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Ramonita Morales Named 2015 Joslin Award Co-Recipient

Ramonita Morales, a custodian with The Osborne Association in the Bronx, has been named a 2015 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipient.

Ramonita’s story is compelling, for despite enduring significant challenges with a history of substance use and an extended period of incarceration before her return to the workforce, she has emerged as a reliable and diligent contributor to Osborne’s Janitorial Maintenance Business, as well as an exemplary motivator to the rest of its staff.

In Ramonita’s five years of service with Osborne, her swift promotion to a position of leadership within Janitorial Maintenance Services has had little to do with luck, and much to do with her competence, skill in working with others, and aptitude for learning. “I’ve learned so much throughout my transitions, from porter, then an opportunity to become an experienced porter, and now I’m a crew chief.”

Fifteen New York City and Long Island residents with disabilities are among 60 statewide Joslin Outstanding Performers recognized through New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc’s. (NYSID) annual people-centered awards program.

In its 12th year, NYSID’s Joslin Awards Program has recognized nearly 600 Outstanding Performers, and awarded 15 of those individuals with the final William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award.

In addition to Ramonita, the Outstanding Performers for 2015 from New York City and Long Island are:

Gerard Acer, Jawonio (New City), custodial

Mark Bolton, PSCH (College Point), porter

Marcia Drummond, Goodwill Industries of Greater NY & Northern
NJ/GoodTemps (Astoria), clerical

Samantha Jones, Access: Supports for Living (Middletown), porter

Alkebulan (Al) Ladson, American Maintenance (Babylon), custodial/maintenance

Ronald McBride, Terranova Fine Landscapes, Inc. (Center Moriches), landscaping

Cristian Muzzio, Arc of Westchester/eDocNY (White Plains), custodial

Lora Pearlman, SullivanArc/Sullivan Industries (Monticello), paper towel assembly

William Skerrett, The Corporate Source (New York City), custodial

Lorraine Thomas, Maryhaven Center of Hope (Port Jefferson Station), document preparation

James Walker, AHRC New York City (New York City), custodial

Corey Wenstad, Fedcap (New York City), custodial

Kevin Woodson, The Rehabilitation Institute/TRI Business & Career
Center (Westbury), building maintenance/hospitality

Daniel Zinke, AHRC Nassau (Freeport), lawn care/snow removal

NYSID also has named Great Neck Public Schools its Local Customer of the Year, and Carlstrom & Ritter in Kings Point its Corporate Partner of the Year.

“NYSID has been turning business opportunities into jobs for New Yorkers with disabilities for 40 years, and we are proud to recognize this year’s group of Joslin Outstanding Performers,” said Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO. “As NYSID celebrates ’40 Years of Looking Forward’ during this anniversary year, these individuals and organizations provide incredible examples of how much New York State benefits by having a workforce that is inclusive of persons with disabilities.”

NYSID will coordinate NYSID Works! A Community “Thank You” Event on Thursday, September 17 to thank New York State for creating jobs for New Yorkers with disabilities –– a celebration of work by working. In appreciation for thousands of job opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities, NYSID will join its member agencies and corporate partners in a day of volunteer service by cleaning parks and beautifying communities across New York State.

The 2015 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipients and all 2015 Joslin Outstanding Performers will be honored during NYSID’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday, September 30 at 5 p.m. at The Saratoga Hilton in Saratoga Springs. That evening, NYSID will conclude its year-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of its founding.

Congratulations to Ramonita and the 2015 Joslin Outstanding Performers from New York City/Long Island. We previously announced the Joslin Outstanding Performers from Central New York, including Michelle Wolfe from The Arc of Madison Cortland/Alternatives Industry, a 2015 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipient.
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Michelle Wolfe, Joslin Outstanding Performance Award Co-Recipient

Congratulations to Michelle Wolfe, a food processing worker with The Arc of Madison Cortland/Alternatives Industry in Oneida, who has been named NYSID’s 2015 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipient.

Michelle is a key player in The Arc’s prevocational program, working in the food processing department or cutting rags on NYSID Preferred Source contracts. She can’t say enough about the food processing work she does for NYSID. “I like to be busy,” she says. Food processing is “active, keeps me moving, it’s more interesting than other jobs, and it pays better.”

Over the years, she has had several jobs, but she says that her current jobs are the best she’s ever had. Michelle also works at Oneida Savings Bank as a cleaner through an Arc community placement program. She loves the bank because they keep her busy and because she gets a sense of accomplishment when she sees that everything is clean and in its place.

Eleven Central New Yorkers with disabilities are among 60 statewide Joslin Outstanding Performers recognized through NYSID’s annual people-centered awards program.

In its 12th year, NYSID’s Joslin Awards Program has recognized nearly 600 Outstanding Performers, and awarded 15 of those individuals with the final William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award.

In addition to Michelle, the Outstanding Performers for 2015 from Central New York are:

Francis Burke, Arc of Onondaga/Monarch Industries (Syracuse), custodial

Beth Carpenter, Jefferson Rehabilitation Center (Watertown), machine operation

Richard Larkin, The Arc of Chemung/Southern Tier Industries (Elmira), custodial

Tihona Lee, Clarus Linen Systems/Atlas Health Care Linen Services (Syracuse), laundry

Julie Lewus, The Arc/Oneida‐Lewis Chapter/Progress Industries (Utica), custodial

Al Penny, JM Murray, (Cortland), janitorial/groundskeeping

Trisha Peters, ACHIEVE/Country Valley Industries, (Binghamton), laundry

Richard Sullivan, Human Technologies Corporation (Utica), custodial

Lanny Willard, St. Lawrence NYSARC/Seaway Industries (Canton), custodial

Manda Mae Wright, The Arc Otsego (Oneonta), light manufacturing
 
“NYSID has been turning business opportunities into jobs for New Yorkers with disabilities for 40 years, and we are proud to recognize this year’s group of Joslin Outstanding Performers,” said Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO. “As NYSID celebrates ’40 Years of Looking Forward’ during this anniversary year, these individuals and organizations provide incredible examples of how much New York State benefits by having a workforce that is inclusive of persons with disabilities.”

NYSID will coordinate NYSID Works! A Community “Thank You” Event on Thursday, September 17 to thank New York State for creating jobs for New Yorkers with disabilities –– a celebration of work by working. In appreciation for thousands of job opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities, NYSID will join its member agencies and corporate partners in a day of volunteer service by cleaning parks and beautifying communities across New York State.

The 2015 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipients and all 2015 Joslin Outstanding Performers will be honored during NYSID’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday, September 30 at 5 p.m. at The Saratoga Hilton in Saratoga Springs. That evening, NYSID will conclude its year-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of its founding.

Congratulations to Michelle and the 2015 Joslin Outstanding Performers from Central New York. Be sure to follow NYSID on our blog and social media as we announce our Joslin Outstanding Performers from New York City/Long Island, the Capital Region and Western New York.
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TRI, American Maintenance Shine at Nassau Community College

The Rehabilitation Institute (TRI), American Maintenance and Nassau Community College are a perfect example of collaboration between a NYSID member agency and corporate partner, satisfaction from a customer, and appreciation from employers and employees alike.

TRI and American Maintenance recently celebrated their one-year anniversary of performing Preferred Source janitorial work at Nassau Community College by hosting a pizza party to show the crew their appreciation for their hard work and dedication on the overnight shift.

The janitorial work crew members, in turn, wrote personal “thank you” notes expressing their gratitude for the opportunity to work.

Nassau Community College is a large, 24/7 contract that employs 20-22 individuals with disabilities in a demanding, fast-paced environment. The work crew is fantastic, and there is a true partnership between TRI and American Maintenance to support and retain the overnight staff.

Harold R. Robinson, janitorial work crew member, wrote: “I was blessed to see TRI and American Maintenance join together to provide opportunities for those who really need it. It is also good to see TRI has proved through the years that they are an organization that truly cares for people and shows it by their actions.”

A fellow work crew member, Alan Caldwell, wrote: “I just want to say I was blessed to be given this chance from TRI and American Maintenance. I won’t let either company down. Thank you all.”

Another worker, Dylan Plakstis, wrote simply and poignantly: “Thank you for giving me my wings and letting me fly.”

For 50 years, TRI has assisted individuals with disabilities in reaching their highest level of independence through the provision of vocational and educational services. These services are designed to assist an individual in identifying personal and professional goals and include vocational assessment, counseling, training, remediation, day habilitation, production, and support services.

This is one of many great examples of exemplary service to an important customer on a NYSID Preferred Source contract. Thanks to TRI, American Maintenance and Nassau Community College, and thanks to all of our member agencies, corporate partners and customers for creating employment opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities!
The Rehabilitation Institute (TRI), American Maintenance and Nassau Community College are a perfect example of collaboration between a NYSID
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Long-Time Member Agency Profile: Goodwill Industries

As NYSID continues its 40th anniversary celebration, we acknowledge some of our long-time member agencies for creating meaningful employment for New Yorkers with disabilities throughout our 40-year history.

In the coming weeks, we’ll highlight these member agencies to demonstrate their human service support and economic impact within communities across New York State. We’ll look back at their early days, update their current success stories, and envision what the future holds.

Today’s member agency is Goodwill Industries of Greater New York & Northern New Jersey, Inc.

NYSID: The slogan for our 40th anniversary is “40 Years of Looking Forward.” What are some of the ways in which your agency has been looking forward and continues to do so?

Goodwill: Throughout its history, Goodwill has looked to the future by being alert to the needs of the community.

In the early 1990s, Goodwill realized that in order to help adults find work, it needed to serve their children. That’s when the agency launched its Youth and Community Services Division, realizing that in order to succeed in placing people in jobs, it had to serve the whole family. Then, when the U.S. government instituted the welfare law in 1995, Goodwill inaugurated workforce development programs to serve welfare applicants and recipients exclusively.

A decade after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Goodwill noticed the large numbers of U.S. veterans returning home after serving abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of them returned home with disabilities or PTSD. Goodwill opened its Operation: GoodJobs to serve U.S. veterans, their spouses and families to help them reintegrate to civil life after the military.

NYSID: When was your agency founded? How many people with disabilities were employed by your agency then and now?

Goodwill: Goodwill Industries of Greater New York & Northern New Jersey, Inc. is celebrating its centennial this year. The first Goodwill in New York was founded in Brooklyn on February 13, 1915. In 1919, St. Paul’s Community House founded a Goodwill in Jersey City. The Brooklyn Goodwill merged with Manhattan Goodwill in 1962 and with Northern New Jersey Goodwill in 1999 to form Goodwill Industries of Greater New York & Northern New Jersey. Goodwill’s beginnings in Brooklyn were such a success that the nationwide movement got its name from the Goodwill in New York.

Today, with headquarters in Astoria, Queens, Goodwill serves 95,000 people and places 8,400 individuals in jobs throughout the metropolitan area annually. In 2014, Goodwill served 12,433 people with disabilities and placed 1,723 people with disabilities in jobs. Of these, 1,148 New Yorkers with disabilities worked 983,570 employment hours on Preferred Source contracts at Goodwill.

In the same period, GoodTemps, its temporary staffing agency, placed 1,188 people with disabilities in jobs. The rest were placed by Goodwill’s Rehabilitation departments and programs that serve U.S. veterans and immigrants and refugees.

NYSID: What jobs do people with disabilities still perform today, as they did years ago? What are some of the newer jobs for this workforce responding to marketplace and technology changes?

Goodwill: People with disabilities continue to sort clothing and household goods to sell in Goodwill stores as they did 100 years ago. Today, the agency places individuals in all types of clerical and office management positions and professional jobs.

Goodwill only sells clothing and household goods in optimal condition. The agency accepts all donations because it wants to help New Yorkers to re-use and re-purpose. However, clothing and household items that do not sell in Goodwill stores goes to its outlet store in Long Island City, Queens, to be sold by the pound. Whatever is not sold there is sold to salvage companies that will turn these materials into carpeting, insulation and other products.

NYSID: How important has your agency’s membership with NYSID been to your longevity and success?

Goodwill: Two factors have helped the agency’s programs succeed in placing individuals with disabilities in jobs: extended supported employment services with job coaching, and educating employers on how individuals with disabilities are reliable workers who contribute to its bottom line and help an organization flourish. In extended supported employment, offering job coaching and developing individualized plans for each of its program participants have helped Goodwill programs succeed.

Membership with NYSID has allowed Goodwill to connect with other nonprofit organizations and to secure contracts for our industries.
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Long-Time Member Agency Profile: J.M. Murray Center, Inc.

As NYSID continues its 40th anniversary celebration, we acknowledge some of our long-time member agencies for creating meaningful employment for New Yorkers with disabilities.

In the coming weeks, we’ll highlight these member agencies to demonstrate their human service support and economic impact within communities across New York State. We’ll look back at their early days, update their current success stories, and envision what the future holds.

Our first member agency is J.M. Murray Center, Inc. in Cortland.

NYSID: When was your agency founded? How many people with disabilities were employed by your agency then and now?

JM Murray: We began as a work center to serve people who were unable to become successfully employed in the community. It was founded by community members and local business leaders because of the value work holds in the lives of all adults. The center remains focused on that same principle today. As Theodore Roosevelt said: “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

JM Murray was founded in 1966 with just six trainees. In 2015, 150 trainees remain in the work center, down from 212. In 2014, 55 New Yorkers with disabilities worked 34,424 employment hours on Preferred Source contracts through JM Murray.

NYSID: In what ways is your agency the same as it was when it was founded? In what ways has it evolved?

JM Murray: Individuals in the work center are there to work. Additional services such as community employment services, Day and Community Habilitation, Family and Individual Support services, MSC and a whole array of services for people who are in receipt of or eligible for TANF have been developed over the years, but they are housed at a different campus.

Every individual in the work center is challenged to move into the community for employment at least twice annually, and all must have a vocational objective to address the obstacles that stand in their way. This practice is not new and certainly not in response to the recent legislation impacting the role that facility-based work plays in the array of services for people with disabilities; it has been the foundation of JM Murray from the very beginning. Its mission is to provide individualized services for people with disabilities or other barriers to independence.

NYSID: What are some of the types of jobs that people with disabilities still perform today, as they did years ago? What are some of the newer jobs that people with disabilities perform? What are some of the jobs they no longer perform?

JM Murray: Much of the work the agency performed when it was founded in the late 1960s is no longer on the landscape of the community. Much of the manufacturing and factory work the agency participated in has long since moved out of the area, and large businesses such as Smith Corona and Rubbermaid have closed, along with many others.

To thwart this inevitability, JM Murray committed to developing businesses that would allow the agency to direct its future rather than respond to the demise of manufacturing in the area. As such, JM Murray developed and operated a furniture refurbishment and restoration business for more than 25 years that created jobs in the local community, as well as for people receiving day training services. That business was closed in 2000.

JM Murray has since partnered with industry leaders locally and along the East Coast to create niche markets that trainees could effectively add value to by providing the packaging, assembly and logistical support. The agency established a fully owned, for-profit subsidiary business (ESTI) to help create competitive employment opportunities for the community, as well as individuals with disabilities.

JM Murray began providing injection molding, liquid filling, assembly and packaging of dental products in the late 1990s and continues doing so as a 50 percent owner of OraLine, a for-profit corporation.

NYSID: The slogan for our 40th anniversary is “40 Years of Looking Forward.” What are some of the ways in which your agency has been looking forward and continues to do so?

JM Murray: The agency has been a work-first company since its inception and has continued to grow with a goal of not relying on government funding for its business ventures. Services dollars are dedicated to the support and training of individuals served. JM Murray is optimistic that our great state, as well as our country, will recognize the value of the services its integrated manufacturing business can play in the community and the lives of people with disabilities.

The ability to earn a paycheck by working independently at their own unique pace is a choice that must not be eliminated from people with disabilities in the future. Supports to assist individuals work is not a health care service and should not be funded as such.

NYSID: What are the keys to your agency’s longevity and success at creating jobs for people with disabilities? How important has your agency’s membership with NYSID been to your longevity and success?

JM Murray: One key to JM Murray’s success rests with the philosophy of its founding fathers –– that work is the most effective form of rehabilitation. All people benefit when they work. Enabling people to work helps the individual and their community because the more people earn, the more they spend and socialize in the community.
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For the third consecutive year, Journey Along the Erie Canal increased awareness of the ability inside all people with disabilities, the culmination of an inspirational, statewide bicycle trek over two weeks and 373 miles.

NYSID was the proud video sponsor of Journey Along the Erie Canal, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

John Robinson and Doug Hamlin of Our Ability, their families and friends, and numerous NYSID member agencies and NYSARC, Inc. chapters participated in this third annual bicycle ride across upstate New York via the scenic and historic Erie Canalway Trail.

Beginning June 28 in Buffalo, Robinson and members of Our Ability traveled by bike along the Erie Canal and Canalway Trail all the way to Albany on July 10, concluding with a ceremony at Jennings Landing in the Corning Preserve in Albany.

“This ride is about empowerment and opportunity,” Robinson said. “Part of this whole thing is to remind New York State that we’re here, we have ability, and to remember us and to inspire others.”

Robinson completed the Journey using an adaptive bicycle and was accompanied by his business partner, Doug Hamlin –– himself a paraplegic –– plus his immediate and extended family, community members, cycling enthusiasts and New Yorkers of all abilities.

As the tour made its way across New York State, numerous advocacy groups and organizations supporting the rights of people with disabilities joined Robinson and Hamlin for portions of their Journey, including the following NYSID member agencies: Arc of Orleans; Wayne ARC​; The Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter, NYSARC​; Herkimer ARC​; Liberty ARC; Lexington – Chapter of NYSARC, Inc.​; and Schenectady Arc​.

Our Ability chronicled the ride, providing frequent video, blog, and social media updates.

The Journey was conceived in 2013 by Robinson, a renowned entrepreneur, advocate, and motivational speaker whose personal story has inspired thousands. As a congenital amputee born without full arms and legs, Robinson overcame countless obstacles to become a successful businessman, family man and inspirational keynote speaker. Through his organization –– Our Ability –– Robinson mentors, connects, and inspires people with disabilities toward education and employment.

Congratulations to John, Doug and Our Ability, and thanks to everyone who helped make this another successful Journey!
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Long-Time Member Agency Profile: The Arc Otsego

As NYSID continues its 40th anniversary celebration, we acknowledge some of our long-time member agencies for creating meaningful employment for New Yorkers with disabilities throughout our 40-year history.

In recent weeks, we’ve highlighted these member agencies to demonstrate their human service support and economic impact within communities across New York State. We’ve looked back at their early days, updated their current success stories, and envisioned what the future holds.

Our final member agency is The Arc Otsego. Be sure to follow NYSID across our social media platforms for details on NYSID Works!, our Class of 2015 Joslin Outstanding Performers and our Annual Meeting.

NYSID: The slogan for our 40th anniversary is “40 Years of Looking Forward.” What are some of the ways in which your agency has been looking forward and continues to do so?

The Arc Otsego: Overall, The Arc Otsego remains committed to person-centered services and support. The agency is pursuing CQL accreditation and has a CQL certified Personal Outcomes assessor trainer and several certified assessors. It also received a BIP grant to create YouDirect, a training program for individuals with developmental disabilities in Otsego and Chenango counties to learn the skills necessary to direct their own services.

NYSID: When was your agency founded? How many people with disabilities were employed by your agency then and now?

The Arc Otsego: The Arc Otsego was founded in 1965. Currently, six individuals employed by the agency receive Supported Employment Services. In Otsego County, 38 New Yorkers with disabilities worked 29,895 employment hours on Preferred Source contracts in 2014.

NYSID: What jobs do people with disabilities still perform today, as they did years ago? What are some of the newer jobs for this workforce responding to marketplace and technology changes?

The Arc Otsego: Through Supported Employment Services, the agency continues to place individuals in retail stores, grocery stores, fast food locations, dining halls and restaurants, factories, health care facilities, warehouses, and transportation services.

Today, the agency tends to work more with big businesses rather than small, independently owned operations.

A light manufacturing facility now includes the addition of a recycling center that continues to grow. The workshop is exploring ways to expand the recycling business and seeking solutions to the changes that will happen as a result of changing state and federal policy. Among the products packaged by Preferred Source workers are adult disposable briefs, diapers, underpads, wash cloths and wet wipes.

The Arc Otsego is constantly looking for new jobs in the area through its Supported Employment. In recent years, the agency has found employment for individuals at several chain restaurants and department stores that have opened locally, and it continues to refine its marketing to area businesses.

NYSID: How important has your agency’s membership with NYSID been to your longevity and success?

The Arc Otsego: The Arc Otsego is open to change. We are willing to explore new areas and, most importantly, we seek to listen to what people want and need in their lives. NYSID has been an important source for employment opportunities, and support for and celebration of the accomplishments of individuals with developmental disabilities.
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Long-Time Member Agency Profile: Fedcap

As NYSID continues its 40th anniversary celebration, we acknowledge some of our long-time member agencies for creating meaningful employment for New Yorkers with disabilities throughout our 40-year history.

We’re highlighting these member agencies to demonstrate their human service support and economic impact within communities across New York State. We look back at their early days, update their current success stories, and envision what the future holds.

Today’s member agency is Fedcap. Ana Cortorreal of Fedcap was presented with the 2012 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award, NYSID’s most prestigious people-centered award.

NYSID: The slogan for our 40th anniversary is “40 Years of Looking Forward.” What are some of the ways in which your agency has been looking forward and continues to do so?

Fedcap: Fedcap is committed to changing the lives of people with disabilities; helping them to become fully integrated into the workforce and the community. To this end, in 2013 Fedcap established the Center for Excellence and Advocacy (CEA), providing technical assistance and training around the country, helping states to redesign their service delivery to advance this integration.

NYSID: When was your agency founded? How many people with disabilities were employed by your agency then and now?

Fedcap: Fedcap was founded in 1935 by three World War I veterans to fight the stigma of employing disabled veterans. The following year Fedcap, then known as The Federation for the Crippled and Disabled, hired its first three employees.

Today, Fedcap employs approximately 1,100 individuals with disabilities, including 314 workers with disabilities on nearly 60 NYSID contracts. In 2014, there were 169 New Yorkers with disabilities who worked 284,972 employment hours on Preferred Source contracts through Fedcap.

NYSID: What jobs do people with disabilities still perform today, as they did years ago? What are some of the newer jobs for this workforce responding to marketplace and technology changes?

Fedcap: Among the newer jobs that people with disabilities perform are: culinary arts, secure document destruction, information and records conversion management, and temporary personnel for business staffing needs.

The CEA has designed training for community-based providers, developed curriculum for job coach certification, partnered with schools to enhance transition practices, designed an interactive website with an active Job Opportunity Board –– all focused on ensuring the full inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the workforce and community. Fedcap believes that in the next decade, these new strategies will result in people with disabilities being much more fully integrated into the workforce.

Individuals with disabilities working through the agency’s NYSID contracts today perform many of the same jobs that they did years ago. These include porter, janitorial services and groundskeeping/landscaping. Additionally, more people with disabilities are currently employed in the print and mail, office services and production services sectors.

NYSID: How important has your agency’s membership with NYSID been to your longevity and success?

Fedcap: Fedcap’s focus on mission and commitment to the individuals and communities it serves are what provide the foundation for its ongoing success at creating meaningful jobs for people with disabilities.

Our nearly 40-year association with NYSID has been a critical component of our growth and success over the years. As a key strategic partner, NYSID provides us with an essential platform for providing jobs for people with disabilities, and helping to build pathways to sustainable, long-term employment. These individuals, in turn, are able to realize their maximum potential, performing important services and creating products for the citizens of New York City, and the States of New York and New Jersey.
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Long-Time Member Agency Profile: Lexington

As NYSID continues its 40th anniversary celebration, we acknowledge some of our long-time member agencies for creating meaningful employment for New Yorkers with disabilities throughout our 40-year history.

We’re highlighting these member agencies to demonstrate their human service support and economic impact within communities across New York State. We look back at their early days, update their current success stories, and envision what the future holds. Today’s member agency is Lexington – Fulton County Chapter NYSARC, Inc.

NYSID: The slogan for our 40th anniversary is “40 Years of Looking Forward.” What are some of the ways in which your agency has been looking forward and continues to do so?

Lexington: Lexington is currently developing two major new projects: the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts and Transitions. The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts, a beautiful, year-round arts center open to the community, will house premium art venues, host fun family events and provide educational opportunities for persons of all ages and levels of ability.

Transitions is a supportive apprenticeship for young men and women with autism spectrum disorders including Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia, nonverbal learning disabilities, visual or hearing impairments, medical conditions, and other learning differences who want to attend college and/or prepare for a career, but may require academic, social, medical and/or emotional support.

The Transitions program focuses on building academic skills, life skills and general independence for high school graduates and young adults with learning differences. Its specialty isn’t just in teaching students how to study or learn a trade, it’s in showing its students that they can live a life that even they never dreamed of themselves.

NYSID: When was your agency founded? How many people with disabilities are employed by your agency?

Lexington: Lexington began in 1953 when a small group of parents met to discuss how to improve the lives of their children who had developmental disabilities. Since then, first informally and then formally as Lexington’s board of directors, parents have led Lexington as a private, not-for-profit agency. There are 119 individuals supported by Lexington who are currently employed in the community, with 92 more being supported to prepare for, find and retain jobs. In Fulton County, 31 New Yorkers with disabilities worked 6,518 employment hours on Preferred Source contracts in 2014.

NYSID: What jobs do people with disabilities still perform today, as they did years ago? What are some of the newer jobs for this workforce responding to marketplace and technology changes?

Lexington: Individuals supported by Lexington continue to do production, manufacturing, janitorial and maintenance jobs like they have done in the past.

Lexington now has several social enterprises, which employ many of the individuals it supports, including: Encore Kids (retail), The Mobile Work Crew (janitorial), The Center at Lexington (secretarial) and Kingsboro Catering (food service). Individuals supported by Lexington also volunteer over 10,000 hours per year in the local community.

NYSID: How important has your agency’s membership with NYSID been to your longevity and success?

Lexington: Lexington is focused on understanding both the needs and the abilities of each individual and providing the necessary support to help them be successful. Our dedicated staff is committed to working with each person rather than using a formula to provide services and supports.

NYSID continues to offer tremendous opportunities and connections to businesses that can provide meaningful employment to the men and women supported by Lexington. We would not be nearly as successful at employing people with disabilities were it not for the strong partnership we have with NYSID.
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Long-Time Member Agency Profile: Liberty ARC

As NYSID continues its 40th anniversary celebration, we acknowledge some of our long-time member agencies for creating meaningful employment for New Yorkers with disabilities throughout our 40-year history.

In the coming weeks, we’ll highlight these member agencies to demonstrate their human service support and economic impact within communities across New York State. We’ll look back at their early days, update their current success stories, and envision what the future holds.

Today’s member agency is Liberty, the Montgomery County Chapter of NYSARC, Inc.

NYSID: The slogan for our 40th anniversary is “40 Years of Looking Forward.” What are some of the ways in which your agency has been looking forward and continues to do so?

Liberty: Since the early days, Liberty has been seeking new ways to support its mission and maintain its fiscal stability. In support of the mission, Liberty was one of the first ARC Chapters to seek voluntary accreditation through the Council on Quality and Leadership. Since 2005, the agency has been accredited by CQL. The standards established by CQL have helped Liberty define, measure and improve the personal quality of life for the people it supports and are now widely recognized as guidelines for supports throughout New York State.

NYSID: When was your agency founded? How many people with disabilities were employed by your agency then and now?

Liberty: Liberty, the Montgomery County Chapter of NYSARC, Inc. started as a parent-run, advocacy organization nearly 60 years ago. The parents who established the organization in 1957 originally focused their efforts on advocacy for educational programs to meet the needs of their children with disabilities.

In 1969, Liberty began operating employment programs for citizens with developmental and other disabilities on Liberty Street in Amsterdam. The program began with three individuals and one volunteer staff person; currently, the organization supports 543 individuals in its core programs (residential, day & family support, and vocational training programs). Liberty employs 825 staff members. In Montgomery County, 114 New Yorkers with disabilities worked 56,951 employment hours on Preferred Source contracts in 2014.

NYSID: What jobs do people with disabilities still perform today, as they did years ago? What are some of the newer jobs for this workforce responding to marketplace and technology changes?

Liberty: As in the past, individuals are involved in sorting and packaging items, primarily for NYSID contracts, but also for some other area businesses. One of the newer jobs performed by individuals with disabilities is the wide variety of green cleaning products. For many years, individuals worked in food processing. Although some automated food processing is still done at Liberty Enterprises, individuals are no longer standing on a conveyor belt, peeling potatoes and carrots!

NYSID: How important has your agency’s membership with NYSID been to your longevity and success?

Liberty: Early in its history, Liberty’s leaders created an environment that welcomed and nurtured new ideas. One of Liberty’s strengths is the ability and enthusiasm to pursue opportunities that benefit the people it supports and the organization. The success of the manufacturing department from the beginning and throughout its history is based on the willingness to try new ventures, do everything possible to make them work, and then to let them go when they are no longer viable.

From the early days of NYSID 40 years ago until today, our partnership with NYSID has helped both organizations grow and prosper. We truly value our long relationship and are grateful for the many employment opportunities that have been created for people with disabilities involved in our programs.
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NYSID and Its Member Agencies Had a Ball for Night at “The Joe”

NYSID recently hosted its fourth annual Night at “The Joe” in appreciation for all of the services our staff and member agencies provide.

The Tri-City ValleyCats defeated the Vermont Lake Monsters, 6-5, in a New York-Penn League game at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.

John Schwartz from the Center for Disability Services sang the National Anthem once again.

Several Preferred Source workers from ARC’s across the Capital Region participated in the first pitch, including: Brian Aldrich, from Rensselaer ARC; Todd Byron, from Saratoga Bridges; Michael Plis, from Schenectady Arc; and Ron McAlmont, from Warren, Washington & Albany Counties ARC.

Northeast Career Planning, Living Resources and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany also joined us for the game.

Fans enjoyed an evening of fun on the field, while the theme for the evening was Christmas in July, with postgame fireworks.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for NYSID Night at “The Joe,” and thanks to our member agencies and corporate partners for their continued job creation efforts!
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Employment and Intern Opportunities -  NYSID's new franchise, Zerorez®, Capital District, is looking for a Cleaning Technician. Are you ready to join the first green-cleaning company in the area? 

Zerorez®, a national, rapidly growing carpet cleaning company with a reputation for superior technology, outstanding customer service and exceptional service, has an opening for an energetic, responsible person with a positive attitude, professional work ethic and who enjoys interacting with people. The Technician is the one who makes it all come together.

Qualifications: Ability to lift, move and manipulate cleaning equipment frequently throughout the day, strong interpersonal and communication skills, positive attitude, ability to work flexible hours and work independently. Valid and insurable driver's license required. Sales experience preferred. High School Diploma or GED.

Zerorez® offers competitive wages with benefits, training and opportunities for growth in an expanding company. EOE. If you’re ready to join the Zerorez® team, contact: administrator@nysid.org
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Turning business opportunities into jobs for New Yorkers with disabilities.
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."