, training, educational opportunities and related services to more than 50,000 individuals each year. In addition to operating 18 retail stores, more than 25 donation stations and 12 Good Careers Centers in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Seguin, Laredo and surrounding areas, Goodwill operates 3 Good Careers Academies and manages 17 contracts for the U.S. government for services ranging from document management to grounds maintenance.