By Micaela Myers
Beth Jones, originally from Cheyenne, Wyo., has been working as an office aide at the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND) at the University of Wyoming for nine years. Jones says the best part of her job is all the people she meets: “I get to see people, and the people like me.”
“Beth is the sweetest person I know—I have known her for many, many years,” says Carol Rowles, an accounting associate at UW. “She can always put a smile on my face.”
Jones, who has a cognitive disability, rides the bus to work each afternoon. She enjoys her independence. “I don’t like anybody doing everything for me,” she says. At UW, her duties include running errands on campus for WIND, helping with shredding documents, and keeping the production room and other areas at WIND organized.
Jones enjoys traversing campus on her daily deliveries. “I walk to each building,” she says, noting that walking to Coe Library is one of her favorite spots.
Jones considers herself outgoing and enjoys meeting new people and talking to them, making the job particularly suited to her.
“I work in the accounting office in Old Main where Beth delivers the WIND documents every day,” says UW accountant Nancy Courtney. “We all enjoy our visits from Beth in our office. She knows everyone by name and always says a big, happy ‘Hello’ to each one as she passes them.”
“Beth is always a ray of sunshine when she comes to our office,” adds Marilyn Johnson, UW payroll specialist. “She often compliments one of us on one thing or another, and she will not hesitate to introduce herself to someone new.
“She is very conscientious about doing her job,” she continues. “We should be a very proud university community to employ a diverse group of people that includes wonderful individuals like Beth.”
The Arc, a national advocacy organization, reports: “The majority of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are either unemployed or underemployed, despite their ability, desire and willingness to engage in meaningful work in the community.”
UW aims to help change that with an initiative to hire more people with disabilities, as well as veterans. “We take our hiring statement seriously, including the emphasis on equal opportunity. That vision for diversity in the workforce has always included veterans and people with disabilities as well as the other groups who are underrepresented,” says Mandy Watson, recruitment supervisor for UW’s human resources office. “UW’s commitment to this effort will be a continuing process of gathering resources for outreach, training and implementing best practices. Diversity is such an important piece to UW, as it expands the quality of services and the experiences we can provide to our community by enriching our workforce.”
This hiring initiative aligns nicely with WIND’s mission “to assist individuals with developmental and other disabilities and their families by promoting and supporting full community inclusion, community membership, independence, productivity and social participation.”
Jones is indeed independent, productive and active in the community. When she’s not working, she is often busy attending Cowboy and Cowgirl basketball games as a season ticket holder. “[I’ve been a fan] since I moved here 11 years ago,” Jones says.
“We enjoy chatting with Beth about her love of the UW Cowboy and Cowgirl basketball,” Courtney says. “I don’t think she’s missed many games since I’ve known her. She is a true UW fan.”
Jones is also a big fan of rock ’n’ roll. “I like to listen to music,” she says. “I like the Beatles, Elvis Presley and The Rolling Stones, and I like The Animals.”
Jones has made a big impression with her co-workers. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Beth for the past two years, and it has been a joy,” says Brandy Leigh Brummond, a senior office assistant at WIND. “She shows up to work every day with a positive attitude and always shows kindness to everyone around her.”
One of the 10 Cowboy Ethics adopted by UW is “Take pride in your work.” Beth Jones exemplifies this principle with her positive attitude and dedication as a UW staff member.