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June 28, 2016

Legislators, Military Leaders and Media Pack Veterans’ Summit

Category: General — NYSID @ 3:48 pm

Pictured l-r: Peter Bedrossian, National Purple Heart Hall of Honor; Major General Tony German, Adjutant General for the State of New York; U.S. Army Col. Kevin Hicks (Retired), Helmets to Hardhats; Zachary Randolph, Col. C. David Merkel, MD Veterans Residence at St. Joseph's Addiction Treatment & Recovery Centers; and former Congressman Michael McNulty (D-Green Island)

Congressman Michael McNulty and New York Adjutant General Tony German were among the distinguished presenters who addressed a standing-room only crowd at NYSID’s quarterly Veterans’ Summit.

Employment opportunities, addiction treatment and the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor also were discussed during the June 22 event at NYSID’s Albany office.

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

CBS6 Albany and News 10 ABC provided great coverage of the Summit. Presenters included:

Congressman Michael McNulty (D-Green Island), who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1989 to 2009 and the New York State Assembly from 1983 to 1988. The Michael R. McNulty Center for Veteran Entrepreneurial Activity at the Watervliet Arsenal provides a shared space of resources for veteran entrepreneurs with access to the Arsenal Partnership’s strategic partners and the services they can provide for growing new business.

Major General Anthony (Tony) German, Adjutant General for the State of New York, as of April 7. In this position, he is also the Commander of the New York Air National Guard and the Commissioner of the Division of Military and Naval Affairs for the State of New York. General German is responsible for providing trained and ready forces for both state and federal missions.

Col. Kevin Hicks (Retired), who served 29 years in the U.S. Army.  His most recent Army assignment was as deputy director for the Soldier For Life program. He is an advisory board member for Helmets to Hardhats and a volunteer at the Adaptive Sports Foundation at Windham Mountain.

Zachary Randolph, program director, Col. C. David Merkel Veterans Residence at St. Joseph’s Addiction Treatment & Recovery Centers.

Peter Bedrossian, program director, National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.

Dan Casale also attended on behalf of NYS Senator Kathleen Marchione (R,C, IP-43).

Becky Rapp, from Mountains to Miracles Veterans Foundation, Inc., values the Veterans’ Summits for their informative presenters, engaged attendees and collaborative opportunities beyond the quarterly event. Mountains to Miracles was established in 2012 to assist disabled veterans in any way possible, serving as a clearinghouse for veteran-related issues and offering consultation on how to obtain services.

“Attending the NYSID Veterans’ Summit has allowed Mountains to Miracles Veterans Foundation, Inc., to be more informed and learn something from each quest speaker,” Rapp said. “Each organization’s introduction during the event gives all participants the chance to learn about resources that are available. This maximizes networking with new and repeat attendees after the event that has proven to be invaluable to our organization.”

June 21, 2016

Four Years Riding: Journey Along the Erie Canal Continues Soon

Category: General — NYSID @ 3:36 pm

Journey Along the Erie Canal 2016 will raise awareness of the progress made by people with disabilities and the education and employment opportunities that lie ahead

On Sunday, June 26, John Robinson and Doug Hamlin will begin leading their fourth annual Journey Along the Erie Canal, a 350-mile, 12-day bicycle ride across upstate New York via the scenic and historic Erie Canalway Trail. NYSID is once again the proud video sponsor.

The two men are partners in Glenmont-based Our Ability, a network of consulting, public speaking, recruitment and professional services that champions the inclusivity of people with disabilities in the workplace.

“Each year our journey aims to raise awareness of the ability inside all people with disabilities,” Robinson said. “Along the way, we will connect with athletes and other individuals with disabilities and promote inclusive tourism along the historic Erie Canal.”

The tour begins in Buffalo’s Canal Side Park and concludes on July 8 at Jennings Landing in Albany. As the tour makes its way across New York, numerous advocacy groups and organizations supporting the rights of people with disabilities will join Robinson and Hamlin for parts of the trip.

“NYSID congratulates John and his fellow riders as they look forward to the fourth annual Journey event,” said Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO. “Over the years, the team has met up with NYSID member agencies from Buffalo to Albany, cycling together and celebrating inclusive opportunities for all New Yorkers. NYSID is privileged to join with the New York State Canal Corporation, NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, and other sponsors of this motivating example of the power within.”

This year’s ride also marks the launch of the New York Business Leadership Network (NYBLN), a coalition among businesses in New York State interested in both hiring and building supplier diversity of businesses owned by individuals with disabilities.

The NYBLN was formed by Our Ability in December 2015 in response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2014 executive order establishing the Employment First Commission to create employment opportunities for people with disabilities in New York. The executive order calls for 100 businesses to commit to formal policies to hire people with disabilities as part of their diversity strategy.

“NYBLN’s dual goals are to inspire those individuals with disabilities to achieve their dreams through education and employment as well as to educate able-bodied individuals about the differences in ability around us,” Robinson said.

Born as a congenital amputee without full arms and legs, Robinson overcame countless obstacles to become a successful businessman, husband, father and inspirational speaker. In 2011 he founded Our Ability with Hamlin, a 28-year veteran of the software industry who is also disabled as the result of an accident in 1983. At Our Ability, they help to mentor and inspire people with disabilities through positive video stories. In 2014, Robinson was one of 10 people nationally named a White House Champion of Change for Disability Employment.

Robinson was inspired to undertake the first Journey Along the Erie Canal by his wife, Andrea, and two children after receiving a three-wheeled, hand-operated cycle as a donation. His family helped him learn how to ride and then train for the statewide journey. Hamlin joined Robinson that first year and saw what the ride could symbolize. He will once again ride alongside Robinson on his own specialized hand cycle.

As in previous years, Our Ability’s partners for the journey include NYSID, New York State Canal Corporation, the Disability Education Forum of New York, Inc., the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, and NYSARC, Inc.

Additional sponsors include SEFCU; Price Chopper; Realty USA; Albany Medical Center; Iseman, Cunningham, Riester & Hyde, LLP; Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP; NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities; SRI Fire Sprinkler; David Connors RBC Wealth Management and Albany Law School.

June 2, 2016

NYSID Member Agencies Think Spring and Act Warmly

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:34 pm

Brooklyn Community Services' (BCS) volunteers tend to Brooklyn community gardens during the BCS 2016 Spring into Action events

Spring has sprung, and NYSID member agencies are getting into the spirit of spring cleaning, planting and sprucing up as the weather turns warm.

During Brooklyn Community Services’ (BCS) recent Spring into Action 2016, more than 300 people participated in 20 projects from East New York to Coney Island.

This included 50 volunteers who helped restore BCS’ urban garden for spring. BCS also stewarded 73 street trees in Bedford-Stuyvesant and picked up 35 bags of trash on Coney Island’s waterfront.

The Arc of Delaware County and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) release trout into Launt Pond

“BCS continues to create powerful volunteer partnerships with hundreds of individuals, community organizations, the faith-based community, local businesses and corporations who share our vision of ONE Brooklyn Community,” said Kristina Reintamm, BCS’ director of Community Education & Engagement. “Driven by the power of social responsibility, Spring into Action is meeting Brooklyn’s pressing needs through community collaboration.”

Volunteers from The Arc of Delaware County and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently continued their tradition of releasing fish into local rivers and waterways by meeting at Launt Pond near Walton and releasing trout.

Volunteers from the Arc of Delaware County prepare SUNY Delhi's butterfly garden for its winged visitors

In another example of collaboration, Dave DeForest, community partner and assistant professor at SUNY Delhi, and Harry Dorsey, an adventure recreation student, partnered with The Arc of Delaware County to “spring clean” SUNY Delhi’s Outdoor Education Center butterfly garden by turning up some dirt to prepare the way for butterflies.

It wasn’t all work and no play; everyone enjoyed a cookout and picnic after the work was done.

“I would just like to say THANK YOU for the great day yesterday,” said Heidi Friedman, a direct support professional, in a message to Dave DeForest. “Both Garett and I appreciated all the time and effort you put into the planning… Garett smiled all the way back.”

Share your spring cleaning stories with NYSID across our social media: Facebook (NYSID, Preferred Source Solutions); Twitter (NYSIDSpeaks); LinkedIn [New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc. (NYSID)]; YouTube (New York State Industries for the Disabled); and Google + (New York State Industries for the Disabled – NYSID).

May 25, 2016

Amid Stars and Stripes, NYSID Honors Military Past and Present

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:59 pm

In honor of our fallen soldiers, NYSID has proudly donated thousands of American flags that will be distributed to dignitaries at the Albany Memorial Day Parade and placed in a dozen cemeteries across Albany County over Memorial Day weekend.

NYSID provided the American flags and Battle Buddy Center lapel pins to the City of Albany’s Joint Veterans Committee via the Wm F. Wigand Memorial VFW Post 8444.

Among the dozens of dignitaries expected to march in the Memorial Day Parade: U.S. Rep. Paul Tonkoformer U.S. Rep. Michael McNultyNYS Senator Neil Breslin; NYS Assemblymember Patricia Fahy; NYS Assemblymember Phil Steckformer NYS Assemblyman Jack McEnenyAlbany Mayor Kathy Sheehan; former Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings; and Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy.

More than 40 Gold Star Families who have lost loved ones in war also will participate in the parade.

Flags donated by NYSID also will be placed in a dozen cemeteries across Albany county over Memorial Day weekend, including: Albany Rural Cemetery; Calvary; Memory Gardens; St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery; Holy Spirit Cemetery; St. Agnes Cemetery; Graceland Cemetery; Hebrew Cemeteries; Hurtsville; Our Lady Help of Christians Cemetery; Our Lady of Angels; and St. Paul’s Eagle Hill Cemetery.

As we celebrate Memorial Day on May 30 and National Military Appreciation Month in May, we thank our veterans and their families who have made untold sacrifices in serving to improve the lives of all Americans and safeguard the freedoms we enjoy today.

May 24, 2016

Ronald McBride is All Smiles and No Regrets #mentalillnessfeelslike

Category: General — NYSID @ 1:05 pm

Ronald McBride is yet another Joslin Outstanding Performer we're highlighting during Mental Health Awareness Month

Ronald McBride, known as “Smiley” among his co-workers, clearly lives up to his nickname. Always in a good mood, Ronald comes to work with a smile and the drive to always push forth and work hard.

He considers his co-workers a “brotherhood,” as he has worked with them on several other jobs over the years.

When Ronald joined Terranova Fine Landscapes, he immediately discovered his interest in the landscaping field. He currently works on the New York City Travel Crew, which services Manhattan Psychiatric Center, Glen Oaks School District, as well as other locations in New York City and Queens.

NYSID has given Ronald the opportunity to find great placement in the workforce. He came from a tough life and suffered severe depression, but you would never know it from speaking with him. “I have a good head on my shoulders. I got my life back together,” he said. “My bosses are great, my co-workers are family, and I truly feel appreciated on the job.”

May is Mental Health Awareness Month 2016. This year’s theme, “Life with a Mental Illness,” calls upon individuals to share what life with a mental illness feels like for them in words, pictures and videos, using the hashtag #mentalillnessfeelslike

Several of our 2015 William B. Joslin Award recipients, including Ronald, have overcome mental health issues to become successful, satisfied workers on NYSID Preferred Source contracts.

Posting with the hashtag #mentalillnessfeelslike allows people to speak up about their own experiences, to share their point of view with individuals who may be struggling to explain what they are going through –– and help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness.

For over 65 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 private sector business partners to help create more inclusive communities for individuals with mental health issues.

May 23, 2016

Preferred Source Employment Impact on Full Display at OGS Expo

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:50 pm

Rehabilitation Support Services joined nearly 40 NYSID member agencies as exhibitors at the NYS Purchasing Forum & Trade Show

Thank you to all attendees and vendors who participated in the 2016 NYS Purchasing Forum & Trade Show, in support of NYSID’s message that “Your Purchases Create Preferred Source Jobs.”

Nearly 40 NYSID member agencies and private sector business partners exhibited their products and services May 18 and 19 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.

What’s more, Preferred Source workers on NYSID contracts were on hand to greet customers and illustrate the employment impact of government procurement.

At the NYSID, Preferred Source Solutions booth, videos were shown highlighting Preferred Source workers from AHRC New York CitySchenectady Arc and WWAARC.

The OGS Purchasing Forum & Trade Show brings government purchasing professionals from across the state together to learn about the newest contracts, hear about best practices and see many of the goods, services and technologies available on centralized contracts.

During the NYS Purchasing Forum & Trade Show, NYSID showed videos highlighting Preferred Source workers from AHRC New York City, Schenectady Arc and WWAARC, because "Your Purchases Create Preferred Source Jobs”

Purchases from NYSID member agencies and private sector business partners employed 7,052 New Yorkers with disabilities on NYSID Preferred Source contracts in 2015 and provided $59.7 million in wages.

NYSID member agencies and private sector business partners that participated in the NYS Purchasing Forum & Trade Show included:

Association of Vision Rehabilitation & Employment - A.V.R.E.Access: Supports for Living; ACHIEVE; AHRC Business Services and AHRC Workforce; Alphapointe/New York City Industries for the Blind (NYCIB); American Maintenance; Arc of Rensselaer; Bates Troy;

CASO, Inc.; Center for Disability Services; Challenge Workforce Solutions; Coarc Manufacturing; CWI: Community, Work and Independence, Inc.; eBizDocs; Fedcap; Focused Technologies; Gateway Community Industries; Goodwill IndustriesHerkimer Area Resource Center; Human Technologies;

Progress Industries LCI /Oneida-Lewis Chapter Arc highlighted the value of Preferred Source employment during the NYS Purchasing Forum & Trade Show

Image Data, Inc.; J M Murray Center; Janitronics; Jefferson Rehabilitation Center; Liberty Enterprises, Montgomery County Arc; Maryhaven; Northeast Career Planning; Northeastern Association of the Blind at AlbanyPaper Alternatives; Progress Industries LCI/Oneida Lewis Chapter Arc; PSCH Clean Corp.Rehabilitation Support Services; Schenectady Arc/Pine Ridge Industries; Schoharie County Arc; Seneca Cayuga Industries; Spectrum Designs Foundation; Steuben County Arc; The Osborne Association; TRI Business & Career CenterUlster-Greene Arc

May 16, 2016

NYSID Salutes Veterans During National Military Appreciation Month

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:26 pm

NYSID has dedicated 11 Battle Buddy Centers across New York State, including The College of Saint Rose in Albany

National Military Appreciation Month (NMAM) provides a period encompassing both the history and recognition of our armed services with an in-depth look at the diversity of its individuals and achievements.

This very important month honors, remembers, recognizes and appreciates all military personnel, past and present, and their families as well as those Americans who have given their lives in defense of our freedoms we all enjoy today.

NMAM 2016 includes Loyalty Day (May 1), Military Spouse Appreciation Day (May 6) VE Day (May 8), Armed Forces Day (May 21), and Memorial Day (May 30).

NYSID supports job creation efforts for veterans through its member agencies and assists other veterans’ support programs, promoting quality of life for veterans as they reconnect to the New York State workforce. Our statewide network of community rehabilitation agencies employs skilled veterans and civilians with disabilities in production facilities and community-based jobs which make connections to better lives.

Among the veterans’ initiatives NYSID supports:

NYSID Veterans' Summit participants include NYS government agencies, not-for-profits, veterans’ service organizations, institutions of higher learning, and rehabilitation organizations, including NYSID members

Battle Buddy Centers: safe havens for veterans to socialize with their fellow veterans and receive services they need

Veterans’ Summits: quarterly meetings among individuals and organizations supporting veterans with disabilities in New York State; our next Summit is Wednesday, June 22 from 9:30am – noon at our Albany office, 11 Columbia Circle Drive

Veterans Contact Directory: an online resource listing veterans’ service provider government agencies and not-for-profit organizations available in New York State counties

Preferred Source Program: NYSID employs 97 veterans on Preferred Source contracts (as of March 31, 2016); of those, 74 are service-disabled veterans

We’ve also launched a new NYSID Veterans’ Resources & News Facebook page, with information and photos on NYSID’s Battle Buddy Centers, Veterans’ Summits, veterans’ initiatives and more.

We thank our member agencies and private sector business partners for helping us expand veterans’ outreach, employment opportunities and education initiatives, and we salute our veterans for their patriotism and valor.

May 10, 2016

Mental Health and Meaningful Work Make for a Wonderful Life

Category: General — NYSID @ 2:16 pm

Richard Sullivan feels valued in his work with Human Technologies while overcoming mental illness

Richard Sullivan understands that hard work and perseverance are the keys to success. He is among several William B. Joslin Award recipients who have overcome mental health issues to become successful, satisfied workers on NYSID Preferred Source contracts.

In April 2014, Richard’s name was sent to Human Technologies from his mental health provider, Mental Health Connections, as a potential employee. He was hired by Human Technologies as a janitor to fulfill the NYSID contract at the Frankfort DDSO.

Richard felt that his life had taken a wonderful turn and, since the beginning of his time with Human Technologies, he feels that he can contribute and be appreciated for the work that he does. Additionally, he strives to be an invaluable employee through his willingness to help with other NYSID cleaning contracts.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month 2016, and this year’s theme, “Life with a Mental Illness,” calls upon individuals to share what life with a mental illness feels like for them in words, pictures and videos, using the hashtag #mentalillnessfeelslike

Posting with the hashtag #mentalillnessfeelslike allows people to speak up about their own experiences, to share their point of view with individuals who may be struggling to explain what they are going through –– and help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness.

Sharing is the key to breaking down the discrimination and stigma surrounding mental illnesses, and to show others that they are not alone in their feelings and their symptoms.

For over 65 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 private sector business partners to help create more inclusive communities for individuals with mental health issues.

May 3, 2016

“Life with a Mental Illness” Promotes Dialogue, Spreads Awareness

Category: General — NYSID @ 1:28 pm

Gerry "Ace" Acer has overcome mental illness to become a dedicated, trustworthy custodian with Jawonio

May is Mental Health Awareness Month 2016, and this year’s theme, “Life with a Mental Illness,” calls upon individuals to share what life with a mental illness feels like for them in words, pictures and videos, using the hashtag #mentalillnessfeelslike

Several of our 2015 William B. Joslin Award recipients have overcome mental health issues to become successful, satisfied workers on NYSID Preferred Source contracts.

Gerry “Ace” Acer from Jawonio is one of these success stories.

He has learned how to live with his mental illness and has been successfully employed by the Jawonio Cleaning Company for 16 years. Gerry likes being part of an encouraging, supportive team environment.

Maintaining his job performance has not always been easy. “Because of my illness, things that may seem little to other people can make me become very anxious,” Gerry said. “Navigating all the challenges relating to a job can be hard for most people, but for people with disabilities like mine, it can be overwhelming. The job coaching helps me tremendously, and the job has helped me with all aspects of my life.”

Posting with the hashtag #mentalillnessfeelslike allows people to speak up about their own experiences, to share their point of view with individuals who may be struggling to explain what they are going through –– and help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness.

Sharing is the key to breaking down the discrimination and stigma surrounding mental illnesses, and to show others that they are not alone in their feelings and their symptoms.

For over 65 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 private sector business partners to help create more inclusive communities for individuals with mental health issues.

May 2, 2016

NYSID Supports Veterans’ Education, Employment at SUNY Canton

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:32 pm

Through this Battle Buddy Center, NYSID, St. Lawrence NYSARC and SUNY Canton provide a space for more than 120 veteran students, National Guard/Reserve Students, active duty students and their dependents

NYSID proudly dedicated its 11th Battle Buddy Center at SUNY Canton — its northernmost location in New York State — in collaboration with St. Lawrence NYSARC.

The event coincides with the start of National Military Appreciation Month (NMAM), which provides a period encompassing both the history and recognition of our armed services with an in-depth look at the diversity of its individuals and achievements.

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, St. Lawrence NYSARC and SUNY Canton will provide a space for more than 120 veteran students, National Guard/Reserve Students, active duty students and their dependents to study, socialize with one another, and receive services they need.

Among those who participated in the April 28 Battle Buddy Center dedication ceremony:

NYS Assemblymember Addie Russell (D-Theresa) addresses attendees during the NYSID Battle Buddy Center dedication ceremony at SUNY Canton

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

Dr. Zvi Szafran, SUNY Canton president

Daphne Pickert, St. Lawrence NYSARC CEO and executive director

NYS Assemblymember Addie Russell (D-Theresa)

James Reagan, on behalf of NYS Senator Patty Ritchie (R,C,I-Watertown)

Student veterans from SUNY Canton

Members of the Canton VFW

With an active Student Veterans Association, a full-time Military & Veterans Student Services Coordinator, and two VA funded work-study students, the SUNY Canton Battle Buddy Center will provide a much-needed space for student veterans to call their own, while remaining an integral component of the student population on campus.

The College’s Military & Veterans Services Office is adjacent to the Battle Buddy Center, increasing the office’s visibility and enabling students to utilize the services provided.

7 News/Fox 28 and the Watertown Daily Times both provided great coverage of the dedication ceremony.

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