As researchers and leaders at the Employment and Training Institute (ETI) of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Lois Quinn and John Pawasarat have been key voices about some of the most pressing social dilemmas Milwaukee faces. In recognition of their extensive contributions to the community’s understanding of issues such as mass incarceration and employment barriers for African American males, Wisconsin Community Services, Inc. (WCS) presented each with a “2015 Friend of the Friendless Award.”
“John and Lois have worked tirelessly to bring issues of injustice, and inequality to the forefront,” said WCS Associate Executive Director Clarence Johnson. “The extensive and thoughtful research they have provided over the years has served and will continue to serve as a foundation for improving public policy for those in our community whose voices are not always heard or acknowledged.”
Dr. Lois Quinn is a senior scientist at ETI. Quinn has played an instrumental role in the community dialog around the mass incarceration report that she co-authored in 2013. Her principal research work focuses on supporting the assets of central city youth and families, and she has authored reports that produce data-supported new approaches to achieve goals with greater effectiveness and efficiency.
John Pawasarat has been the director of ETI since 1988. John is one of the foremost researchers about employment barriers in the nation, focusing on the confounded employment challenges faced by persons who have been involved in the criminal justice system and by persons who have a suspended or revoked driver’s license for reasons not relating to safety.
“Few people are as knowledgeable and dedicated to the truth as John and Lois,” said WCS Director of Policy and Research Nichole Yunk Todd, “Their research and perspectives are invaluable to making our community stronger.”
According to WCS Executive Director Holly Patzer, the Friend of the Friendless Award was established by WCS in 2001 to recognize persons and/or agencies that have shown a long-term commitment to meeting the needs of those considered ostracized from the mainstream of the community. “Both Lois and John have demonstrated this commitment professionally and personally and we are honored to present this award to each of them,” Patzer said. Past awardees include: Steve Swigart, Kit & Joel McNally; E. Michael McCann; Tyrone Dumas; Rev. Joseph Ellwanger; Gwen Moore; Attorney Robin Dorman and Milwaukee Police Department Officer Steve Krejci.