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NYSID News Blog

August 22, 2016

Central New Yorkers Demonstrate Employment Excellence

Category: General — NYSID @ 8:20 am

Eleven Central New Yorkers with disabilities are among 59 statewide Joslin Outstanding Performers recognized through NYSID’s annual people-centered awards program.

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.

The Joslin Outstanding Performers for 2016 from Central New York are:

Gary Davis, St. Lawrence NYSARC/Seaway Industries (Canton), custodial
Keith Drummond, The Arc of Madison Cortland (Oneida), light assembly/production
Matthew Frost, Jefferson Rehabilitation Center (Watertown), machine operation
Shane Jones, Arc of Seneca Cayuga (Waterloo), custodial
Andrew Marshall, The Arc, Oneida‐Lewis Chapter/Progress Industries (Utica), custodial
Esmin Mujcic, Association for Vision Rehabilitation and Employment, Inc./A.V.R.E. (Binghamton), copy paper manufacturing
Vinny Muro, Arc of Onondaga/Monarch Industries (Syracuse), porter
Michael Phillips, ACHIEVE/Country Valley Industries (Binghamton), document preparation
Trevor Pumilio, Human Technologies Corporation (Utica), custodial
Cheyenne Wenck, The Arc of Chemung/Southern Tier Industries (Elmira), custodial
Geoff West, JM Murray, (Cortland), assembly/packaging

The 2016 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipients will be honored during NYSID’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday, September 21 at 5 p.m. at The Saratoga Hilton in Saratoga Springs.

Xerox State & Local Solutions, Inc. in Broome County also has been named 2016 Corporate Partner of the Year. This year’s Annual Meeting theme is #EmploymentEmpowers.

NYSID’s annual Joslin Awards Program celebrates excellence in Preferred Source employment by New Yorkers with disabilities. All Outstanding Performers receive a certificate of achievement and cash award, and are featured in an annual yearbook.

NYS Senator Young, NYS Assemblymember Santabarbara Display True Commitment to New Yorkers With Disabilities

Category: General — NYSID @ 8:03 am

NYS Senator Catharine Young addresses participants in the 2015 CREATE Symposium. NYS Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara is pictured second from right.

NYSID has named NYS Senator Catharine Young (R/I/C-Olean) and NYS Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam) its 2016 Legislative Preferred Source Champion Award co-recipients.

The awards will be presented during NYSID’s 2016 Annual Meeting on Wednesday, September 21 at The Saratoga Hilton in Saratoga Springs at 5 p.m.

Senator Young and Assemblymember Santabarbara have long been known for their advocacy on behalf of individuals with disabilities in their communities.

Senator Young introduced legislation providing a means for sheltered workshops to transition into qualified employment centers that could continue to employ people with developmental disabilities, while also providing tax incentives to encourage additional employment.

Before entering public office, Senator Young served as the director of communications and development at The ReHabilitation Center in Olean, a NYSID member agency, for 15 years. She actively serves as a member of the Senate Health Committee and Senate Children and Family Services Committees.

“During my time at The ReHabilitation Center, I witnessed compassion every day, in ways great and small,” Senator Young said. “It is an experience that I hold close to my heart. People with disabilities want what everyone wants –– the opportunity to work and earn a paycheck. NYSID and its member agencies in my NYS Senate District have been truly instrumental in helping our local residents with disabilities fulfill their desire to work and be productive members of society.”

NYS Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam), center, poses with participants in NYSID's quarterly Veterans' Summit at its Albany headquarters.

Assemblymember Santabarbara introduced an Autism Action Plan earlier this year to create services and supports enhancing the quality of life of New Yorkers living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and supporting their families and caregivers. His son Michael, 14, was diagnosed with autism at age 3, and Assemblymember Santabarbara serves as chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Autism Retention.

A member of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Assemblyman Santabarbara regularly participates in NYSID’s quarterly Veterans’ Summits, which provide an in-person clearinghouse for individuals and organizations supporting veterans with disabilities in New York State.

“NYSID has a long and important history of creating employment opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities and I’m proud to support their mission,” Assemblymember Santabarbara said. “Each year, hundreds of people in the Capital Region are able to know the responsibility of a job and the pride of earning a paycheck because of NYSID and its partners. I look forward to a continued partnership for many years to come.”

Both legislators have actively supported NYSID’s CREATE initiative in 2015 and 2016.

During NYSID’s Annual Meeting, legislators, individuals employed on Preferred Source contracts, not-for-profits, small businesses, New York State and municipal agencies will all be recognized for their work to create jobs for New Yorkers with disabilities. Be part of the NYSID Annual Meeting conversation, using the hashtag #EmploymentEmpowers.

Register today for NYSID’s Annual Meeting. We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, September 21 at 5 p.m. at The Saratoga Hilton.

August 15, 2016

Xerox Highlights NYSID Preferred Source Job Creation in Central NY

Category: General — NYSID @ 3:50 pm

Ralph Talarico of Rehabilitation Support Services is one of thousands of examples of workforce development across NYS, demonstrating that, "There is no substitute for hard work."

NYSID recently was featured on the Xerox blog for its Preferred Source job creation efforts across New York State, including a successful collaboration between member agency ACHIEVE and Xerox for document imaging.

“In 2014, ACHIEVE, a NYSID community rehabilitation member agency in Binghamton, partnered with Xerox to provide document imaging solutions to the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board,” the blog post reads. “Eighty million digital images have been created to date, streamlining operations for this important customer. What’s more, 100 new jobs were made available to individuals with disabilities, building skill sets, reducing unemployment and energizing a local economy.”

The blog post also highlights Michelle Wolfe of The Arc of Madison Cortland, NYSID’s 2015 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipient, and details NYSID’s Preferred Source employment efforts statewide.

“Through the New York State Preferred Source Program, NYSID provides business solutions for state and local government customers,” the blog post reads. “We do this through a network of approximately 125 community non-profit rehabilitation agencies who often partner with private sector businesses, such as Xerox. Together, they employ New Yorkers with disabilities, including veterans returning to the workforce, on imaging, custodial and additional Preferred Source service contracts.

“As a result, more than 7,000 New Yorkers with disabilities are annually employed and, in 2015, earned $60 million in wages. Moreover, these workers gained greater independence in their lives and communities and developed the self-worth that comes with having a job.”

Jennifer Lawrence, NYSID’s corporate communications manager, wrote the blog post, which appears in the Organization Spotlight section of the Xerox blog.

August 1, 2016

Suzanne Wright, Autism Speaks Co-Founder, Remembered

Category: General — NYSID @ 1:36 pm

Suzanne Wright and her husband, Bob, co-founded Autism Speaks in 2005 after their grandson, Christian, was diagnosed with autism.

Suzanne Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, has died after fighting a courageous nine-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

Wright, 69, died July 29 at her home in Fairfield, CT and was surrounded by her family at the time of her death.

Brian Kelly, Autism Speaks chairman of the board of directors, and Angela Geiger, president and CEO, honored Suzanne’s enduring legacy in a joint statement:

“What Suzanne Wright has done to raise awareness of autism is immeasurable. Even during the past few difficult months, her determination never wavered. For more than a decade, she has been a tireless advocate on the national and international stage: at the United Nations, on Capitol Hill, at Autism Speaks Walks nationwide, and in personal letters of support to individuals and families affected by autism. Suzanne sparked a global conversation with one question: How can we help people with autism live their best possible lives? Persuading the world to see the potential in each child and adult on the vast autism spectrum is her greatest legacy. As we look to the future, Autism Speaks remains committed to advancing the important mission she began.”

In 2005, Suzanne and her husband, Bob Wright, co-founded Autism Speaks after their grandson, Christian, was diagnosed with autism.

At the helm of Autism Speaks, Suzanne helped create the iconic blue puzzle-piece logo that is now recognized around the world to represent autism. Working with the Ad Council and BBDO Worldwide, Suzanne and Bob Wright launched a 10-year public service announcement campaign that is credited with educating countless families about the early signs of autism.

Suzanne also led Autism Speaks’ signature global awareness initiatives. Her indefatigable determination was key to persuading the United Nations to establish April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day, establishing the annual World Focus on Autism, and launching the international Light It Up Blue campaign, which this year lit landmarks, buildings and homes in 157 countries.

As part of the United Nations’ World Autism Awareness Day, Suzanne addressed the United Nations’ General Assembly every year for eight consecutive years. In addition, in conjunction with this event, she organized and hosted the annual World Focus on Autism, an unprecedented gathering of first ladies and dignitaries from around the world, devoted to planning and coordinating efforts to raise autism awareness.

In November 2014, Suzanne spoke at the Vatican’s first-ever conference on autism, where she called for all nations and faiths to “walk next to the 70 million children, teens and adults with autism around the world every day.”

Read the complete article and view a video on Suzanne Wright’s life and legacy.

July 19, 2016

TIP Continues With Quality Training, Essential Business Information

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:46 pm

NYSID offers TIP sessions at our Albany headquarters training facility and member agencies across New York State

NYSID developed its Training & Information Program (TIP) with you in mind –– professionals who take a forward-looking approach to their work and who proactively seek ways to improve business operations while creating job opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities.

Register now for our outstanding TIP sessions in July and August: Employment Law Developments and What They Mean for your Agency (July 27); Turning Groups Into Teams for Optimal Productivity (August 3, 17 and 24); Federal Department of Labor: Are You Ready for a Wage Hour Audit? (August 10); NYS Department of Labor Prevailing Wage (August 10); NEW! Uncover Hidden Sales Opportunities (August 10); Behavioral Interviewing (August 16); NEW! Cyber Security (August 18); 2016 Business Development Forum: Brave New World (August 24); NEW! Communicate with the Style of a Dynamic Supervisor (August 30).

Our trainings span a wide and diverse range of topics which, among other things, are designed to help participants leverage enhanced strategies toward improving productivity, engaging employees, complying with relevant laws and regulations, and, ultimately creating new jobs.

TIP’s offerings emphasize process improvement at both the individual and organizational level. By offering quality training and essential business information to members and private-sector business partners at no cost, NYSID supports the development of business models that can successfully navigate the procurement landscape.

We’ve further aligned our offerings with consumer demand for cutting-edge process improvements. To this end, and in response to our ever increasingly digital world, we’ve added sessions on Cyber Security to our roster. In the area of Staff Development, we offer a new session on Managing Your Time at Work.

Under our Business Development and Marketing offerings, we have included new sessions titled “Funding Mission Through Franchising: A Nonprofit Guide” and “Uncover Hidden Sales Opportunities,” as our member agencies seek innovative strategies to achieve their missions.

In addition, NYSID’s Lending Library has many publications and resources available for loan.

We look forward to seeing you at our Albany headquarters training facility or at any of our other regional TIP sessions hosted across New York State, as we work together in fulfillment of the NYSID mission of “Turning Business Opportunities into Jobs for New Yorkers with Disabilities.”

For more information on TIP, contact Karen DiBella, TIP manager, at kdibella@nysid.org or 518.694.0220.

July 14, 2016

NYSID Responds to Office of the State Comptroller Audit

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:31 pm

In response to the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) recently released audit report – 2014-S-77 – NYSID released the following statement:

“In its 40-year history in New York State, NYSID has proven itself to be a trusted state designated vehicle for creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities. NYSID has proudly partnered with the state, local governments, not-for-profit organizations and New York businesses to provide tens of thousands of jobs to capable and deserving individuals across New York State. In 2015 alone, NYSID Preferred Source contracts employed a diverse group of more than 7,000 New Yorkers with disabilities working 4.27 million hours and earning $59.7 million in wages.

“From the outset of this audit process, NYSID made clear to OSC that it welcomed the Comptroller’s analysis of the Preferred Source Program and NYSID’s compliance practices. For this audit to have maximum value to the state, OSC needed to examine the entire scope of NYSID’s program and review the specific issues that arise when working with people with disabilities. Unfortunately, OSC chose not to do that as part of its analysis.

“During the three-year period covered by this audit, corporate partnerships accounted for 14 percent of the jobs created while 86 percent of the reported jobs were provided by not-for-profit agencies performing on their own. The audit makes no attempt to put into context the role of corporate partnerships within NYSID’s program. The audit also contains many inaccurate and incomplete findings that were brought to OSC’s attention, but nevertheless remained in the final audit.

“As an established partner of New York, NYSID recognizes that its contracting process requires ongoing assessment and modifications to meet the needs of the various groups it supports. NYSID remains committed to working with OSC and other relevant state agencies to improve the Preferred Source contracting process and maintain the integrity of the program.”

READ NYSID’S FULL RESPONSE TO OSC

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.

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