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Lawmakers Congratulate NYSID for “40 Years of Looking Forward”

NYSID is grateful to our New York State and Congressional leaders for sending their congratulatory wishes as we celebrate “40 Years of Looking Forward.” Here are the complimentary words we received for member agencies and corporate partners in counties we featured in June.

NYS Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh/Mt. Pleasant): “I applaud NYSID for its tireless work in helping to create an environment in New York where people with disabilities can live fulfilling lives and contribute to society. It has been and will be my priority to make sure organizations like NYSID have the State’s full support so they can continue to help our most vulnerable citizens –– people with special needs.”

NYS Senator George Amedore (R/C/I-Rotterdam): “NYSID does great work pairing New Yorkers with disabilities with employers who are in need of workers. Not only are their efforts helping our local economies, they are making a positive impact on so many workers with disabilities. I congratulate NYSID on 40 years of great service, with many more to come.”

NYS Senator John J. Bonacic (R/C/I-Mt. Hope): “I would like to extend my congratulations and thanks to the entire staff and membership –– past and present –– of NYSID on its 40th anniversary. NYSID has been doing excellent work advocating for individuals with disabilities throughout the state. Nothing raises self-esteem more than doing meaningful work, and being a welcome part of the community. NYSID has done an outstanding job ensuring our family members with disabilities are not forgotten.”

Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19), Battle Buddy Center supporter: “NYSID provides invaluable guidance and support to organizations across our region, and I am delighted to recognize their four decades of good work. My staff and I deeply appreciate NYSID’’ advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities, including our wounded warriors. These partnerships strengthen our communities and empower people to realize their full potential.”

NYS Senator Betty Little (R/C/I-Queensbury): “Having a job provides a purpose, giving people a reason to get up and get going and a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. It has been my pleasure to support the work of NYSID and I congratulate them on 40 years of helping New Yorkers with disabilities find employment. Each and every day, they make a difference in the lives of people who need and deserve assistance. This wonderful partnership changes lives for the better and strengthens our communities.”

NYS Senator Thomas O’Mara (R/C/I-Big Flats): “Congratulations to everyone at New York State Industries for the Disabled as you celebrate your 40th Anniversary in 2015. Most importantly, on behalf of my entire 58th Senate District throughout the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, thank you for your incredible commitment to creating meaningful jobs for our local citizens with disabilities. Your efforts, and their hard work, continue to make admirable and important contributions to the quality and success of so many of our communities and employers.”

NYS Assemblyman Robert Oaks (R/C-Macedon): “New York State Industries for the Disabled has created jobs for New Yorkers who might otherwise have difficulties in finding meaningful employment opportunities. This group of constituents have benefited greatly from the statewide network of community rehabilitation agencies and private sector business partners with NYSID. I am proud that this organization has helped prove how valued these New Yorkers are to their communities.”

Since January, NYSID has recognized our member agencies and corporate partners, county by county, to demonstrate your human service support and economic impact within communities across New York State. We couldn’t have done it without YOU!

Thanks again to our member agencies and corporate partners as we’ve highlighted NYSID Preferred Source job creation across New York State –– and for helping us celebrate “40 Years of Looking Forward.” Stay tuned for more details on how we’re celebrating our 40th anniversary in the months ahead!
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NYSID Employment and Intern Opportunities

NYSID is seeking an Accounts Receivable Specialist.

Duties include verifying and reviewing member agency and customer invoices, and correcting discrepancies. Three - five years exp. in a book keeping or accounting function required. Assoc. degree preferred. Proficiency with computerized accounting systems and attention to detail essential. Great Plains Dynamics exp. a plus. Candidate should have ability to manage multiple tasks in a high volume work environment. Competitive salary. Excellent benefits. EOE. Resume and salary requirements to: NYSID Human Resources, 11 Columbia Circle Dr., Alb., 12203 or email administrator@nysid.org.
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NYSID Veterans’ Summit Features Heroes at Home, Team Rubicon

NYSID hosted its quarterly Veterans’ Summit on June 3 at its Albany office, with attendees traveling from the North Country, downstate New York and across the Capital Region for the event.

Summit participants include New York State government agencies, not-for-profits, veterans’ service organizations, Wounded Warriors, institutions of higher learning, and rehabilitation organizations, including NYSID members.

Presenters included:

Amy Molloy, acting administrative director and founding member and Chris Vejvoda, peer support mentor, Heroes at Home: PFC Joseph Dwyer Peer Support Program for Veterans and Military Families. This New York State-funded project is dedicated to ensuring a healthy and successful reintegration for all members of the military and their loved ones by addressing issues related to post traumatic stress; building resiliency, fostering hope and encouraging connectedness; and reducing stigma and preventing suicide.

Marc Denofio, NYS communications coordinator, Team Rubicon USA, a disaster response organization that unites the skills of veterans and civilians, and aids in bridging the gap for returning veterans. Team Rubicon seeks to provide veterans with three ideals they seek after leaving the military: a purpose, gained through disaster relief; community, built by serving with others; and self-worth, from recognizing the impact one individual can make.

“Heroes at Home has been attending the Veterans’ Summits hosted by NYSID for the last few years. It’s always wonderful to connect with familiar partners, meet new ones, and learn more about the many great resources for veterans and families across New York State,” Molloy said. “The group is supportive of one another’s missions and we always leave the Summits feeling energized, inspired and eager to work harder and more creatively to ensure that our military and veterans are getting the care and support that they so deserve. Thank you, NYSID, for all the hard work that goes into organizing these Veterans’ Summits!”

“The NYSID Veterans’ Summit was a wonderfully engaging event. It is nice to present to a group that is informed, interested and committed to their mission,” Denofio said.

Dan Casale attended the Summit on behalf of NYS Senator Kathy Marchione, R/C-43, member of the NYS Senate Committee on Labor. Others Summit attendees included: Kenneth Williams, director of the Division of Service Disabled Veterans’ Business Development within the New York State Office of General Services; and Todd Rosenfield, project manager with the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs.

“NYSID conducts its quarterly Veterans’ Summits to provide an in-person clearinghouse for individuals and organizations supporting veterans with disabilities in New York State,” said Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO. “Through this information exchange, we foster collaboration and networking and advance the cause of identifying jobs for veterans with disabilities, particularly as the number of returning veterans with disabilities increases.”

NYSID supports job creation efforts for a diverse group of New Yorkers with disabilities through a statewide network of 166 community rehabilitation agencies and private sector business partners and assists with veterans’ support programs, promoting quality of life for veterans as they reconnect to the New York State workforce.
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Assembly, Senate and Congress Continue Complimenting NYSID

NYSID is grateful to our New York State and Congressional leaders for sending their congratulatory wishes as we celebrate “40 Years of Looking Forward.” Here are some of the complimentary words we’ve received thus far.

Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R/C-Canandaigua): “For 40 years, NYSID has given thousands of New Yorkers with disabilities the opportunity to work and succeed. I’ve seen the positive impact first-hand in my Assembly district where, thanks to the efforts of NYSID and their network of partners, individuals have meaningful employment. The work is never finished and I will continue to do my part in Albany to support policies that will create more employment opportunities. NYSID deserves congratulations for four decades of tireless work and service to our communities.”

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced the passage of an extensive package of bills on May 11 that would increase access to services and improve the quality of life for New Yorkers with disabilities. Assembly Minority Leader Kolb and Speaker Heastie were joined by the Task Force on People with Disabilities Chair David Weprin, Mental Health Committee Chair Aileen Gunther, Ranking Minority Member of the Committee on Mental Health Steve Katz and the rest of the Assembly in celebrating the annual Assembly Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day.

NYS Senator George Amedore (R/C/I-Rotterdam): “NYSID does great work pairing New Yorkers with disabilities with employers who are in need of workers. Not only are their efforts helping our local economies, they are making a positive impact on so many workers with disabilities. I congratulate NYSID on 40 years of great service, with many more to come.”

NYS Senator Hugh T. Farley (R/C/I-Schenectady): “I am pleased to congratulate New York State Industries for the Disabled on its 40th anniversary. As a long-time supporter of NYSID, I am well aware of the important and valuable work that you do in the community. Your organization has had a very positive impact on the lives of persons with disabilities. In addition, your efforts have helped employers and the public recognize and appreciate the skills and abilities of persons with disabilities. Again, congratulations on this anniversary and best wishes for continued success in the future.”

NYS Senator Thomas O’Mara (R/C/I-Big Flats): “Congratulations to everyone at New York State Industries for the Disabled as you celebrate your 40th Anniversary in 2015. Most importantly, on behalf of my entire 58th Senate District throughout the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, thank you for your incredible commitment to creating meaningful jobs for our local citizens with disabilities. Your efforts, and their hard work, continue to make admirable and important contributions to the quality and success of so many of our communities and employers.”

NYS Senator James L. Seward (R-Oneonta), NYSID’s 2014 Preferred Source Champion Award co-recipient: “NYSID is a remarkable organization that positively transforms lives on a daily basis. The individuals with disabilities employed through NYSID are left with a sense of pride and self-worth that is immeasurable. I have had the pleasure to meet many of these success stories and have been truly overwhelmed. My congratulations to NYSID on 40 momentous years. I look forward to our continued partnership and your unwavering success.”

NYS Senator Michael Venditto, (R/C/I-Massapequa): “Congratulations to New York State Industries for the Disabled for celebrating its 40th anniversary. NYSID is a very important partner that helps support job creation efforts for a diverse group of New Yorkers with disabilities through a statewide network of 166 community rehabilitation agencies and private sector business partners. In Suffolk County alone, NYSID was able to place 235 New Yorkers with disabilities who worked over 209,000 employment hours in 2014! Once again, I congratulate NYSID on its 40th anniversary.”

Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19), Battle Buddy Center supporter: “NYSID provides invaluable guidance and support to organizations across our region, and I am delighted to recognize their four decades of good work. My staff and I deeply appreciate NYSID’s advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities, including our wounded warriors. These partnerships strengthen our communities and empower people to realize their full potential.”

Congressman Paul D. Tonko (D-20), NYSID’s 2014 Preferred Source Champion Award co-recipient: “Congratulations to New York Industries for the Disabled, Inc. on 40 years of advocacy to advance employment opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities. Your work has a tremendous impact on individuals and families across New York State. During my personal visits to your worksites, I have met dozens of committed employees who could not wait to share the joy of their assignment with me. Each one understood the value and dignity of the work that they were doing –– and wanted nothing more than to continue that work with their co-workers and friends. In an era when our society gets too preoccupied with individual accomplishment or short-sighted successes, be they in Wall Street, sports or even politics, it is refreshing to know that these employees and worksites exist and that organizations like New York Industries for the Disabled are there to support them. My best wishes for another 40 years of sharing and success.”

NYSID continues recognizing our member agencies and corporate partners, county by county, to demonstrate their human service support and economic impact within communities across New York State as part of our 40th anniversary celebration.

Keep an eye out for your organization on our social media and blog, as we highlight NYSID Preferred Source job creation across New York State –– and thanks for helping us celebrate “40 Years of Looking Forward.” We couldn’t have done it without YOU!
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NYSID Dedicates Battle Buddy Centers in Rockland, Westchester

NYSID recently dedicated its newest Battle Buddy Centers at Rockland Community College (RCC), in collaboration with Jawonio, Inc., and Westchester Community College, in collaboration with AHRC New York City and American Maintenance.

Battle Buddy Centers are safe havens for veterans to socialize with their fellow veterans and receive services they need. Based on the military concept of a “Battle Buddy,” which partners soldiers to assist each other both in and out of combat, Battle Buddy Centers offer activities to encourage camaraderie and foster veterans to provide mutual support.

Participants in the RCC Battle Buddy Center dedication ceremony included: Andy Grosso, NYSID vice president, business development; Paul Quirini, NYSID outreach & communications specialist; James Haggerty, NYSID veterans’ consultant; Dr. Cliff L. Wood, RCC president; Jonathan Barnwell, RCC coordinator of veterans affairs; Michele Curtis, Karen Genua, Diana Hess and Sheri Muth from Jawonio; and RCC student veterans.

Participants in the Westchester Community College Battle Buddy Center dedication ceremony included: Paul Quirini and James Haggerty, from NYSID; Dr. Belinda S. Miles, Westchester Community College president; Joshua Gaccione, Westchester Community College veterans program administrator & VA certifying official; Michael Decker, Steve Towler, Salvador Moran and Wayne Thomas from AHRC New York City; Chris Alex, from American Maintenance; and Westchester Community College student veterans.

“NYSID supports job creation efforts for a diverse group of New Yorkers with disabilities through our member agencies and assists with veterans’ support programs, promoting quality of life for veterans as they reconnect to the New York State workforce,” Grosso said. “We recognize that creating educational and employment opportunities for service-disabled veterans and other New Yorkers who face barriers to employment is not only the right thing to do, it also improves our state’s economy and strengthens our communities.

“NYSID supports Rockland Community College and Westchester Community College in assisting veterans achieve success personally, academically and professionally. Based upon the current veteran population and the anticipated growth of veterans’ programs and services, NYSID is pleased to partner with Rockland Community College, Westchester Community College, Jawonio, Inc., AHRC New York City and American Maintenance in these Battle Buddy Centers.”

The Battle Buddy Centers will continue to enhance the student veteran experience at Rockland and Westchester community colleges by encouraging academic and personal achievement, providing information specific to their status as veterans, and creating a common ground for them to associate with one another.

“The new Battle Buddy Center is an on-campus home for our student veterans that allows them to interact with fellow vets, study, partake in social or recreational activities, or just relax in the sun-filled space,” Jonathan Barnwell said. “This repurposed room, a former greenhouse, underscores RCC’s commitment as a military-friendly campus.”

Rockland Community College is a 2014 Military Friendly School whose students have formed a Student Veterans Association for those who served on active duty, are in the Armed Forces, or Reservists. The Veterans Office at RCC provides multiple services to students who have served in the military or who are eligible for survivor’s benefits.

“Our student veterans are important to us and we are honored that NYSID has designated our Veterans Resource Lounge as a Battle Buddy Center,” Dr. Belinda S. Miles said. “Hundreds of veterans attend the college in order to help make their transition to civilian life easier. We are proud to be able to help them continue their education and we encourage them to reach their goals of contributing to the regional economy as productive members of the local workforce, just as they contributed to the well-being of all of us through their military service.”

Westchester Community College’s Veterans Resource Office is committed to providing veterans and reserve component personnel, as well as active duty, family members, and dependents, the support they need through a variety of programs and services, intended to make a seamless transition into the college environment.

NYSID’s Battle Buddy Centers have collectively hosted more than 20,000 visits by veterans since September 2011. Battle Buddy Centers are made possible through grant funding from NYSID and support from NYSID member agencies.

In addition to RCC and Westchester Community College, NYSID has participated in the opening of Battle Buddy Centers at the following six locations: John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City; SUNY Adirondack in Queensbury; Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson; SUNY Ulster in Stone Ridge; Hudson Valley Community College in Troy; and Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango.

NYSID supports job creation efforts for a diverse group of New Yorkers with disabilities through a statewide network of 166 community rehabilitation agencies and private sector business partners and assists with veterans’ support programs, promoting quality of life for veterans as they reconnect to the New York State workforce.
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Kudos From Leaders, In the Halls of NYS Legislature and Beyond 

NYSID is grateful to our New York State and Congressional leaders for sending their congratulatory wishes as we celebrate “40 Years of Looking Forward.”

On April 22, NYSID and its CREATE Symposium participants were recognized by NYS Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, NYS Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and NYS Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry on the floor of the New York State Assembly.

We were honored to be acknowledged for CREATE (Cultivating Resources for Employment with Assistive Technology), an initiative that brings undergraduate and graduate engineers from colleges and universities across New York together with NYSID community rehabilitation agencies.

NYS Assemblyman Michael DenDekker and NYS Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther also greeted our contingent. NYSID also thanks NYS Senator Cathy Young and NYS Senator Kathy Marchione for supporting CREATE and participating in our first Symposium at the NYS Legislative Office Building.

Here are additional complimentary words we’ve received for our 40th anniversary thus far:

Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19), Battle Buddy Center supporter: “NYSID provides invaluable guidance and support to organizations across our region, and I am delighted to recognize their four decades of good work. My staff and I deeply appreciate NYSID’s advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities, including our wounded warriors. These partnerships strengthen our communities and empower people to realize their full potential.”

Congressman Paul D. Tonko (D-NY), NYSID’s 2014 Preferred Source Champion Award co-recipient: “Congratulations to New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc. on 40 years of advocacy to advance employment opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities. Your work has a tremendous impact on individuals and families across New York State. During my personal visits to your worksites, I have met dozens of committed employees who could not wait to share the joy of their assignment with me. Each one understood the value and dignity of the work that they were doing –– and wanted nothing more than to continue that work with their co-workers and friends. In an era when our society gets too preoccupied with individual accomplishment or short-sighted successes, be they in Wall Street, sports or even politics, it is refreshing to know that these employees and worksites exist and that organizations like New York State Industries for the Disabled are there to support them. My best wishes for another 40 years of sharing and success.”

NYS Assemblyman Will Barclay (R/C/I-Pulaski): “Oswego Industries, Inc. plays an important and unique role in Oswego County. NYSID’s support of Oswego Industries, Inc. helped private sector businesses partner with reliable and skilled workers, and create jobs in our county. I’m pleased to have Oswego Industries in our community.”

NYS Senator John J. Bonacic (R/C/I-Mt. Hope): “I would like to extend my congratulations and thanks to the entire staff and membership –– past and present –– of NYSID on its 40th anniversary. NYSID has been doing excellent work advocating for individuals with disabilities throughout the state. Nothing raises self-esteem more than doing meaningful work, and being a welcome part of the community. NYSID has done an outstanding job ensuring our family members with disabilities are not forgotten.”

NYS Senator James L. Seward (R-Oneonta), NYSID’s 2014 Preferred Source Champion Award co-recipient: “NYSID is a remarkable organization that positively transforms lives on a daily basis. The individuals with disabilities employed through NYSID are left with a sense of pride and self-worth that is immeasurable. I have had the pleasure to meet many of these success stories and have been truly overwhelmed. My congratulations to NYSID on 40 momentous years. I look forward to our continued partnership and your unwavering success.”

NYS Senator David Valesky (D/IP-53-Oneida): “Congratulations to NYSID on 40 years of service to New Yorkers with disabilities. I am impressed by the number of workers and the employment hours contributed through NYSID to the local workforce. The organization provides a valuable service not just to workers with disabilities, but to our local economy in job fulfillment as well.”

Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R/C-Canandaigua): “For 40 years, NYSID has given thousands of New Yorkers with disabilities the opportunity to work and succeed. I’ve seen the positive impact first-hand in my Assembly district where, thanks to the efforts of NYSID and their network of partners, individuals have meaningful employment. The work is never finished and I will continue to do my part in Albany to support policies that will create more employment opportunities. NYSID deserves congratulations and for four decades of tireless work and service to our communities.”

NYS Assemblyman John T. McDonald III, (D-108): “For over 40 years, NYSID and the many agencies and partners have created ideal employment opportunities for many New York residents who have disabilities. The efforts of many have changed the lives of those with disability by recognizing their ability which has brought prosperity to their lives and that of others. Additionally, the efforts of NYSID and those they serve have fortified our communities in many ways. I look forward to continuing the working relationship we have as we move through the next 10 years to celebrate what will be a Golden time in the history of NYSID.”

NYS Assemblyman Kenneth P. Zebrowski (D-New City): “I’d like to congratulate New York State Industries for the Disabled (NYSID) for 40 successful years of providing employment opportunities and enriching the lives of individuals with disabilities. NYSID works closely with organizations throughout the state, especially with Rockland County’s own Jawonio Inc. I have been very involved with Jawonio and am proud of their efforts and contribution to job creation and overall support for the disability community.”

Keep an eye out for your organization on our social media and blog, as we highlight NYSID Preferred Source job creation across New York State –– and thanks for helping us celebrate “40 Years of Looking Forward.” We couldn’t have done it without YOU!
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As NYSID continues its 40th anniversary celebration, we acknowledge our member agencies and corporate partners for creating meaningful employment for New Yorkers with disabilities throughout our 40-year history. We couldn’t have done it without YOU!

We’re highlighting these organizations, county by county, to demonstrate their human service support and economic impact within communities across New York State.

In Orange County, 132 New Yorkers with disabilities worked 129,596 employment hours on Preferred Source contracts in 2014! Thanks to Access: Supports for Living Inc. (formerly Occupations, Inc.) and Unitex Rental Textile Services for their job creation efforts.

Victoria Ortiz from Access is one of 59 Joslin Outstanding Performers nominated by NYSID member agencies and corporate partners in 2014. She is currently employed by Access on several Department of Transportation (DOT) contracts held with NYSID. Victoria began her association with Access in 2000 seeking clinical services. With these supports in place, she began working in the Scotchtown work center on a fast-paced bottle-filling operation, where she remained for nine years.

She then applied for a contract worker position at the DOT Rest Area contract and has worked there for the past four years. Victoria is part of Access’ snow team and has learned to use snow blowers and shovels, and has even spent the night on location, to ensure that the customer was getting the service they require when road conditions prohibit travel.

NYS Senator John J. Bonacic (R/C/I-Mt. Hope) said: “I would like to extend my congratulations and thanks to the entire staff and membership –– past and present –– of NYSID on its 40th anniversary. NYSID has been doing excellent work advocating for individuals with disabilities throughout the state. Nothing raises self-esteem more than doing meaningful work, and being a welcome part of the community. NYSID has done an outstanding job ensuring our family members with disabilities are not forgotten.”

Congratulations to Victoria and thanks to our member agencies and corporate partners in Orange County for helping us celebrate “40 Years of Looking Forward.” Keep an eye out for your member agency or corporate partner in the weeks and months ahead, as we highlight NYSID Preferred Source job creation –– county by county –– across New York State!
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National Partner in Job Creation Responds to Latest Trends

The State Use Programs Association (SUPRA), the principal national membership organization of State Use (i.e., Preferred Source) contracting agencies, recently submitted comments on proposed rules relating to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

President Obama signed WIOA into law on July 22, 2014, to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers needed to compete in the global economy.

NYSID is a member of SUPRA along with 27 other states, representing more than 700 Community Rehabilitation Organizations (CROs) that provide employment and training opportunities to at least 40,000 people with disabilities.

SUPRA’s comments to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan address regulations pertaining to the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program, the State Supported Employment Services Program, and Limitations on Use of Subminimum Wage.

“We salute the Department of Education’s initiative in developing these regulations, recognizing they attempt to strengthen the alignment between Vocational Rehabilitation Programs and other Workforce Programs throughout the nation,” the SUPRA letter states. “In addition, we believe that in general these new regulations will empower individuals with disabilities to maximize economic self-sufficiency and create new benchmarks for independence, inclusion and integration into society.”

Here’s more about what SUPRA says in response to WIOA and its potential ramifications. http://supra.cc/docs/wioa_regulation_comment_letter_150622.pdf
The State Use Programs Association (SUPRA), the principal national membership organization of State Use (i.e., Preferred Source) contracting
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NYSID Proudly Sponsors Assistive Living Technologies Conference

Individuals with disabilities and senior citizens comprise the most rapidly growing segment of the U.S. population. There is a great need and potential for new products, technologies and services allowing for these individuals to remain independent in their own homes.

On June 1, the inaugural Assistive Living Technology (ALT) Conference at the University at Albany School of Business offered opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators to connect with a dynamic team of business, healthcare and tech leaders focused on assistive technologies.

NYSID was the live stream sponsor of the event, a collaboration between Living Resources New York and the University at Albany – SUNY Center for Advancement & Understanding of Social Enterprises (CAUSE).

Attendees had access to information, resources, and networks to support innovators and entrepreneurs to develop products and services for this market.

Charles Steiner, executive director, Capital Region Chamber welcomed attendees and offered opening remarks. Fredrick Erlich, CEO of NYSID member agency Living Resources, and Dr. Paul Miesing, founding director, University at Albany – SUNY CAUSE, served as emcees for the event.


John Robinson, managing partner and CEO, Our Ability, delivered the opening keynote. Our Ability is a USBLN Disability-Owned Business Enterprise (DOBE) specializing in diversity inclusion messaging, disability etiquette and video production.

Our Ability produces the inspiring award videos shown during NYSID’s Annual Meeting. Robinson has made it his life’s work to ensure that individuals with disabilities receive equal employment benefits and opportunities. Over the past five years, Our Ability has worked with individuals, non-profits, and large corporations to facilitate better employment outcomes for those with disabilities. Robinson recently built Our Ability Connect, an individual digital profile service that promotes future employment for people with disabilities through mentor networking, social engagement and personal empowerment.

NYSID has served as major sponsor and video sponsor for Robinson’s “Journey Along the Erie Canal,” an ambitious, two-week, adaptive bicycle journey across upstate New York along 365 miles of the historic Erie Canal. Robinson also has been honored at the White House as a recipient of the “Disability Employment Champions of Change,” individuals who have done extraordinary work to make workplaces more accessible and to create employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Among the panel discussions at the ALT Conference were:

“What’s the Problem? The Opportunity of Healthcare, Demographics and Dollars,” with Dave Smingler, government affairs, Ellis Hospital; John Murray, president, chairman and CEO, Rose & Kiernan, Inc.; Mark Kissinger, associate director, NYS Department of Health

“What’s the Solution? Innovation & Innovators,” with Geoff Cooper, president & CEO, Carasolva; Dr. Jonas Braasch, assistant professor, School of Architecture, RPI; Dr. Jonathan Muckell, Department of Information, University at Albany; Peter Raymond, CEO, Human Condition, LLC

“Getting it Done: Finance & Entrepreneurial Considerations,” with Bob Schwartz, founder and chairman, Schwartz Heslin Group, Inc.; Rick D’Errico, managing director, NYBizLab and public relations director, Transfinder; Michael Shimazu, associate VP of business partnerships and economic development, University at Albany

Dr. Robert Geer, senior vice president, Polytechnic Institute, delivered the afternoon keynote. He has overall strategic and operational responsibility for the education and outreach programs at SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering campus in Albany and the Utica-Rome campus in Marcy, formerly, the SUNY Institute of Technology. Geer’s focus at SUNY Poly is expanding its role and impact, especially across New York State, as a model for 21st century higher education, technology innovation, and economic development.

The closing plenary session featured: Greg Wellems, COO, director of business development, Imagine; Kevin Leyden, senior vice president for Business Development & Strategic Partnership, Albany Medical Center; and Mike Fancher, associate professor of Nanoeconomics, SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany, a NYSID member agency was one of several exhibitors at the ALT Conference.
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NYSID Ensures Continued Employment in Wake of FEGS’ Closure

NYSID has ensured the continuation of services and the retention of employment for hundreds of workers with disabilities on dozens of Preferred Source contracts across the New York City Metropolitan area, in the wake of a fiscal crisis that forced the recent closure of Federation Employment & Guidance Service (FEGS) in New York City.

New York Nonprofit Media http://nynmedia.com/news/nyn-daily-5-27 and The Saratogian http://inthebizcolumn.blogspot.com/2015/05/nysid-ensures-continued-employment-for.html have each publicized our story.

In January 2015, with a deficit of $19.4 million, FEGS, a non-profit health and human services organization founded in 1934, announced that it was closing operations and subsequently filed for Chapter 11 relief in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. FEGS is a NYSID member agency that performed services on many NYSID contracts under the Preferred Source Program.

Upon learning of the FEGS shutdown, NYSID has worked diligently to successfully transition all contracts previously performed by FEGS to other NYSID member agencies. All of the individuals with disabilities employed on these contracts retained their positions.

These contracts included 232 employees, 10 NYSID member agencies and 11 corporate partners, performing such services as: janitorial and grounds maintenance; document destruction; laundry; landscaping; windows; mail; miscellaneous; inventory; and reproduction. No services were interrupted, and no workers lost their jobs through the transfer of FEGS contracts.

“Although NYSID is disappointed to see the closure of a longtime member agency such as FEGS, we are proud to have maintained employment for hundreds of New Yorkers with disabilities on dozens of Preferred Source contracts,” said Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO. “These individuals provide incredible examples of how much New York State benefits by having a workforce that is inclusive of persons with disabilities.”
NYSID has ensured the continuation of services and the retention of employment for hundreds of workers with disabilities on dozens of Prefer
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Support #B4Stage4 During Mental Health Awareness Month in May

Did you know that it typically takes 10 years from the first time someone has mental health concerns until they get a correct diagnosis and proper treatment?

In May, we celebrate National Mental Health Awareness Month, which raises awareness about mental health issues and related issues in the United States.

The theme for 2015 is “B4Stage4,” which focuses on how people can address their mental health early, rather than at “Stage 4,” when symptoms are more severe, and recovery a longer process.

In recent years, attitudes toward mental health issues have evolved; negative attitudes and stigmas associated with mental health have changed; and there has been growing acceptance toward individuals with mental health issues.

NYSID celebrates the efforts of Mental Health America (MHA) and our member agencies and corporate partners to help create more inclusive communities for individuals with mental health issues.

Several of our 2014 William B. Joslin Award recipients have overcome mental health issues to become successful, satisfied workers on NYSID Preferred Source contracts. Read their stories at http://www.nysid.org/documents/joslin/2014_joslin_performers_book.pdf.

Prevention, early identification, and intervention, and integrated services work #B4Stage4. Help support MHA’s #B4Stage4 Campaign.

Thanks so much for your assistance and your continued support during National Mental Health Awareness Month and throughout the year. For more information on mental health and how to raise awareness, visit http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net.
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Bottle redemption, clothing shelving, portable wheelchair access, and adaptive material measuring and cutting machinery were just a few of the assistive technologies on display at NYSID’s first CREATE Symposium at the Legislative Office Building (LOB) in Albany.

The April 22 event showcased prototypes and videos of assistive technology projects designed to increase productivity and improve livelihoods of New Yorkers with disabilities.

CREATE (Cultivating Resources for Employment with Assistive TEchnology) is an initiative sponsored by NYSID that brings undergraduate and graduate engineers from colleges and universities across New York State together with NYSID community rehabilitation agencies.

Student engineers have the opportunity to put their knowledge to use in the context of a “real-life” experience during their academic year-long project. In collaboration with NYSID’s not-for-profit rehabilitation centers, these student teams and rehabilitation centers identify projects that can improve the productivity of workers with disabilities. CREATE also serves to educate students on the employment challenges faced by New Yorkers with disabilities.

The following colleges and universities participate in CREATE: Clarkson University, Binghamton University, Manhattan College, and SUNY Maritime College. These colleges and universities work with the following NYSID member agencies on CREATE projects: Lifespire, Fedcap, AHRC New York City, Goodwill Industries of Greater New York & Northern New Jersey, ACHIEVE, and St. Lawrence ARC.

Among the CREATE projects currently underway:

Clarkson University/St. Lawrence ARC: bottle redemption technology
Manhattan College/Lifespire: clothing shelving system and optimal chemical dispenser

Binghamton University/ACHIEVE: adaptive material measuring and cutting device

SUNY Maritime/Goodwill Industries of Greater New York & Northern New Jersey: portable wheelchair access ramp

SUNY Maritime/AHRC New York City: recycled paper handling optimization and floor buffer controllability improvements

SUNY Maritime/Fedcap: conformal coating optimization
Manhattan College/Institute for Career Development: job interview training interface

SUNY Maritime/YAI-The Corporate Source/Broadview Networks: production maximization

NYSID was honored to have NYS Senator Catharine Young and NYS Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara address Symposium participants and attendees.

In addition, Assemblyman Santabarbara, NYS Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, and NYS Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry recognized NYSID and CREATE participants on the floor of the NYS Assembly. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2rwhte6INY

NYS Assemblyman Michael DenDekker and NYS Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther also greeted the NYSID contingent.

“CREATE offers undergraduate and graduate student engineers the opportunity to put their knowledge to use in the context of practical, hands-on experience and encourages assistive technology innovation for New Yorkers with disabilities,” said Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO. “These new, inspiring technologies and devices remove barriers from the workplace by increasing productivity and improving lives and livelihoods.”

Dr. Joe Levert, curriculum leader for mechanical engineering and associate professor of mechanical engineering at SUNY Maritime College, has worked with CREATE since its inception in 2012, and co-authored a white paper about CREATE for the American Society for Engineering Education.

“CREATE is a great learning experience for students,” Levert said. “Service-learning, exemplified by CREATE, is recognized as one of the most effective forms of experiential student learning –– the learning which best enables graduates to adapt and contribute in our rapidly changing world. Sooner or later, we’re all called to do our part in service to society. CREATE was based on that generous notion of mutual help –– not profit. It’s a win-win-win scenario where people at member agencies are enabled to work, students learn richly, and NYSID advances its goals of outreach.”

Thanks to our New York State legislators, student engineers, and NYSID member agencies for CREATE-ing change by Cultivating Resources for Employment with Assistive Technology.

For more information on CREATE, visit: http://www.createnysid.net.
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Introduction

NYSID is the leading source of job opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities. We make gainful employment possible for this dedicated and highly qualified workforce through New York State's Preferred Source Program, which was created by Section 162 of the New York State Finance Law.

Rehabilitative agencies throughout New York, who support individuals with disabilities, choose to become members of NYSID. On behalf of these members and often in conjunction with private sector associate members, NYSID enters into contracts with state and local government agencies for services and goods which are then performed by this workforce. Examples of such goods are custodial products, custom apparel, and health care supplies, and our business services range from document imaging, to janitorial and groundskeeping, to industrial laundry, electronics recycling, mailing, and others.

Over 7,000 jobs are created annually by NYSID through the Preferred Source program, which not only give dignity and sense of purpose to New Yorkers with disabilities but also satisfy the procurement needs of our state and local government agencies.

NYSID is grateful to have been able to serve New Yorkers with disabilities since 1975 and humbly reflects on "40 Years of Looking Forward."