IFB Solutions recognizes new graduates of Business Essentials program

Guilford College Professor Michael Dutch congratulates Business Essentials graduate Anastasia Powell

IFB Solutions recognizes new graduates of Business Essentials program
April 20
11:34 2023

IFB Solutions recognized nine employees as graduates of its innovative Business Essentials program. Designed to expose participants to the core elements of business, the Business Essentials program is a cornerstone of IFB’s commitment to upward mobility. IFB  President and CEO Dan Kelly characterizes upward mobility as the ability of employees to advance in their positions and careers through access to additional training and skills-building. He credits upward  mobility for IFB’s decades-long success as the largest employer of people who are blind or visually impaired in the country, and as a pathway to the organization’s future.  

“IFB is experiencing significant growth across our professional services where education and business knowledge is key,” said Kelly. “We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of long-time IFB board  member and supporter John Googe for initiating the partnership with Guilford College and establishing an endowment that makes it possible for IFB employees to receive this business education for years to  come.” 

Googe, who founded Flex-Pay Business Services in Winston-Salem, is a 1950 graduate of Guilford  College. He attended the Business Essentials graduation ceremony at IFB and encouraged those in  attendance to keep learning. 

“I want to congratulate this outstanding class of graduates. I can’t think of anything more important than the ongoing pursuit of knowledge.” 

Michael Dutch, a professor of business management at Guilford College, has been leading IFB’s Business Essentials program since it started in 2018. To date, 44 IFB employees have completed the program representing almost 10% of its workers who are blind or visually impaired. In his graduation  remarks, Dutch highlighted the high-level of participation from the students that extended and contributed to a dynamic learning experience. “This program simply gets better every year, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be leading such an inspiring group of students.” 

According to IFB, almost one-third of its employees come to the organization for their very first job. This is why the organization places heavy emphasis on training and ongoing programs like its Visionaries in  Public Speaking club and the Business Essentials curriculum. On a national level, employment statistics for people who are blind or visually impaired are bleak – approximately 70% of working-age adults who are blind are not employed. 

“At IFB, our mission is to create life-changing opportunities for people who are blind, and an important way we are accomplishing this is through training, education and employment,” said Kelly. “On behalf of the  IFB board and leadership team, I want to congratulate this year’s class of Business Essentials graduates for a job well done. You exemplify the importance and value of upward mobility as part of IFB’s successful future for decades to come.” 

IFB Chief Financial Officer Jason Moser and HR Project Specialist/Recruiter Brent Burkholder joined Kelly and Dutch in presenting each employee with a Business Essentials program certificate. The graduates  were:  

*Bobby Ashworth joined IFB in 2021 and works as a machine operator in the marker department. 

*Demarious Bowens joined IFB in 2011 and works as a credit collections clerk in the finance department. Bowens is IFB’s first employee who is blind to work in finance.  

*Kim Flanagan joined IFB in 2018 and works as the Youth Program Coordinator at IFB’s Little Red Schoolhouse in Winston-Salem.  

*Jason Kirkpatrick joined IFB in 2003 and works as a supply chain analyst.  

*Liz Lopez joined IFB in 2015 and works as a buyer for IFB’s Base Supply Center division. 

*Amy Maher joined IFB in 2021 and works as a machine operator in the vinyl department. 

*Skyler Mejia joined IFB in 2015 and works as a machine operator in the staple department. 

*Anastasia Powell joined IFB in 2005 and serves as communications manager in the marketing  department. 

*Robin Raymond joined IFB in 2022 and works as a staff accountant in the finance department. 

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