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NYSID News Blog

November 21, 2017

NYSID Recognizes Rockland County as Local Customer of the Year

Category: General — NYSID @ 2:28 pm

For the past 16 years, Rockland County’s purchases of services and commodities on NYSID Preferred Source contracts have afforded work to individuals with disabilities from five NYSID member agencies and one corporate partner throughout New York State.

Paul Brennan (second from left), director of Rockland County's purchasing division, accepted the 2017 Local Customer of the Year Award on behalf of Rockland County Executive Ed Day

For this commitment to the Preferred Source Program, NYSID proudly presented its 2017 Local Customer of the Year Award to Rockland County on September 26 at The Saratoga Hilton.

In one example, NYSID member agency Jawonio performs cleaning services at the 14 buildings on the Rockland County Yeager Health Complex in Pomona. This NYSID Preferred Source contract employs 32 individuals with disabilities earning prevailing wages and supplemental benefits.

Two of these individuals, William Bradley and Samuel Fenner, attended the Annual Meeting with Paul Brennan, director of Rockland County’s purchasing division.

Rockland County continues to reach out to NYSID to meet its procurement needs and plans to expand its janitorial contract in the coming months, providing even more employment to individuals with disabilities.

November 13, 2017

NYSID Welcomes Dutchess CC to Battle Buddy Center Family

Category: General — NYSID @ 2:24 pm

In celebration of Veterans’ Day, NYSID dedicated its newest Battle Buddy Center on November 10 at Dutchess Community College, in collaboration with Access: Supports for Living.

Pictured l-r: Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO; Congressman John Faso, (R-19); Pamela Edington, Ed.D., DCC president; Nelson Eddy Rivera, Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health director of Veterans' Services; and Stewart Dawes, DCC veterans resource coordinator

Among those who participated in the event:

Congressman John Faso, (R-19)

NYS Senator Sue Serino (R,C,IP-Hyde Park)

Representative of NYS Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Columbia, Dutchess)

Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO; Paul Quirini, NYSID outreach & communications specialist; Andy Grosso and Jim Haggerty, NYSID veterans consultants

Pamela Edington, Ed.D., Dutchess Community College president; Stewart Dawes, Dutchess Community College veterans resource coordinator

Antoinette Elizondo, Access: Supports for Living vice president of industrial services

Nelson Eddy Rivera, Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health director of Veterans’ Services

Student veterans from Dutchess Community College

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.

Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO, presents the Battle Buddy Center plaque to Pamela Edington, Ed.D., Dutchess Community College president

“NYSID provides livelihoods for a diverse group of New Yorkers with disabilities through our member agencies and assists with veterans’ support programs, promoting quality of life for veterans as they reconnect to the New York State workforce,” 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 Dutchess Community College and Access: Supports for Living in this Battle Buddy Center.”

Through this Battle Buddy Center, NYSID and Dutchess Community College provide a space for 130 active duty students, veterans, their spouses and dependents to study, socialize with one another, and receive services they need. The space includes a study lab with computers, a lounge with a flat-screen TV, microwave, refrigerator and other amenities.

“NYSID’s Battle Buddy Center designation is a testament to the welcoming, supportive and inclusive environment created for veterans at Dutchess Community College (DCC),” said Pamela Edington, Ed.D., DCC president. “Like the one-week technical career training program IBM held for veterans this summer on campus, it reflects the value of partnerships and continues the important work being done at DCC to serve those who have served our country.”

“Access is proud to support veterans across our services and in our employment practices,” said Antoinette Elizondo, Access: Supports for Living vice president of industrial services.”Our mission compels us to help people in our communities live the healthiest and fullest lives possible. Partnering with NYSID and Dutchess Community College on the Battle Buddy Center supports that mission by providing our community’s veterans with a place to connect with each other and the services they need.”

Dutchess Community College marks NYSID’s 14th Battle Buddy Center location. Additional Battle Buddy Center locations include: SUNY Sullivan; LaGuardia Community College; John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Westchester Community College; Rockland Community College; SUNY Ulster; Columbia-Greene Community College; The College of Saint Rose; Hudson Valley Community College; SUNY Oswego; SUNY Canton; SUNY Adirondack; and Clear Path for Veterans.

NYSID’s Battle Buddy Centers have collectively hosted more than 70,000 visits by veterans since September 2011. Battle Buddy Centers are made possible through grant funding from NYSID and support from NYSID member agencies.

October 30, 2017

John Humphrey Embodies Joslin Outstanding Performance Award

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:46 pm

A veteran with disabilities, John Humphrey has overcome schizophrenia and homelessness to become the custodian through The Arc of Onondaga in Syracuse at the Westcott Day Habilitation Center, a state-operated site.

John received NYSID’s 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award during its Annual Meeting at The Saratoga Hilton on September 26.

Richard Warner, a production and assembly worker with Allegany Arc in Wellsville, was named NYSID’s 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipient. This was the fifth year in a row that NYSID recognized two William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipients.

John Humphrey proudly displays his 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award with Ayisha Crockrell, his immediate supervisor

As he has stated many times of the Westcott Day Habilitation Center, “the site is a reflection of me and what I do.”

John has his own place to live, pays his bills, and has money in the bank. Due to his disability, he does not drive a car, so a bicycle is his sole means of transportation to and from work, four to six miles each way. He has missed just one day of work in four years –- no small feat, considering how treacherous Syracuse winters can be.

“I like my job. It keeps me busy,” he said. “I use my job as a kind of therapy, because when I do things like mop the floors, I do it mindfully. And by doing that, I actually manage to cut back on my medications enough.”

As someone who cares about his community and is very civicminded, John recently started an online community through Meetup.com called “Better Onondaga County,” which now has 50 members who exchange ideas about how to make their community a better place to live.

John also was featured on Spectrum News Central NY and syracuse.com

NYSID’s annual Joslin Awards Program celebrates exceptional job performance and personal growth by New Yorkers with disabilities working on NYSID Preferred Source contracts. In its 14th year, NYSID’s Joslin Awards Program has recognized more than 700 Outstanding Performers, and awarded 17 of those individuals with the final William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award.

The awards are named for the late Bill Joslin, who was CEO of Human Technologies Corporation in Utica and served on NYSID’s Board of Directors for many years. His wife, Patrice Joslin, joined the Joslin Award co-recipients onstage.

Special thanks to John Craig from WNYT NewsChannel 13 for emceeing our signature event.

Thanks to everyone who attended our Annual Meeting, as we continue encouraging legislators to “MAKE THE CHANGE” and reaffirming our core purpose of “Purchasing That Powers Employment.”

October 25, 2017

Richard Warner Exemplifies Joslin Outstanding Performance Award

Category: General — NYSID @ 1:28 pm

Richard Warner enjoys the satisfaction of a hard day’s work with competitive wages and benefits and has built a strong, resilient identity that allows him to deal with the everyday challenges of life.

NYSID presented its 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award to Rich, a production and assembly worker with Allegany Arc in Wellsville, on September 26 during its Annual Meeting at The Saratoga Hilton.

John Humphrey, a custodian with The Arc of Onondaga in Syracuse, is NYSID’s 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipient. For the fifth year in a row. NYSID recognized two William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipients.

Richard Warner gladly shows his 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award, flanked by Chris Koehler, senior vice president of business operations, and Michael Damiano, CEO, Allegany Arc

Born with an intellectual disability in challenging circumstances, Rich works as an assembler at the PWI Witkowski Integrated work place. He also has worked in custodial services on New York State Department of Transportation contracts and as an assembler of New York State DNA Databank collection kits and other products.

He proudly shares an apartment with his twin brother and participates in area 5K races for his health.

“I am proud to pay my own bills,” he said. “My mother wanted me to get a job, help chip in the family. When I first heard [about receiving the Joslin Award], I was shocked. I said, who wants to pick me? I’ve never received an honor like this before.”

Rich also recently purchased his first car and is working on getting his driver’s license. His journey from welfare to employment and the quality of life he aspired to obtain validates the mission of the NYSID Preferred Source Program.

The Wellsville Daily Reporter recently featured Rich in this outstanding article.

The Joslin Awards are named for the late Bill Joslin, who was CEO of Human Technologies Corporation in Utica and served on NYSID’s Board of Directors for many years. His wife, Patrice Joslin, joined the Joslin Award co-recipients onstage.

NYSID’s annual Joslin Awards Program celebrates exceptional job performance and personal growth by New Yorkers with disabilities working on NYSID Preferred Source contracts. In its 14th year, the Joslin Awards have recognized more than 700 Outstanding Performers, and awarded 17 of those individuals with the final William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award.

Special thanks to John Craig from WNYT NewsChannel 13 for emceeing our signature event.

Thanks to everyone who attended our Annual Meeting, as we continue to encourage legislators to “MAKE THE CHANGE“ and reaffirm our core purpose of “Purchasing That Powers Employment.”

October 24, 2017

NYSID, Saint Rose Promote Battle Buddy Centers on Forum 13

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:41 pm

Shawn Sutton is an ideal representative for NYSID’s Battle Buddy Centers and a true success story for his fellow student veterans to emulate. A U.S. Marine who served in Afghanistan, Sutton graduated from Hudson Valley Community College and The College of Saint Rose and is pursuing his master’s degree in computer information systems at Saint Rose.

Pictured l-r: Phil Bayly (WNYT NewsChannel 13) interviews Paul Quirini (NYSID) and Shawn Sutton and Marty Dinan (The College of Saint Rose) during a recent edition of Forum 13, a community affairs program airing in the Capital Region

He credits NYSID’s Battle Buddy Centers at both schools with helping him focus on his studies, secure an internship and launch his career.

“When I first started taking advantage of the Battle Buddy Center at Hudson Valley and Saint Rose, I couldn’t imagine going to another school without a Battle Buddy Center,” he said.

Sutton recently appeared with Paul Quirini, NYSID’s outreach and communications specialist, and Marty Dinan, The College of Saint Rose’s director of veterans enrollment, on Forum 13 with host Phil Bayly to discuss NYSID’s Battle Buddy Centers.

Watch the Forum 13 interview.

Forum 13 is a community affairs program that airs in the Capital Region on WNYT NewsChannel 13 and WNYA My 4. The Forum 13 episode featuring NYSID and Saint Rose will air on Sunday, December  3 at 6 a.m. (WNYT) and 7 a.m. (WNYA).

Since 2011, NYSID has opened 13 Battle Buddy Centers, which have collectively hosted more than 70,000 visits by student veterans, including Saint Rose, NYSID’s first Battle Buddy Center at a private college that opened in 2015. The location represents collaboration among NYSID, Saint Rose and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany, a NYSID member agency.

“The College of Saint Rose is a shining example of all that a NYSID Battle Buddy Center can be,” Quirini said. “Shawn Sutton is a true ambassador for the Battle Buddy Center concept, bringing it from a two-year college to a four-year college and reaching out to his fellow student veterans.”

The military concept of a “Battle Buddy” partners soldiers to assist each other both in and out of combat, and NYSID’s Battle Buddy Centers serve as safe havens for student veterans to study, socialize and receive services they need.

NYSID’s Battle Buddy Center at Saint Rose is the centerpiece for all veteran and veteran dependent students on campus. This semester, Saint Rose has more than 60 veterans enrolled in classes and approximately 132 dependents.

Dinan, a 1986 graduate of Saint Rose who served in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserves and New York Army National Guard, praises NYSID for its support of the Battle Buddy Center at Saint Rose.

“The Battle Buddy Center has been a focus, not only on our campus, but in the community at large,” he said. “We couldn’t do that without the resources from NYSID.”

Learn more about NYSID’s Battle Buddy Centers on our website and Facebook page.

October 23, 2017

NYSID Honors NYSDOT as State Government Customer of the Year

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:37 pm

The New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) has a longstanding history with NYSID member agency workforces and was recognized for this commitment as 2017 State Government Customer of the Year during NYSID’s Annual Meeting on September 26 at The Saratoga Hilton.

Matthew Haas, director of purchasing, NYSDOT, accepts 2017 State Government Customer of the Year Award from Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO, and Kevin Crosley, NYSID board of directors vice chair

Beginning in 1986 at DOT’s Regional Office in Hornell, this contract with Allegany Arc for cleaning services has continued without interruption for 31 years, creating jobs for 59 different individuals in Allegany’s work division.

Over time, DOT support has flourished to relationships with 20 different NYSID member agencies today, nearly 50 contracts in all, some of which operate 365 days a year. This includes 16 different DOT-operated rest areas from the tip of western New York to the tip of Long Island, where custodians can be found working on weekends and holidays, no matter what the weather.

An outstanding example of the DOT service to travelers across New York State is the new Long Island Expressway Welcome Center, which features an expansive Taste of New York store, local history displays and numerous travel conveniences to families, business people, and other visitors. And on opening day last October, custodians from The Corporate Source and American Maintenance went right to work, making sure the DOT facility met its customer service goal.

“Working here is everything from snow removal to plant upkeep,” said Stephen Egan who works at the DOT Long Island Welcome Center. We have grapes, we have strawberries, we have apple trees. We got everything. It is eight acres of property that we maintain here.”

Matthew Haas, director of purchasing, accepted the 2017 State Government Customer of the Year Award on behalf of DOT.

October 16, 2017

Spectrum Designs Foundation Receives Member Agency of the Year

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:47 pm

Spectrum Designs Foundation is an integrated workforce with employees earning minimum wage or above depending on education, skill-set, experience and general performance.

Pictured l-r: Tim Howe, COO; and Evan Kuhlmey, Spectrum Designs Foundation; Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO; Patrick Bardsley, CEO and co-founder, Spectrum Designs Foundation; and Kevin Crosley, NYSID board of directors vice chair

NYSID presented its 2017 Member Agency of the Year Award to Spectrum during its Annual Meeting on September 26 at The Saratoga Hilton.

Spectrum has been a NYSID member agency for five years and its employees have benefitted greatly from the Preferred Source program.

The buzz of activity within the integrated Spectrum Designs special enterprise consists of a constant flow of color and texture, as plain apparel is turned into customized products.

More than 30 individuals living on the autism spectrum who work in the screen printing and embroidery departments create this energy, while also creating shirts, sweatshirts, safety apparel, hats, and much more.

“I like working here because what I do, which is screenprinting, is something that I enjoy doing. It is visual, artistic medium,” said Evan Kuhlmey, on behalf of the Spectrum Designs team. “It’s a small shop, so people are in close quarters. We get along, we get to know each other, everybody’s very helpful. We know exactly what we need to do so we all cooperate to achieve the goal. It works out. Things get done very efficiently, I think.”

Spectrum Designs provides apparel to state and local government agency customers, including 24 school districts, numerous municipalities, several residential and psychiatric centers, public works entities, and other Preferred Source purchasers. Its expanding NYSID business also has increased employment opportunities for its team of dedicated workers.

Spectrum Designs supports its fellow NYSID member agencies by printing shirts for walks and other fundraising events, and also has printed shirts for two NYSID WORKS! community improvement events. On a wider scale, Spectrum provides custom apparel to countless not-for-profit organizations and events, including the national Autism Speaks walk and New York City’s Annual Disability Pride Parade.

Schenectady ARC was named Member Agency of the Year Award co-recipient.

October 12, 2017

Vets’ Summit Offers Career, Education and Wellness Opportunities

Category: General — NYSID @ 4:09 pm

A statewide job fair for veterans, NYSID Battle Buddy Centers and an inclusive rowing program for people with disabilities were among the highlights of NYSID’s quarterly Veterans’ Summit on October 11.

Attendees from the Capital Region, Central New York, North Country, Hudson Valley and greater New York City attended the event.

Pictured l-r: Tim Giarrusso and Rich Sirianni, Rochester Community Inclusive Rowing (RCiR); Mario Cometti, Anita Domanico and Kenneth Williams, VETCON

Summit presenters included:

Kenneth Williams, executive director of the Division of Service Disabled Veterans’ Business Development, New York State Office of General Services; and Mario Cometti, partner, Tully Rinckey PLLC. They are part of an alliance coordinating VETCON 2017 (Veterans in Economic Transition Conference) at The Desmond November 28-29.

Paul Quirini, communications and outreach specialist, NYSID. He discussed NYSID’s Battle Buddy Centers, which are safe havens for veterans on college campuses to socialize with their fellow veterans and receive services they need. NYSID’s 13 Battle Buddy Centers have collectively hosted more than 70,000 visits by veterans since September 2011.

Tim Giarrusso, president/CEO, Human Technologies, and co-founder, Rochester Community Inclusive Rowing (RCiR); and Rich Sirianni, RCiR and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. RCiR is aimed at expanding access to individuals with barriers to rowing. NYSID supported RCiR’s all night row of 363 miles last August to fund an inclusive rowing center to serve veterans and people with disabilities.

David Hernandez, director, Health Facilities Management Group, NYS Department of Health, Todd Rosenfield, project manager, NYS Division of Veterans’ Affairs, attended on behalf of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Ann Mueller, deputy district director, Congressman John Faso (R-Kinderhook), and Vinnie Nicosia, deputy director of operations, NYS Senator George Amedore (R,C,IP-46), member of the NYS Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, also attended.

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

“I attended my first NYSID Veterans’ Summit on October 11. I was warmly greeted by several people and, as the meeting began, we each introduced ourselves. It quickly became apparent that this was a room full of stakeholders who were either veterans or worked with veterans and cared deeply for their particular mission or business,” said Suzanne Stevens, director of sales & marketing, Mid-Hudson Works. “The three presentations were professional, empathetic to helping veterans and prepared with videos and stories that have changed lives.

“The wealth of services and support in that room was impressive and clearly heartfelt and genuine. NYSID is skilled at providing an environment to foster ideas and collaboration in a manner that is welcoming and results oriented. This was not just another meeting, it was truly a Summit with the highest level of consideration for our veterans in mind. I encourage anyone who works with or hires veterans to attend the next time.”

“While I knew several people attending the Veterans’ Summit, I was able to meet and interact with many others whom I did not know,” said Robert Volk, program coordinator, Heroes @ Home/Vet 2 Vet Peer Support. “This helped introduce me to programs I was not aware of, many of which are located right here in the Capital Region. I would highly recommend others attend the Summit, based on the ability to network with great people at one location, especially representatives from the state and federal government, and the high level of presentation and program presented.”

NYSID assists with veterans’ support programs, promoting quality of life for veterans as they reconnect to the New York State workforce.

October 10, 2017

Schenectady ARC Named Member Agency of the Year for Employment Excellence in Work Center and Community

Category: General — NYSID @ 1:16 pm

In its 65th year of providing wide-ranging services, Schenectady ARC received NYSID’s 2017 Member Agency of the Year Award for recognizing the importance of employment as a means for individuals to live fulfilled lives throughout the Schenectady County community.

Pictured l-r: Ryan Labeau, mobile worksite supervisor; Jose Acosta, offsite contract manager; Paul Roes, Employee of the Year; Kirk Lewis, executive director; Valerie Andreoli, business development leader; and Greg Winnie, director of manufacturing operation, Schenectady ARC/Pine Ridge Industries

Schenectady ARC was honored during NYSID’s Annual Meeting on September 26 at The Saratoga Hilton.

The ARC’s Pine Ridge Industries offers center-based and community employment choices, including Preferred Source jobs.

In Document Destruction Services, a team of up to six individuals serves more than 100 state government customers. For Mailroom Services, one individual works at the Schenectady Justice Center, a contract that has continued since 2000. Two individuals work at the Albany County Airport Authority in Plant Maintenance Services.

Pine Ridge Industries also has assembled and packaged a number of Preferred Source products over the years. This includes recent state approval to produce the new Jamboxx breath-controlled musical instrument that can be played hands-free or held by hand.

Taking steps to expand center-based job choices, Pine Ridge has opened its doors to several local startup manufacturing businesses, with the potential to develop some of these products into new Preferred Source items.

Their chosen Employee of the Year, Paul Roes, is a familiar presence to Pine Ridge Industries’ Document Destruction customers, removing full containers of confidential records and bringing in new ones. He speaks knowledgeably of the process and represents his employer at the Preferred Source Expo at New York GovBuy in May.

According to his supervisor, Paul is “the main man” on the crew. He takes ownership of each task he’s assigned and is proud of the paycheck that he earns.

“I like my job because I make more money.” Paul said. “I get paid every Friday. I live with my sister. I give her money. My sister is proud of me because I got an award. So I’m going to put it on my mantle.”

John Craig, our Annual Meeting emcee, profiled Paul in this wonderful story on WNYT NewsChannel 13.

NYS Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara, NYSID’s 2016 Legislative Preferred Source Champion Award co-recipient, attended the Annual Meeting in support of Schenectady ARC, as the agency is located in his Assembly district.

Spectrum Designs Foundation in Nassau County was named Member Agency of the Year Award co-recipient.

October 5, 2017

NYSID Helps Humane Society Provide Shelter from the Storm

Category: General — NYSID @ 4:31 pm

NYSID contributes funds to numerous member agency and other non-profit events through its community outreach program, especially in times of need for people and pets alike.

NYSID staff donated items and funds throughout September to support the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society (MHHS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Menands (Albany County) that has been providing shelter for lost, abused and unwanted animals since 1887.

In recent months, MHHS has cared for numerous cats and dogs moved from shelters in Texas and Florida to make room for animals directly impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

By freeing up precious kennel space closest to the hardest-hit areas, MHHS aids in the ongoing process of reuniting people with their pets.

NYSID staff collected numerous items, including: paper towels, shoe boxes, binders, dog/cat food, dog treats, dog/cat toys, dog balls, towels, blankets, bleach, laundry detergent, fabric softener sheets, scoops, bags, cat litter, gerbil/hamster/rabbit treats, and two dog beds.

NYSID also generously donated funds on behalf of the organization to MHHS.

NYSID staff donated items and funds to support the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, which has cared for numerous cats and dogs impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Melissa Lieberman and Noreen Cronin, NYSID senior contract administration specialists, recently delivered the items and funds donated by NYSID staff to MHHS.

“I volunteer at MHHS, so I know how much the animals benefit from NYSID’s donations,” Lieberman said. “MHHS thanked us very much for NYSID’s generosity.”

Properly sheltering and caring for animals requires a large range of equipment and supplies. Many of these pets will require ongoing care and treatment before they are available for adoption.

To carry out its work for the animals, MHHS receives no ongoing funding from federal, state or local governments or any other animal welfare organization, instead relying on donations to support its vital services for the animals. Donated items enable MHHS to direct its financial resources to services and programs.

MHHS is the Capital Region’s oldest and largest animal protection organization, receiving an average of more than 6,000 animals per year.

Thanks to all NYSID staff who generously donated to MHHS!

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