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ETCOG Happenings – February 2024

ETCOG is Seeking Nominations for

Regional Service Awards

The East Texas Council of Governments is proud to honor exceptional individuals and organizations who have made a significant difference in the East Texas region. Our annual regional awards program recognizes and celebrates the outstanding achievements of those who have contributed to the betterment of East Texas.

We are seeking nominations from the public for our five annual awards, including:

  • Regional 1st Responder of the Year
  • Regional Citizen of the Year
  • Regional Corporate Citizen of the Year
  • Regional Statesmanship Award
  • Regional Committee Service Award

We encourage you to visit our website at

www.etcog.org/2023-regional-awards-nominations and nominate someone who significantly impacted the region in the calendar year 2023. Nominations will be accepted through the close of business on Friday, February 23.

The awards ceremony will be held on March 21, 2024, at the ETCOG Semi-Annual Board of Directors Meeting in Marion County. Let us come together to celebrate the achievements of these remarkable individuals and organizations!

ETCOG Board members and special guests are encouraged to attend. RSVPs are requested by Wednesday, March 13, 2024, and can be made at

www.etcog.org/open-meetings.

Nominate

ETCOG Announces Digital Design Partnerships

We’re excited to share our latest website design projects for several East Texas partners! At ETCOG, our collaborative approach with members and organizations focuses on identifying and implementing cost-efficient solutions. It’s an honor to be part of these initiatives, and we anticipate great success for everyone!

Learn More

Breaking Barriers: A Story of Overcoming

Obstacles in the Workplace

We are delighted to share a heartwarming tale that captures the spirit of transformation. Meet Holly Cole, a participant in the On-The-Job Training (OJT) program offered by Workforce Solutions East Texas (WSET). Holly’s journey began at a local event, where she connected with WSET staff while staying at the House of Hope, a shelter for women experiencing homelessness. Eager for change, Holly enrolled in the WIOA program, seeking a career path that promised stability and independence. However, a significant obstacle loomed large – the absence of reliable transportation.

In the face of this challenge, Shametrice “Mimi” Easter, WSET Work Experience Coordinator, emerged as a guiding light for Holly. Mimi took on the task of finding suitable OJT opportunities within walking distance of Holly’s home, demonstrating a commitment to overcoming the transportation barrier many East Texans face. Holly expressed her gratitude, stating, “Mimi has been a blessing to me during this process. She’s helped me in any way she possibly could.”

The community, including Holly’s colleagues and ministry members, rallied to purchase her a retired company vehicle. Beyond the vehicle, they assisted with the necessary paperwork, transferred it into Holly’s name, and covered the initial insurance costs.

For anyone struggling with a barrier to employment, help is available. We offer no-cost services for employers and job seekers in East Texas. We want to help you prepare for, locate, and obtain jobs and careers that suit your strengths, lifestyles, and goals. We’d like to invite you to connect with WSET and ask about our services by visiting one of our many workforce centers, access point sites, or mobile units or seek virtual assistance by calling 1-844-ETWORKS. Find out more at www.easttexasworkforce.org.

Best Practices for Safer Internet Day

The digital realm is evident in our daily lives, impacting personal, professional, and educational areas. Kids nowadays master touch screens before they can articulate sentences, diving into various digital realms. However, this pervasive online presence raises serious security concerns and cyber threats. This concern showcases the importance of Safer Internet Day, a global movement urging everyone to pitch in for a safer online world.

If your organization needs assistance building a plan for secure online practices, our dedicated team is here to help. We understand the dynamic nature of cyber threats and can provide tailored solutions to safeguard your organization’s digital assets. Contact ETCOG’s Regional Technology Solutions team today, and let’s collaborate to ensure a safer and more resilient digital future for your organization.

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Unlocking Opportunities: COGWORKS’ New

Contracts Bring Value to Your Agency

We are thrilled to announce the latest developments at COGWORKS, our purchasing cooperative dedicated to empowering East Texas agencies through collective strength. At COGWORKS, our mission is to facilitate collaboration and negotiation on behalf of our members, enabling you to access top-quality products and services at competitive prices.

Here’s a glimpse of the new contracts available:

  • Office Products, Furniture, Equipment, and Supplies:
  • Access vendors with a comprehensive range of office essentials, furniture, and equipment to optimize your workplace.
  • Teaching Aids, Materials, Equipment, Misc.:
  • Enhance your educational environment with specialized teaching aids, materials, and equipment for effective learning experiences.
  • Child Care Products, Furniture, Equipment:
  • Ensure a safe and nurturing environment for children with a selection of child care products, furniture, and large-scale play equipment.
  • Drone Products, Equipment, and Services:
  • Explore cutting-edge drone technology with a contract that provides access to a variety of drone products, equipment, and related services.

How to Explore the New Contracts:

  • Visit our website, www.cog-works.org, to explore the newly available contracts.
  • Connect with Our Team: If you have any questions or need assistance in joining COGWORKS or navigating the contracts, our team is here to help. Contact us via phone or email, and we’ll be happy to guide you through the process.
View Contracts

Local Enforcement Workshop Set for

February 13

To equip local elected officials and officers with the necessary tools and knowledge, we are pleased to announce the “Comprehensive Local Environmental Enforcement” workshop on February 13, 2024, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be hosted at the East Texas Council of Governments, located at 3800 Stone Road, Kilgore, TX 75662.
Sign me up!

We’re Seeking Partners to Celebrate

Older Americans Month

As Spring approaches, we are thrilled to announce the 2024 Older Americans Month (OAM) theme – “Powered by Connection.”

Led by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), this annual observance aims to recognize and honor the valuable contributions of older Americans. The chosen theme emphasizes the profound impact that meaningful relationships and social connections have on the health and well-being of our elderly population.

This year, the Area Agency on Aging of East Texas (AAA) is proud to join the nationwide celebration by hosting a series of events throughout May in our 14-county region.

In the spirit of collaboration, we invite local organizations to partner with us in hosting events that foster connections, share experiences, and promote the well-being of older Americans. The AAA is at the forefront of this effort, seeking host organizations to make a meaningful impact. If you or your organization is interested in being part of this initiative, we encourage you to reach out to Nellie Henry at nellie.henry@etcog.org.

Learn More

GoBus Announces 2023 Driver Awards

Transportation is more than just moving people from one place to another; it’s about the dedicated individuals who ensure a safe, reliable, and friendly service throughout our 14-county region. During our yearly celebration, GoBus took a moment to honor and recognize drivers who go above and beyond to serve East Texas. The awards below spotlight the exceptional skills, dedication, and professionalism that make our transit system thrive.

Congratulations to our 2023 award winners:

  • Bus Operator of the Year – Larry Lister
  • Transportation Service Appreciation – Jessica Cooks
  • PRN Service Appreciation – Jeff Williams
  • Rising Star Award – Tangela Jackson

Thank you to not only these individuals but the entire GoBus team for your efforts in making our community connected and accessible!

Project Launch: Developing a Local Enforcement Environmental Crimes Toolkit

ETCOG is excited to announce the collaboration with Carson Consulting, spearheaded by Cecile Carson, Ph.D., to develop a comprehensive Local Enforcement Environmental Crimes Toolkit. With over three decades of experience in partnering with local, state, and national organizations, Dr. Carson brings a wealth of expertise in creating litter and illegal dumping kits, training materials, and researching effective litter law enforcement practices.

We encourage our members to anticipate the forthcoming resources. Dr. Carson will initiate outreach to local enforcement officers in the coming weeks. For those with questions or want to learn more about this project, contact our Economic Development Specialist, Lisa Smith, at 903-218-6467 or lisa.smith@etcog.org.

Learn More

East Texas Council of Governments

(903) 218-6400

www.etcog.org

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