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NYSID News Blog

February 7, 2017

The 2017 NYSID Catalog is Coming Soon

Category: General — NYSID @ 4:25 pm

 

 

NYSID’s 2017 Catalog of Products and Services is on its way, featuring more than 1,000 products and 13 services.

Choose from these and numerous other catalog items:

Apparel
Document Imaging
Food Service Products
Healthcare Items
Janitorial Services
MRO Solutions
Office Supplies
Safety Products

Your purchases truly make a difference, as NYSID Preferred Source contracts employed 6,970 New Yorkers with disabilities from our member agencies in 2016. These jobs provided $60.6 million in wages to individuals who worked 4.2 million employment hours.

NYSID helps put the NYS Preferred Source Program into action for the state and local government marketplace through our statewide network of 165 community non-profit agencies and private sector business partners who provide our products and services.

Through no-bid procurement solutions, NYSID is a leading source of job opportunities for a dedicated and highly qualified workforce. While meeting government customers’ needs, we make gainful employment accessible to individuals with disability-related barriers who experience the highest unemployment rate.

If you haven’t received your print catalog by March 15, please email your name, agency, address and desired number of catalogs to: catalog@nysid.org.

And remember, you can always shop our online catalog, where we’re currently offering a clearance sale on select items, up to 40 percent off.

Let NYSID be YOUR no-bid purchasing solution.

January 12, 2017

TIP Provides Valuable Training for Management, Staff and Veterans

Category: General — NYSID @ 4:19 pm

Do you help create job opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities? Then NYSID’s Training & Information Program (TIP) was developed for YOU!

TIP provides cost-free, quality training and essential business information that assists our members and corporate business partners in creating leaders who will enable, inspire and empower their staff.

Our comprehensive TIP offerings encompass nearly 20 different topics, providing specialized knowledge designed to help you develop new products and services, comply with employment laws, increase productivity, engage employees, and much more.

Each year presents an opportunity to further align our offerings with industry demand for cutting-edge process improvements.

In the areas of Management and Leadership Development, new sessions include: Managing Staff Performances; Navigating the Multigenerational Workforce; and Leadership Through Teamwork.

Under our Staff Development offerings, we have included new sessions on: Mastering Difficult Conversations; Clearing Up the Mystery of Disabilities/Understanding the Quality of Life; and Dealing With Difficult Co-Workers.

In support of job creation efforts for veterans, we have added Boots-to-Business Reboot.

These are just some of the new courses we’re introducing in 2017. For more information, please contact Karen DiBella, TIP manager, at kdibella@nysid.org or 518.694.0220.

We look forward to seeing you at our Albany headquarters training facility or at our numerous regional TIP sessions hosted across New York State, including NYSID member agency locations ABVI – GoodwillAHRC NassauCapabilities, Inc.Fedcap and HTC, along with Hampton Inn BuffaloHampton Inn & Suites Rockville Centre and Hampton Inn and Suites – Victor.

 

December 20, 2016

NYSID Thinks “Big” This Holiday Season for Community Outreach

Category: General — NYSID @ 7:36 pm

Amber Zane, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region; and Sara Erickson, NYSID, pose with the numerous gifts purchased by NYSID staff for two families of children with disabilities

Thanks to the generosity of NYSID employees, the holidays were a little brighter for some needy families of children with disabilities.

As part of NYSID’s annual holiday tradition of giving back to the community, NYSID “adopted” two families through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region (BBBSCR).

NYSID supported two families –– each with a child with a disability –– by purchasing clothing, toys, books, kitchen accessories and home goods on their wish lists, and delivering the gifts to the organization’s headquarters in Albany.

BBBSCR provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

“BBBSCR would like to thank NYSID for its donations,” said Amber Zane, BBBSCR’s community based program manager. “It means a great deal to our organization and the families we serve. Many families struggle during the holidays because of the extra pressure to provide for their families and to go above and beyond to obtain gifts. NYSID’s generosity will help ease some of the stress from the families they are assisting.”

Each of the families supported by NYSID has a child with an identified disability, which makes the gifts even more special, Amber pointed out.

“It is so heartwarming to see the joy and appreciation on the families’ faces when they receive these gifts. The families are grateful, humble and it adds a lot of holiday cheer into their lives,” she said.

One family has two children: a 16-year-old boy diagnosed with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and a 1-year-old girl. The other family also has two children: an 8-year-old boy diagnosed with anxiety and bipolar disorder; and a 4-year-old boy.

“NYSID employees traditionally help those less fortunate during the holiday season, especially families impacted by disabilities,” said Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO. “We love bringing kindness and warmth into the lives of needy parents and children during this special time of year, and we wish Happy Holidays to all!”

December 15, 2016

NYSID Veterans’ Summit Spreads Warmth Among Attendees

Category: General — NYSID @ 4:47 pm

Maj David Erickson

Maj. David Erickson discusses Albany High School's Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) during NYSID's December 14 Veterans' Summit

The holiday season can be an emotional time for veterans and their families, which is why NYSID recently hosted its quarterly Veterans’ Summit.

The December 14 event fostered camaraderie, networking and mutual support among New York State government agencies, not-for-profits, veterans’ service organizations, institutions of higher learning, and rehabilitation organizations, including NYSID members.

“After hearing the presentations and talking with other veterans and veteran representatives, I felt the Summit was a reminder of the strong sense of community there is for myself and fellow veterans,” said Jason Lebrecht. “As a service-disabled veteran and entrepreneur, I look forward to future NYSID Veterans’ Summits.”

Presenters included:

Michael Cognetti, MBA, MS. Ed., director of brain injury, veterans and employment services; and Harold Horace, veterans services specialist, with Living Resources. The agency developed the Veterans Services Project (VSP) to expand its broad range of community-based supports and services to veterans, while also providing them with employment opportunities.

Maj. David Erickson, an Army retiree who runs Albany High School’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) battalion. JROTC is a citizenship and leadership training program offered to students in high schools throughout the country.

Mary Ellen Whitney, CEO and founder; and Jenifer Whiston, development director, STRIDE Adaptive Sports. STRIDE has moved into its new headquarters and Project SHARE (STRIDE Health and Recreation Education Center) in West Sand Lake and is hosting an Open House on Wednesday, December 21 from 3-8 pm. STRIDE is also planning for its ski and ride season at Ski Sundown, Catamount and Jiminy Peak, with lessons for students of all ages who require ski and snowboard services.

A TEDx video highlighting Ron Self, founder of the self-help group Veterans Healing Veterans From The Inside Out, also was shown during the Summit. Veterans Healing Veterans From The Inside Out tries to stop the alarmingly high suicide rate among veterans. The video came to NYSID’s attention through Henry Cohen, treasurer on NYSID’s board of directors; his daughter, Delia, is a justice advocate and organizer of TEDx events in prisons.

Special thanks to Benjamin Pomerance, deputy director for VA Programs, who attended the Summit on behalf of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Dan Casale, constituent representative, who attended on behalf of NYS Senator Kathleen Marchione (R-43), member of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs.

For more information on NYSID’s veterans initiatives, visit or https://www.facebook.com/NYSIDVeterans.

December 12, 2016

Jerry Williams Embodies Employment Excellence With Joslin Award

Category: General — NYSID @ 2:52 pm

Jerry Williams (far left), Schoharie County Chapter NYSARC, Inc./Toe Path Industries, proudly accepts his William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award during NYSID’s Annual Meeting

Jerry Williams doesn’t hide his feelings about being named a co-recipient of the 2016 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award. “This award makes me feel good inside. My family is happy, my wife’s happy for me to get this award.”

Jerry, who works in packaging/labeling with Schoharie County Chapter NYSARC, Inc./Toe Path Industries, was recognized at NYSID’s Annual Meeting at The Saratoga Hilton, along with co-recipient Brian Mann, a document destruction technician with Lifetime Assistance/LAICO Industries in Rochester.

Kumi Tucker, WNYT NewsChannel 13 anchor, once again served as Annual Meeting emcee. This year’s theme was #EmploymentEmpowers.

Toe Path Industries, the work center of Schoharie ARC, currently provides work opportunities to more than 70 individuals with varying abilities. Toe Path Industries provides a wide range of professional, manufacturing, and fulfillment services from its Schoharie headquarters to an ever-expanding list of national and international business partners.

At the Toe Path Industries work center, Jerry maintains a consistent five-day schedule and also works on the facilities cleaning crew several hours per week. A respected and valued contributor in the production of the Preferred Source floor maintenance pads and State Police vehicle graphics, Jerry has mastered the operation of automated and manual die-cutting equipment, numerous packaging and assembly tasks, and a variety of material handling responsibilities.

Jerry Williams also was honored as William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipient at Schoharie ARC during a ceremony in recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)

Jerry’s focus is on work, keeping busy and doing as much as possible. As testimony to his outstanding work ethic, almost 50 percent of his earnings come from jumping in to work on other assembly jobs as needed.

“Jerry and I have known each other for a long time. I also consider him a friend,” said Terry Tetlak, Schoharie ARC executive director. “He really has put a lot into all of the jobs that he’s been employed with, and he’s worked here for several years. He enjoys working. It means a lot to him, and it really keeps him busy and makes his life fulfilled.”

“The reason we nominated Jerry for the Joslin Award is he truly epitomizes an individual who is at work because he is able to, wants to be here, and is enthusiastic about the work that he’s performing,” said David DiNicola, Toe Path Industries Work Center general manager.

NYSID’s annual Joslin Awards Program spotlights those who have overcome challenges and achieved personal success through employment. The Joslin Awards annually recognize employment excellence of New Yorkers with disabilities working on NYSID Preferred Source contracts.

In its 13th year, NYSID’s Joslin Awards Program has recognized more than 650 Outstanding Performers, and awarded 15 of those individuals with the final William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award. Bill Joslin was Chief Executive Officer of Human Technologies Corporation in Utica, and served on NYSID’s Board of Directors for many years.

Be sure to follow NYSID on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google + for more feel-good stories of New Yorkers with disabilities.

December 5, 2016

Brian Mann Reaps Benefits of Hard Work Through Joslin Award

Category: General — NYSID @ 2:28 pm

Brian Mann, Lifetime Assistance/LAICO Industries, gladly displays his Joslin Outstanding Performance Award presented during NYSID's Annual Meeting

Brian Mann truly embodies the concept of an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. “The money that I get, I get a nice paycheck,” he said, adding that he spends it on haircuts, going out to dinner, cruises and trips.

A document destruction technician with Lifetime Assistance/LAICO Industries in Rochester, Brian was named a co-recipient of the 2016 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award. Jerry Williams, who works in packaging/labeling with Schoharie County Chapter NYSARC, Inc./Toe Path Industries, is his fellow Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipient.

Both men were honored during NYSID’s Annual Meeting at The Saratoga Hilton. Kumi Tucker, WNYT NewsChannel 13 anchor, once again served as Annual Meeting emcee. This year’s theme was #EmploymentEmpowers.

LAICO Industries offers a comprehensive suite of document management services –– prepping, scanning, cloud storage and certified document destruction. All of its high-quality, cost-effective services are provided locally “under one roof.”

One of Brian’s favorite jobs is to load and unload trucks, safely using an electric pallet jack. He uses the electric pallet wrapper to wrap pallets, and he produces paperwork, stages pallets in the warehouse, and loads them onto the truck.

Brian also records the agency’s transportation vans for departure –– a responsibility previously only done by staff –– uses an intercom system to announce their arrival, assists drivers to find individuals, and helps anyone who has missed their van to get home.

Brian Mann works at Lifetime Assistance/LAICO Industries, where he stages pallets in the warehouse and loads them onto trucks

“We’re an answer to the labor force in many cases for area employers, but for the people who work here, it’s the same kind of dignity and self-respect and fullness that earning a paycheck means for all of us,” said Jamie Branciforte, president & CEO.

“He feels that by earning a paycheck and paying his own way and being self-sufficient, he’s a good community partner and not just taking advantage of the system,” said Marty Reeners, director of vocational services, Lifetime Assistance/LAICO Industries.

NYSID’s annual Joslin Awards Program spotlights those who have overcome challenges and achieved personal success through employment. The Joslin Awards annually recognize employment excellence of New Yorkers with disabilities working on NYSID Preferred Source contracts.

In its 13th year, NYSID’s Joslin Awards Program has recognized more than 650 Outstanding Performers, and awarded 15 of those individuals with the final William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award.

Bill Joslin was Chief Executive Officer of Human Technologies Corporation in Utica, and served on NYSID’s Board of Directors for many years.

Follow NYSID on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube and Google + for more feel-good stories of New Yorkers with disabilities.

December 1, 2016

NYSID Joins Forces With Albany Housing Coalition to Find Jobs, Housing for Homeless Veterans

Category: General — NYSID @ 1:41 pm

Levi DeWilde, Victor Cooper, Ruth Fredericks and Joe Sluszka share a touching moment inside Albany Housing Coalition's Vet House, a 28-bed facility for homeless veterans

Victor Cooper credits the Albany Housing Coalition, Inc. (AHC) with turning his life around, in more ways than one.

A three-year U.S. Army veteran who received an honorable discharge, Victor is working toward securing permanent housing and a full-time job in the security field, thanks to the non-profit agency.

“If it wasn’t for the Albany Housing Coalition, I’d probably be sleeping under a bridge,” Victor said. “A lot of veterans, when we come in here, we’re broken down, but when we come through here, they straighten us out. They’ve given me a chance to be back on my own and earn a paycheck.”

Since 1990, AHC has provided a holistic response to the needs of returning and homeless veterans in upstate New York, facilitating access to housing, employment, healthcare resources and a shoulder to lean on, according to Joe Sluszka, AHC’s executive director and regular participant in NYSID’s Veterans’ Summit. “Our job is to raise self-esteem, establish a relationship of trust, communicate hope, and insist on personal responsibility –– and we love them,” he said. “We’ve had incredible success at giving veterans a new shot and helping them move forward.”

Such success, in fact, that Eric Shinseki, then-U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, honored AHC in 2009 for its outstanding service on behalf of homeless veterans. “We’re the little engine that could,” Sluszka said.

For the past 12 years, AHC’s Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) has broken through barriers to employment by providing employment resources, case management, tools and clothing, and ultimately good-paying jobs to more than 530 disabled and homeless veterans, with a retention rate of nine months or longer.

Statues representing the five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces -- Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy -- stand at attention at Albany Housing Coalition's Vet House

Earlier this year, AHC was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor that funding for its HVRP would end effective June 30, 2016. The HVRP was downsized, as of July 1, 2016, from two veteran employment specialists down to one, with funding from AHC’s reserve funds until January 31, 2017.

AHC reached out to community leaders to match the non-profit’s fundraising efforts for its employment specialist position, and NYSID generously contributed $5,000. “Eliminating the HVRP is not acceptable, and what NYSID’s donation has done is enable us to keep going,” Sluszka said. “I’m ecstatic.”

“NYSID assists with veterans’ support programs, promoting quality of life for veterans as they reconnect to the New York State workforce,” Romano said. “We are pleased to support the Albany Housing Coalition in its efforts to provide employment, housing and healthcare to our veterans who have sacrificed so much.”

Ruth Fredericks, AHC’s veteran employment specialist, is herself a U.S. Army veteran, and she loves spending each day assisting her fellow vets. “I’m honored and blessed to work here and meet veterans every day,” she said. “They’re the most generous, kind, sweet-hearted and blessed people. Our hands are never tied. If I’m helping a veteran, I’m working. It’s about really making it a success story for the veteran.”

Along with employment, Fredericks also helps veterans find a place to live, in her role as AHC’s permanent housing case manager. Until they do, AHC’s Vet House offers a 28-bed, single room occupancy (SRO) facility with a monitored supportive transitional environment for homeless veterans. “The vision is to put veterans in homes, not apartments,” Fredericks said. “It’s about making us all whole.”

Levi DeWilde is one veteran who seeks to make himself –– and others –– whole, with AHC’s help.

Like his fellow veteran Victor Cooper, Levi is a U.S. Army veteran who received an honorable discharge after three years of service. He is equally grateful to AHC for helping him straighten out his life in search of permanent, positive change. “My whole life has been a struggle trying to gain control of my addictions,” he said. “It’s been a battle of life and death. Anybody who helps me out has saved my life, and a lot of people have saved my life.”

Levi is pursuing his degree so he can work peer-to-peer with persons with addictions. Admittedly, but not ashamedly, he is highly qualified for the job. “Coming from the lifestyle of a homeless drug addict, I relate to them. They trust me more,” he said. “AHC saved my life. I was headed out on another homeless venture, and penniless. They’ve given me an opportunity to continue establishing myself and pull myself out of this self-inflicted hole.”

Victor’s career preferences differ from Levi’s, but he shares the same desire to pursue meaningful work and fulfill a higher calling. “AHC gives us self-esteem,” he said. “We feel like we have something to live for.”

November 15, 2016

On Veterans’ Day, NYSID Pays Special Tribute to Those Who Served

Category: General — NYSID @ 5:10 pm

NYSID's Battle Buddy Center at SUNY Oswego provides a space for nearly 200 student veterans to study, socialize and receive services

NYSID celebrated Veterans’ Day by paying it forward in patriotic fashion, dedicating its newest Battle Buddy Center at SUNY Oswego, in collaboration with Oswego Industries and Clear Path for Veterans.

NewsChannel 9, CNYCentral.com and Oswego County News Now provided excellent coverage of the November 11 Battle Buddy Center dedication ceremony.

Among those who participated in the standing-room-only event:

Paul Quirini, NYSID outreach & communications specialist, on behalf of Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO
Capt. Walter Roettger (Ret.), United States Air Force and SUNY Oswego provost
Ben Parker, SUNY Oswego veteran & military services coordinator
Ed Pulaski, Oswego Industries vocational services coordinator
Sean Walsh, Oswego Industries custodial operations manager
Brian Knapp, Clear Path for Veterans peer support team lead
Student veterans from SUNY Oswego

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 give and receive mutual support.

Through this Battle Buddy Center, NYSID, SUNY Oswego, Oswego Industries and Clear Path for Veterans provide a space for nearly 200 veteran students, National Guard/Reserve Students, active duty students and their dependents to study, socialize with one another, and receive services they need.

The Battle Buddy Center will allow SUNY Oswego to continue advancing its support of student veterans by growing its existing space and expanding resources to help them accomplish their educational goals and assist them with the challenges they face post-service.

“NYSID recognizes 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,” said Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO. “Based upon the current veteran population and the anticipated growth of veterans’ programs and services, NYSID is pleased to partner with SUNY Oswego, Oswego Industries and Clear Path for Veterans in this Battle Buddy Center.”

Deborah F. Stanley, SUNY Oswego president, remarked: “SUNY Oswego remains dedicated to providing outstanding educational services that reflect the unique needs of our veteran students. The Battle Buddy Center will enhance our ability to serve our veteran students as they transition from active duty into and through higher education. Creating a safe space that promotes a strong sense of community and supports academic and personal success for our veterans is a project we are proud to support.”

“As a Preferred Source partner of NYSID, Oswego Industries, Inc. is honored to collaborate with SUNY Oswego in the dedication of this Battle Buddy Center,” said Laurie Davis, Oswego Industries executive director. “We look forward to being a strong partner in helping local veterans with disabilities gain successful employment through our Career Employment Services program. Our agency brings over 40 years of employment supports and experience in the community, and we are proud to partner with NYSID and SUNY Oswego in supporting our veterans.”

Brian Knapp, Clear Path for Veterans peer support team lead, remarked: “The Battle Buddy Center at SUNY Oswego will enhance the programs and services already offered at the college. The veterans will have a place to meet, learn about benefits, and restore the camaraderie they experienced while in the military. We look forward to strengthening our already outstanding relationship with SUNY Oswego and collaborating once again with NYSID, with whom we opened NYSID’s first Battle Buddy Center five years ago.”

NYSID now has participated in the opening of Battle Buddy Centers at 12 locations, including: SUNY Oswego in Oswego; SUNY Canton in Canton; SUNY Adirondack in Queensbury; Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango; The College of Saint Rose in Albany; Hudson Valley Community College in Troy; Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson; LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City; John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City; Westchester Community College in Valhalla; Rockland Community College in Suffern; and SUNY Ulster in Stone Ridge.

NYSID’s Battle Buddy Centers have collectively hosted more than 50,000 visits by veterans since September 2011. Battle Buddy Centers are made possible through grant funding from NYSID and support from NYSID member agencies.

November 7, 2016

Center for Disability Services Workers Honored for Employment Excellence and Courageous Advocacy

Category: General — NYSID @ 2:28 pm

Joseph Scorza, mail processing clerk at the Center for Disability Services, spoke passionately about the importance of his job before the NYS Procurement Council

Joseph Scorza and Richard Whaley, mail processing clerks at the Center for Disability Services, received special recognition at NYSID’s Annual Meeting for advocating toward keeping these job choices and bringing to life the importance of their jobs for themselves, their families, and their community.

Both employees of the Center’s Commercial Services mailing operation, Joe and Rich were presented with a special award “In Grateful Appreciation of your Exemplification of the Spirit and Independence of New Yorkers with Disabilities.”

View Joe Scorza and Rich Whaley’s inspiring award video. #EmploymentEmpowers

With its motto “Where people get better at life,” the Center currently provides employment to more than 250 individuals with disabilities in an integrated work setting, including Joe and Rich. Its Preferred Source customers include the NYS Department of Social Services, NYS Insurance Fund, and NYS Courts.

Joe and Rich testified in May at the NYS Procurement Council meeting about their mail processing jobs, as Preferred Source mail processing services are coming under scrutiny.

“I help my mom pay the bills in my household, and if you took that away from me, you would not only be taking that away from me, but you would be taking my quality of life away from me,” Joe told the NYS Procurement Council.

Richard Whaley proudly displays his award "In Grateful Appreciation of your Exemplification of the Spirit and Independence of New Yorkers with Disabilities"

Rich echoed Joe’s sentiments to the NYS Procurement Council, saying, “I just want to tell you how important it is to have this work continue for not only me, but the future of the Center and the future of people with disabilities that are going to come along in the future.”

In presenting their awards during the Annual Meeting, Ron Romano, NYSID president and CEO, remarked: “Tonight, I’m proud and privileged to take a moment to appreciate two of those deserving and talented individuals and workers from the Center for Disability Services who recently spoke passionately about their jobs and the future of NYSID and employment.”

Joe and Rich also were featured in the Center’s video highlighting its 25-year history of providing mailing services to New York State agencies.

November 1, 2016

NYSID Takes to Airwaves, Calls for Urgent Support for More Jobs

Category: General — NYSID @ 6:48 pm

As National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) concluded, Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO, urged the New York State Office of General Services (OGS) to expedite approval and renewal of Preferred Source contracts that create employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities statewide.

Romano spoke with host Liz Benjamin during a recent appearance on YNN’s Capital Tonight about the unemployment crisis among people with disabilities and the current climate and campaign for increased inclusion of people with disabilities into the workforce.

In Fiscal Year 2016, NYSID provided employment to 6,970 New Yorkers with disabilities on Preferred Source contracts, a workforce which has been stagnant the past five years.

Currently, there is a significant backlog of NYSID price applications awaiting OGS approval or renewal. Romano praised Governor Andrew Cuomo for his Employment First initiative, while urging OGS to address this backlog and the need for a more collaborative process among all stakeholders in support of increasing job opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities.

“I’d like to applaud Governor Cuomo and his leadership on behalf of individuals with disabilities,” Romano said. “He’s trying to address this issue and has actually laid out a pretty ambitious agenda making New York State an Employment First state. We need a sense of urgency and commitment on the part of not only state government and the private sector, but all involved to work together, especially our oversight agencies, such as the New York State Office of General Services.”

View a video of Ron Romano’s entire 10-minute appearance on Capital Tonight.

In a subsequent e-mail to NYSID member agencies, Romano thanked them for their commitment to Preferred Source employment and expressed optimism for heightened collaboration with OGS to develop an effective, expedient process to put as many individuals to work as possible.

“NYSID members, elected officials and our customers understand that these contracts aren’t just words on paper. There are real life consequences to the delays we’ve been confronting,” he said. “As a result of all of our member agencies’ efforts, the Preferred Source Program has been one of the most successful mechanisms in addressing the unacceptably high unemployment rate among people with disabilities. I am hopeful that we will continue to have a dialogue with OGS and work in partnership to come up with a process that is acceptable to all involved but, most importantly, works to grow employment opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities statewide.”

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