Governor’s Committee On People With Disabilities Announces 2023 Lex Frieden Employment Award, Poster Competition Winners

October 19, 2023 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

The Office of the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD) today announced the winners of the 2023 Lex Frieden Employment Awards (LFEA) and Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) Poster Art Competition. The LFEA and DEAM Poster Art Competition coincide with Disability Employment Awareness Month recognized each October in Texas.

"Our lives are not defined by how we are challenged, but rather, how we respond to that challenge," said Governor Abbott. "After my life-altering accident that left me paralyzed 39 years ago, I made the decision to not let my life be defined by the enormous challenge that I faced. In Texas, there is freedom and opportunity for everyone—including the 5.4 million Texans with a disability. Together, if all Texans band together for disability employment awareness, we will foster a brighter, more inclusive Texas for everyone who calls our great state home. I congratulate the winners of this year's Lex Frieden Employment Awards and DEAM Poster Art Competition for their work and advocacy for Texans with disabilities across our state."

Named in honor of disability rights champion Lex Frieden, the LFEA are bestowed upon Texans who have displayed a commitment to empowering their employees, co-workers, and fellow Texans with disabilities.

2023 Lex Frieden Employment Award Winners:

Large Employer: The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Medium Employer: TrueHarvest Farms, LLC (Belton)

Small Employer: Nacho’s Restaurant Cantina & Grill (San Angelo)

Nonprofit Employer: Upshur County Public Library (Gilmer)

Entrepreneur of the Year: Christian’s Cookie House (Pharr)

Martha Arbuckle Award: Valley Association for Independent Living (McAllen)

Governor’s Trophy: Dr. Lidia Fonseca (McAllen)

As part of Disability Employment Awareness Month, GCPD and the Texas Workforce Commission partner each October to promote the Texas HireAbility Campaign to raise awareness about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities and highlight the contributions of people with disabilities in the workforce.

Through the Texas HireAbility campaign, thousands of DEAM posters are distributed to Texas employers and businesses featuring original work from outstanding Texas artists, along with their picture and personal statement. The artwork featured in the annual Texas HireAbility poster is decided through GCPD’s DEAM Poster Art Competition. “A Unique Vision” by Victor Vera (Plano) is the 2023 DEAM Poster Art Competition Winner.

LFEA and DEAM Poster Art Competition winners will be honored during the Texas HireAbility Employer Forum and the Lex Frieden Employment Awards ceremony, which will be held in-person on Thursday, October 26, 2023 from 9:30 AM – 2:00 PM in Edinburg.

Register for the 2023 Texas HireAbility Employer Forum and Lex Frieden Employment Awards here.

The LFEA are part of Texas' celebration of Disability Employment Awareness Month and the Texas HireAbility Campaign to promote the full employment of Texans with disabilities.

Learn more about the Texas HireAbility Campaign.