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NYSID News Blog

May 22, 2017

Family Focus and Meaningful Work Promote Mental Health

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:33 pm

Ricky Bernstein ultimately has made up his mind to gain control of his life, from a personal and professional standpoint. He is one of several William B. Joslin Award recipients who has overcome mental illness and become a successful, satisfied worker on a NYSID Preferred Source contract.

Ricky Bernstein from Northeast Career Planning balances work and life to be the best Preferred Source worker, husband and father he can be

Ricky began working with Northeast Career Planning (NCP) in its School to Work Program at the age of 17. Soon after working with NCP, Ricky became employed at McDonald’s, while still attending school. Initially, he found the necessary balance to keep up with his school and work demands. However, the pressure mounted on both fronts, and after six months, Ricky resigned from his position.

Around the same time, Ricky began to realize that his mental illness was affecting his level of functioning. His home life, not without chaos, was a major contributing factor to the symptoms he was experiencing. As a result, he made a life-altering decision to find his own apartment.

Ricky was a senior in high school when he secured an apartment. During the time when most teenagers are focused on their final exams and completing graduation, Ricky was dealing with the reality that he and his girlfriend were expecting their first child. Despite the tremendous amount of stress that Ricky was experiencing, he managed to graduate with a Regents diploma, two months before his daughter was born.

For the past two years, Ricky has worked successfully as a part-time janitor in the New York State Education Department Building through the NYSID Preferred Source Program. In addition to his part-time job in the NYSID State Ed contract, he maintains a full-time job at Albany Medical Center, sometimes working in excess of 60 hours per week.

He has not let his struggles deter him from reaching his personal and employment goals. Ricky got married in 2014, and he and his wife just had their second daughter.

For nearly 70 years, Mental Health America (MHA) and its affiliates across the country have led the observance of May is Mental Health Month by reaching millions of people through the media, local events and screenings. MHA offers Mental Health Month 2017 toolkit materials to help members of your community:

Understand how certain seemingly common behaviors are risk factors for, or indicators of mental health or substance use disorders

Start talking about mental health Before Stage 4

Assess their own mental health through use of MHA’s screening tools

NYSID celebrates the efforts of MHA and our member agencies and corporate partners to help increase opportunities for individuals living with mental illness.

May 17, 2017

NYSID, SEFCU Celebrate NYSID WORKS! 2 at Capital Region Miracle League in Collaborative, Community Service Effort

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:43 pm

Spring cleaning recently took on a whole new meaning, as NYSID and SEFCU beautified Jaime M. Adams Field, a ball field for individuals with disabilities, on a glorious May afternoon at The Capital Region Miracle League in East Greenbush during NYSID WORKS! 2.

Volunteers from NYSID, SEFCU and Schenectady ARC, decked out in gold shirts provided by Spectrum Designs Foundation, pose for a photo during NYSID WORKS! 2

Nearly 40 volunteers, including individuals with disabilities, lent a hand with this beautification project, in collaboration with several NYSID member agencies.

Spectrum News and CBS6 News both covered the event, and Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO, appeared live during Spectrum News’ noon newscast.

“This day of community appreciation was our way of saying thanks and giving back, by showcasing the skills and talents of individuals with disabilities from our member agencies, and demonstrating how New York State benefits from their inclusion in our workforce,” Romano said.

With the league’s Opening Day on May 20, NYSID WORKS! 2 was both a timely community service project and a touching reminder of NYSID’s new mission: “Advancing employment and other opportunities for individuals with disabilities.”

Volunteers placed a remembrance bench and planted flowers in memory of Jaime Adams, who served as the inspiration for the Miracle League facility and was the daughter of Miracle League founder Burke Adams. Jaime Adams passed away in 2016.

Established in 2009, Jaime M. Adams Field is the first multi-sport facility in the United States designed specifically for athletes with special needs. The Field hosts baseball, football, soccer and track & field, providing a full-service athletic home for the Capital Region’s athletes with special needs.

“It means a lot to have the community come out and get involved in Jaime’s memory,” Burke Adams said. “This never could’ve happened without everyone’s help, and I’m sure Jaime’s looking down and smiling on everyone.”

Schenectady ARC contributed expertise from its horticulture program, as volunteers refreshed plantings around the Capital Region Miracle League sign on Route 151, placed and planted large flower pots near the ball field fence, and replenished the parking lot with stones.

Donna Vincent, horticulture coordinator at Schenectady Arc, described NYSID WORKS! 2 as a win-win on several notes. “We’re showing teamwork, being outside, working in the sun together with other people and helping the community,” she said. “The fact that we’re doing it with NYSID and its members and in support of athletes with disabilities makes it even better.”

Volunteers also unloaded, assembled and stained 15 picnic tables fully accessible to individuals with disabilities that were manufactured and delivered by Essex Arc/Mountain Lake Services, to replace the league’s current tables.

NYSID and SEFCU volunteers assemble 15 picnic tables fully accessible to individuals with disabilities that were delivered by Essex Arc/Mountain Lake Services

Tom Herbst, liquid investments manager at SEFCU, has been involved in the Capital Region Miracle League since its inception. He grew up with Jaime Adams and said she, her family and everyone involved in the organization would be so pleased with the outcome of NYSID WORKS! 2.

“Jaime never said a word, but she touched everyone’s hearts,” Herbst said. “The Capital Region Miracle League is an easy organization to support, and Burke and his wife are angels in and of themselves. Everybody deserves sports, and that’s what the Miracle League does. Most of the volunteers are parents of the kids, and for NYSID and SEFCU to collaborate on NYSID WORKS! 2 is amazing. They’ve really changed the face of the field, and the parents deserve this as much as the kids.”

Puzzles Bakery & Café, a Schenectady-based social enterprise that gives adults with disabilities opportunities for personal growth, as well as a source of income, social interaction, and a sense of purpose, provided food for the event.

Volunteers wore t-shirts designed by Spectrum Designs, a Long Island-based apparel customization shop that provides gainful employment and meaningful work opportunities to individuals with autism.

NYSID coordinated its first NYSID WORKS! in September 2015 to thank legislators, business and community leaders across New York State for creating employment opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities.

Donna Witko, senior contract administration specialist at NYSID, planted flowers and spread mulch with Mike from Schenectady ARC during NYSID WORKS! 2. They loved working together to make Jaime M. Adams Field even more beautiful than before.

“Mike designed all of this, I’m under his tutelage,” Witko said. “It’s a beautiful day and we’re having a lot of fun. NYSID is used to doing these types of events, but this is one of the best events we’ve ever had.”

May 10, 2017

NYSID Participates in “Town Hall” with Office of General Services

Category: General — NYSID @ 1:16 pm

At a “Town Hall” held in Albany during NY GovBuy, NYSID members from across the state called upon the New York State Office of General Services (OGS) to improve the price application approval process for Preferred Source contracts, which has been both minimally defined and cumbersome for several years. Left unchanged, the current process could result in the loss of much needed jobs and economic opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities.

Michelle Wolfe, The Arc of Madison Cortland, testifies about the importance of Preferred Source employment during the "Town Hall" with OGS

During the May 3 “Town Hall,” NYSID members and individuals with disabilities who work on the Preferred Source contracts described to OGS how the uncertainty and vagueness in the price application approval process is making employment for New Yorkers with disabilities even more difficult.

The Rome Sentinel reported on the “Town Hall.”

Michelle Wolfe, an employee from The Arc of Madison Cortland, urged OGS to remedy its Preferred Source contract price approval process so as to provide continued employment for her and her fellow New Yorkers with disabilities.

“Preferred Source contracts are extremely important to people with disabilities and their livelihood,” Wolfe said. “I want you to realize that every delay has a huge negative impact on people. Real people with disabilities.”

Despite the success of the Preferred Source Program, the employment rate for individuals with disabilities in New York remains unacceptably high, and 2016 saw a decline in jobs for these individuals once thriving on NYSID contracts.

Members of NYSID’s board of directors and executive management from NYSID member agencies raised concerns about specific issues regarding the process, including OGS’ interpretation of what constitutes prevailing market pricing, engaging an independent party to establish market comparables when necessary, and engaging sub-contractors on Preferred Source contracts.

To help address these urgent concerns and improve the Preferred Source Program, NYS Senator Catharine Young (R/I/C-Olean) and Assemblymember Aileen Gunther (D/I/WF-Forestburgh) recently introduced legislation to protect the social and economic goals for individuals with disabilities that the Preferred Source Program serves.

Specifically, the legislation addresses the above issues and looks for OGS review for services that have a value over $200,000. It also establishes a defined period of 90 days for the price approval process to be completed.

NYSID has created a sample letter for individuals to customize in their outreach to NYS legislators and committee leaders encouraging their support for this legislation.

NYSID Employees Let the Good Times Roll and Bowl for Kids’ Sake

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:52 pm

NYSID recently rolled some strikes and picked up their spares to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region’s (BBBSCR) Bowl for Kids’ Sake at Spare Time Latham.

The NYSID bowlers included: Brian Bateman, LaToya Corbin, Noel DeGiovine, Tiffany Ford, Mary Louise Gates, Tom Occhiogrosso, Jeanine Rutt, Cynthia Slovensky, and Evan Terwilliger.

“Bowl for Kids Sake was a fun opportunity for myself and my teammates to support the meaningful work of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region and the tremendous support they provide to the community’s children,” said Mary Louise Gates. “NYSID made a corporate pledge of $750 that allotted us two lanes and two team of bowlers. We had 10 players in total and were each given our own individual  fundraising page to raise even more money for BBBSCR, and collectively we raised an additional $450!”

Elena Kyprianou Marosek, event coordinator, BBBSCR, thanked NYSID for its support of Bowl For Kids’ Sake.

“I just wanted to say a big thank you for all of your fundraising efforts,” she said. “You raised $440 as a team, in addition to NYSID’s $750 corporate sponsorship. Amazing. We are so grateful for your support. I hope you and your team had a great time bowling. Thank you again so much.”

BBBSCR provides children facing adversity with strong, enduring, professionally supported, one-to-one mentoring relationships. Established nationally in 1904, and in 1964 in the Capital Region, Big Brothers Big Sisters is one of the oldest mentoring programs.

May 9, 2017

“Your Purchases Create Preferred Source Jobs”

Category: General — NYSID @ 3:13 pm

NYSID member agencies and corporate partners participated in the largest gathering of Preferred Source customers ever during the 2017 Preferred Source Expo at NY GovBuy May 3-4 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.

NYSID rolled out the red carpet for members, corporate partners and Preferred Source customers at the Preferred Source Expo

Preferred Source workers were on hand from Schenectady ARC, Arc of Ulster-Greene and Rehabilitation Support Services, clearly demonstrating this year’s theme: “Your Purchases Create Preferred Source Jobs.”

Thanks to the NYS Office of General Services (OGS)Office of the New York State Comptroller and New York State Association of Municipal Purchasing Officials (SAMPO) for collaborating on the event’s largest procurement audience ever.

“I love the Preferred Source Expo,” said Paul Roes, a Preferred Source worker from Schenectady ARC. “I always have a great time meeting current customers and new customers. I get to explain how much I enjoy my job and how important my job is to me.”

Jose Acosta, offsite contracts manager, and Paul Roes, Preferred Source worker, Schenectady ARC, demonstrate how "Your Purchases Create Preferred Source Jobs"

The annual Expo provided an opportunity for NYSID staff to connect with both customers and member agency representatives, and promote the impact of Preferred Source purchasing on livelihoods for workers from NYSID member agencies.

More than 35 member agencies and corporate partners exhibited in NYSID’s new event space, complete with video highlighting member agencies, raffle prizes… and hot popcorn for all to enjoy.

Enjoy this short Instagram video of the sights and sounds from the Preferred Source Expo at NY GovBuy.

May 4, 2017

NYSID Collaborates With SullivanArc, New Hope Community, Inc. for SUNY Sullivan Battle Buddy Center

Category: General — NYSID @ 3:16 pm

NYSID celebrated education and employment opportunities for student veterans with the dedication of its Battle Buddy Center on May 1 at SUNY Sullivan, in collaboration with SullivanArc/Sullivan Industries and New Hope Community, Inc.

Through this Battle Buddy Center, NYSID and SUNY Sullivan will provide a space for veteran students, National Guard/Reserve Students, active duty students and their dependents to study, socialize with one another, and receive services they need.

Pictured l-r: Jay Quaintance, SUNY Sullivan interim president, accepts a $10,000 check and Battle Buddy Center plaque from Paul Quirini, NYSID outreach and communications specialist, during the May 1 dedication ceremony

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.

Among those who participated in SUNY Sullivan’s Battle Buddy Center dedication ceremony:

Paul Quirini, NYSID outreach and communications specialist, on behalf of Ron Romano, NYSID president and CEO

Jay Quaintance, SUNY Sullivan interim president

Ric Schwartz, SullivanArc executive director

Terry Grafmuller, Sullivan Industries director of vocational business operations

Jim Forbes, New Hope Community, Inc. executive director

Donna Fischer, New Hope Community, Inc. marketing and communications manager

Lisa Merritt-Smith, New Hope Community, Inc. director of human resources

Staff members representing U.S. Rep. John Faso (R-NY) and NYS Assemblymember Aileen Gunther (D/I/WF-Forestburgh)

Student veterans from SUNY Sullivan

Mid-Hudson News covered the standing-room-only event.

Paul Quirini, NYSID outreach and communications specialist: “NYSID employment supports a diverse group of New Yorkers with disabilities. We also assist with Veterans’ support programs, promoting quality of life for veterans as they reconnect to the New York State workforce. This idea of helping and sharing is the basis for our Battle Buddy Centers.  The military concept of a “Battle Buddy” partners soldiers to assist each other both in and out of combat. On behalf of NYSID’s Board of Directors, management and staff, we thank SUNY Sullivan, SullivanArc/Sullivan Industries and New Hope Community, Inc. and we look forward to collaborating through this Battle Buddy Center now and in the future.”

Jay Quaintance, SUNY Sullivan interim president: “SUNY Sullivan remains fully committed to providing a host of services to meet the needs of our veteran students. The NYSID Battle Buddy Center complements our other veterans’ services, including a Veterans Club, to help assure their academic and personal success. We are so pleased to have the support of so many for this worthwhile endeavor.”

Ric Schwartz, SullivanArc/Sullivan Industries executive director: “SullivanArc is pleased to be a part of such a beneficial program assisting veterans as they continue their military carriers or transition back to civilian life. We have many part-time and relief positions that offer flexible shifts and hours that may be of interest and benefit to our student veterans as they pursue their degrees.”

Jim Forbes, New Hope Community executive director: “We are honored to be collaborating with NYSID and SUNY Sullivan on the opening of this Battle Buddy Center. Through this partnership, we are proud to be supporting student veterans in receiving the services needed to succeed personally and professionally.”

NYSID’s 13 Battle Buddy Center locations include: SUNY Sullivan in Loch Sheldrake; 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; SUNY Ulster in Stone Ridge; Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson; The College of Saint Rose in Albany; Hudson Valley Community College in Troy; SUNY Oswego in Oswego; SUNY Canton in Canton; SUNY Adirondack in Queensbury; and Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango.

Battle Buddy Centers have collectively hosted more than 65,000 visits by veterans since September 2011. are made possible through grant funding from NYSID and support from NYSID member agencies.

Visit our NYSID Veterans’ Resources & News page on Facebook and our Veterans’ Resources & News web page for information and photos on NYSID’s Battle Buddy Centers, Veterans’ Summits, veterans’ initiatives and more.

May 1, 2017

Mental Health Month Aims to Eliminate “Risky Business”

Category: General — NYSID @ 1:29 pm

May is Mental Health Month 2017, and this year’s campaign, “Risky Business,” educates the public on habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves.

These include such diverse risk factors as prescription drug misuse, internet/gaming addiction, excessive spending, and troublesome exercise patterns.

“Risky Business” raises awareness of the risks that these types of behaviors present –– especially to young people –– to help individuals detect these early warning signs, and to provide resources for prevention and early intervention.

Several of our William B. Joslin Award recipients have become successful, satisfied workers on NYSID Preferred Source contracts while overcoming mental illness.

Kenneth Grazette is the epitome of mental fortitude and perseverance. His adolescence was filled with darkness one can only imagine. Kenny was living in and out of shelters until he joined “Teen Challenge,” where he lived for 15 months.

Kenneth Grazette from American Maintenance possesses an extraordinary work ethic and a strong desire to transform his life

Once he was involved in more programs, he was introduced to mental health counseling services and programs. Kenny is living a clean life while fighting his bipolar disorder and depression on a daily basis.

He was hired by American Maintenance in August 2013. In his current position, he works independently and arms and disarms the building he cleans, ensuring the building is secure at the end of the shift and generally running the entire operation.

Kenny’s work ethic and desire to turn his life around are nothing short of extraordinary. He epitomizes what the Preferred Source Program is all about, and is a constant reminder of what we can overcome with perseverance.

For nearly 70 years, Mental Health America (MHA) and its affiliates across the country have led the observance of May is Mental Health Month by reaching millions of people through the media, local events and screenings.

NYSID celebrates the efforts of MHA and our member agencies and corporate partners to help increase opportunities for individuals living with mental illness. #mhm2017 #riskybusiness

April 27, 2017

CREATE Symposium Showcases Tech Inventions Designed to Improve Workplace for New Yorkers With Disabilities

Category: General — NYSID @ 6:22 pm

Doug Rosa, an engineering student at Union College, speaks from the heart when he describes his participation in CREATE (Cultivating Resources for Employment with Assistive TEchnology).

“Working with Schenectady Arc to develop a technology that would be easy for its greenhouse workers to use was very rewarding,” he said. “In the past, I’ve worked one-on-one with children with special needs. This project taught me the value of using my engineering to design one system that will benefit many people. The vision at Schenectady Arc of helping people to the best of their ability inspired me to do the same.”

During the CREATE Symposium, Union College engineering student Doug Rosa discusses his team's assistive technology for greenhouse workers with disabilities at Schenectady Arc

Doug was part of a team that created a Greenhouse Temperature Controller, a programmable grow bed that uses heating pads to regulate temperatures for plants.

The group worked with Maple Ridge, a campus of Schenectady Arc, to develop the user-friendly products. Overall, students have found the work to be creative and extremely meaningful, as these inventions have the ability to improve livelihoods and increase productivity for individuals with disabilities.

Union College and Schenectady Arc were among a record eight colleges/universities and eight NYSID member agencies that participated in NYSID’s third annual CREATE Symposium on April 26 at the Legislative Office Building in Albany. CREATE is an initiative sponsored by NYSID that brings undergraduate and graduate student engineers and professors from colleges and universities across New York State together with NYSID organizations that employ individuals with disabilities.

During the CREATE Symposium, 15 teams showcased prototypes of technology inventions designed to increase productivity and improve the livelihoods of New Yorkers with disabilities.

Participating NYSID member agencies included: ABVI Goodwill; Arc of Livingston-Wyoming; Arc of Steuben; Goodwill Industries of Greater New York & Northern New Jersey; Human Technologies; LAICO Industries; Lifespire; and Schenectady Arc.

Participating colleges included: Alfred University; City College of New York; Manhattan College; Mohawk Valley Community College; Rochester Institute of Technology; SUNY Alfred; Union College; and University of Rochester.

Among the New York State legislators who attended the CREATE Symposium: Senator Marisol Alcantara (D-Manhattan); Senator Joseph Griffo (R/C/IP-47); Senator Joseph Robach (R/C/IP-Rochester); Senator Catharine Young (R/I/C-Olean); Assemblymember Aileen Gunther (D/I/WF-Forestburgh); Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam); and Assemblymember Phil Steck (D-Colonie).

Spectrum NewsWNYT NewsChannel 13NEWS10 ABC, RIT University News, Manhattan College NewsWXXI and Wyoming County Free Press were among the media outlets who previewed or covered the CREATE Symposium.

Manhattan College students display their chemical dispenser designed to accurately and efficiently dispense chemicals for Lifespire custodial workers with disabilities

Zahra Shahbazi, Manhattan College professor, oversaw teams that designed a Mechanical Hardware Dispenser and Chemical Dispenser in collaboration with Lifespire. “CREATE provided us with a great opportunity to not only practice engineering concepts in a real life problem, but also contribute to improve productivity of people with developmental disabilities,” she said. “It was great to see our students so passionate and committed to make this project a success.”

Celina Cavalluzzi, Goodwill Industries of Greater New York & Northern New Jersey director of day services, was impressed with City College of New York’s collaboration on assistive technology for her agency. “Being part of CREATE has been a truly rewarding experience,” she said. “CREATE allowed us to partner with City College’s Grove School of Engineering to tackle obstacles that make finding employment difficult for people with disabilities. The students came up with several assistive technology solutions, including smart phone applications that help people with Autism Spectrum Disorders communicate with supervisors, and a SmartCane that detects obstacles and automatically reroutes the walker.”

This year’s inventions also included:

Process Management – Efficiency system for ordering, printing and shipping, using scanners

Ergonomic Improvement – Cart to improve efficiency of an apparel factory

Panoramik – Mobile panoramic imaging system to assist visually-impaired workers

Therapeutic Virtual Environments – Virtual Reality system to better train workers with autism

Mechanical Hardware Dispenser – Partially-automated system to weigh and load hardware into boxes

Wire Separation Tool – Allows workers to accurately and efficiently separate wires for a wire splitting contract

Cotton Fabric and Synthetic Fiber Recycling Systems – Convert cotton clothing donated to Goodwill that cannot be re-sold into shredded material that can be re-sold for thermal and acoustic insulation, acoustic tiles, bulletin boards, furniture and air filters

Project Roller System – Device to help workers with developmental disabilities roll instruction packets

Stapel – Staple remover for document shredding

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

 

 

April 20, 2017

Join NYSID at the Preferred Source Expo at NY GovBuy May 3-4

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:46 pm

NYSID member agencies and corporate partners will present a unified message — “Your Purchases Create Preferred Source Jobs” — at the 2017 Preferred Source Expo at NY GovBuy. This golden opportunity to interact with state and local government customers is set for May 3-4 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.

Liberty Enterprises regularly participates as an exhibitor in the Preferred Source Expo

As always, the annual Expo is an opportunity for NYSID staff to connect with both customers and member agency representatives, and promote the impact of Preferred Source purchasing on livelihoods for workers from NYSID member agencies.

We’re looking forward to hosting more than 35 member agencies and corporate partners in NYSID’s new event space in Meeting Room 6 (located near the elevators and the Gallery hall).

This year, the NYS Office of General Services (OGS) is partnering with the Office of the New York State Comptroller and the New York State Association of Municipal Purchasing Officials (SAMPO) for the event’s largest procurement audience ever.

“We enjoy exhibiting at the Preferred Source Expo because of the networking and opportunities that come from the event, and we continue to see results year after year,” said Chad Hartwig, product development & marketing manager, Liberty Enterprises. “We also collaborate with other NYSID member agencies to learn about capabilities they offer that we were not aware of.”

NYSID, its member agencies and corporate partners also will participate in a “Town Hall” meeting with OGS, Procurement Services and Chief Procurement Officer Sean Carroll on Wednesday, May 3 from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center, Meeting Rooms 2 and 3.

The purpose of the “Town Hall” meeting is for NYSID staff, member agencies and corporate partners to discuss the New York State Preferred Source Program and NYSID’s continued interest to develop an acceptable OGS price application review process for Preferred Source contracts.

Purchases from NYSID member agencies and corporate partners employed 6,970 New Yorkers with disabilities on Preferred Source contracts in 2016, providing $60.6 million in wages to individuals who worked 4.23 million employment hours.

Register for this year’s event and visit our News Blog for photos and highlights from the 2016 Preferred Source Expo. We look forward to seeing you May 3-4 in Albany.

April 12, 2017

Assistive Technology Culminates with CREATE Symposium April 26

Category: General — NYSID @ 4:31 pm

A record number of teams and schools is gearing up for NYSID’s third CREATE Symposium at the Legislative Office Building in Albany. Fifteen teams representing eight colleges and universities will participate in the April 26 event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Third Floor Terrace overlooking The Well.

During the 2016 CREATE Symposium, the QRNavigation team from City College of New York demonstrated a mobile app that assists individuals to navigate indoor environments

The CREATE Symposium showcases prototypes of technology inventions designed to increase productivity and improve the livelihoods of New Yorkers with disabilities. Special guests, including New York State legislators, will speak at 11 a.m. NYSID member agencies and corporate partners are welcome to attend.

Spectrum News recently profiled the CREATE collaboration between Schenectady ARC and Union College to design a greenhouse temperature controller for 10 individuals with disabilities to use at the agency’s Maple Ridge facility.

CREATE (Cultivating Resources for Employment with Assistive TEchnology) is an initiative sponsored by NYSID that brings undergraduate and graduate student engineers and professors from colleges and universities across New York State together with NYSID organizations that employ individuals with disabilities.

Participating NYSID member agencies include: ABVI Goodwill; Arc of Livingston-Wyoming; Arc of Steuben; Goodwill Industries of Greater New York & Northern New Jersey; Human Technologies; LAICO Industries; Lifespire; and Schenectady Arc.

Participating colleges include: Alfred University; City College of New York; Manhattan College; Mohawk Valley Community College; Rochester Institute of Technology; SUNY Alfred; Union College; and University of Rochester.

Students and professors will demonstrate their CREATE inventions to Symposium attendees, including New York State legislators and staff.

Among this year’s CREATE inventions:

Ergonomic Improvement – Cart to improve efficiency of an apparel factory

Panoramik – Mobile panoramic imaging system to assist visually-impaired workers

Therapeutic Virtual Environments – Virtual Reality system to better train workers with autism

Cotton Fabric and Synthetic Fiber Recycling Systems – Convert cotton clothing donated to Goodwill that cannot be re-sold into shredded material that can be re-sold for thermal and acoustic insulation, acoustic tiles, bulletin boards, furniture and air filters

Stapel – Staple remover for document shredding

“CREATE offers undergraduate and graduate student engineers the opportunity to put their knowledge to use in the context of practical, hands-on experience while developing products that can make lives easier for New Yorkers with disabilities,” said Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO.

For more information on CREATE and the April 26 Symposium, visit: http://www.createnysid.net.

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