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June 26, 2017

Journey Along the Erie Canal Gives Meaning to Miles Across NYS

Category: General — NYSID @ 1:18 pm

For the fifth consecutive year, John Robinson and Doug Hamlin are leading Journey Along the Erie Canal, a 370-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.

John Robinson and Doug Hamlin listen as Corey Heritage from NYSID speaks during Journey Along the Erie Canal at Liberty ARC (file photo)

Journey Along the Erie Canal began June 26 in Buffalo’s Canal Side Park and concludes July 7 at Jennings Landing in Albany. As the tour makes its way across New York, numerous NYSID member agencies and other supporters of inclusive communities for the people NYSID serves will join John and Doug for parts of the trip, as the two men ride using specialized hand cycles.

John and Doug 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.

“NYSID is proud to support John, Doug and their fellow riders as they embark upon their fifth annual Journey ride,” said Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO. “Over the years, this dedicated 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 NYS Canal Corporation, NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, and other sponsors of this motivating example of giving meaning to miles.”

Born as a congenital amputee without full arms and legs, John overcame countless obstacles to become a successful businessman, husband, father and inspirational speaker. In 2011 he founded Our Ability with Doug, a 28-year veteran of the software industry who is also disabled as the result of an accident in 1983.

“Each year our Journey aims to raise awareness of the ability inside all people with disabilities,” John said. “Five years ago, our dream was to increase employment for people with disabilities in New York State. In part, our Journey has achieved this goal. We have businesses who work with us and employ people with disabilities. It is a dream come true.”

NYSID staff will participate in the final two legs of Journey Along the Erie Canal:

Day 11 (Thursday, July 6) in Amsterdam featuring Liberty ARC, where we will cheer the departing riders at 8:30 a.m.

Day 12 (Friday, July 7) in Niskayuna for the final ride at 9:30 a.m. into Albany’s Jennings Landing park, where we will cycle with John, Doug and friends.

NYSID member agencies Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled, Wayne ARC, Human Technologies and Schenectady Arc also will participate in legs of the Journey.

This year’s ride highlights the growth of the 30 business-member 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.

Our Ability also will ride in support of Governor Cuomo’s recently proposed project to complete the Hudson River Valley Greenway and Erie Canalway trails, making the waterway accessible to all.

Learn how you can participate in Journey Along the Erie Canal, and follow NYSID’s social media coverage of this uplifting event as it rolls along the historic Erie Canal.

June 15, 2017

My WORK, My SERVICES, My CHOICE: NYSID and Workers With Disabilities Visit Washington for New York Day on Capitol Hill

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:50 pm

Preferred Source workers from across New York State joined NYSID staff on visits to members of the US Senate and House of Representatives in Washington DC to advocate for choice in employment opportunities and service providers during New York Day on Capitol Hill on June 14.

Pictured l-r: Congressman Paul Tonko is all smiles with Amy Levandosky and Russell Porath from NYSID member agency Liberty ARC during New York Day on Capitol Hill

Six NYSID member agencies — AHRC New York City, The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming, Center for Disability Services, Heritage Centers, Liberty ARC and The Osborne Association – including several individuals with disabilities who have been honored by NYSID in recent years, accompanied NYSID staff to our nation’s capital.

Donald McCall, a porter for the Metropolitan Transit Authority through AHRC New York City’s Hudson River Services, proudly participated in New York Day on Capitol Hill with his fellow Preferred Source workers. “We have to spread our voice to keep the government from cutting our programs,” he said. “I like my job because it puts money in my pocket and helps to pay my bills and rent. Without these programs, where am I going to go?”

Specifically, the New York contingent asked legislators to assist with an amendment of the definition of “competitive integrated employment” and recognize the right to employment choice in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) regulations, published August 19, 2016 by the Departments of Labor and Education.

They also urged legislators to inform the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to clarify how in-facility settings are compliant with the Medicaid Home & Community Based Services (HCBS) rule so facility-based programs may continue as a services choice for New Yorkers with disabilities.

Without amending WIOA or clarifying HCBS, jobs and services for NYSID Preferred Source workers across New York State could be in jeopardy.

NYSID participants included Ron Romano, Corey Heritage, Jennifer Lawrence and Megan Tatro. They were joined by the following member agency participants:

AHRC New York City: Donald McCall, Kalsang Nyima, Barbara Olk, Steve Towler, Benjamin Zisfein

The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming: Robert Douglass, David France, Kellie Kennedy

Center for Disability Services: Jahseim Dobbs, Ki Whaley, Rich Whaley

Heritage Centers: David Foster, Kathleen Medley, Tiana Medley, Romental Ray, Clarence Rose, Liz Torres

Liberty ARC: Lisa Butterfield, Dawn Jacksland, Amy Levandosky, Russell Porath

The Osborne Association: Carolina Dyer

Among the legislators/staffers with whom the NYSID contingent visited: Senator Chuck SchumerSenator Kirsten GillibrandRep. Chris CollinsRep. Adriano EspaillatRep. Brian Higgins; Rep. Peter King; Rep. Jerrold NadlerRep. Tom ReedRep. Elise Stefanik; and Rep. Paul Tonko.

“The differently-abled are one of my favorite communities because it’s about courage and meeting challenges,” Congressman Tonko said. “We’re all challenged in life, and no one teaches me that lesson better than the differently-abled community, as to how to meet those challenges and make life work abundantly well.”

Steve Towler, assistant executive director, AHRC New York City, emphasized the importance of choice in employment opportunities as it pertains to WIOA. “The Preferred Source Program is essential and provides nearly 500 life-changing, well-paying jobs,” he said. “If WIOA goes through as written, people like Donald McCall would lose their job coach. The job Donald McCall is now doing would be at risk. This would undermine the success of hundreds of workers.”

Several NYSID member agency participants in New York Day on Capitol Hill have been honored by NYSID in recent years for employment excellence on Preferred Source contracts:

Richard Whaley, a mail processing clerk at the Center for Disability Services, offered heartfelt perspective on his Preferred Source job and his right to employment choice. “My job really helps me personally with my bills and helps me be a normal person in society,” he said. “I really think we need a choice and need these jobs to stay open.”

A 2015 Joslin Outstanding Performer, Rich received special recognition at NYSID’s 2016 Annual Meeting for advocating toward keeping these job choices and bringing to life the importance of his job for himself, his family and his community. He had testified at the NYS Procurement Council meeting about his mail processing job, as Preferred Source mail processing services were coming under scrutiny.

Kathleen Medley, a day porter at the Buffalo City Court Building, was named 2014 NYSID Employee of the Year working on Heritage Centers’ contracts. Last year, she was selected to work at the Buffalo City Court Building, a prestigious and long-standing NYSID Preferred Source contract.

“A job coach taught me how to look for jobs and guided me through life,” she said. “I provide for my whole family with my job. People with disabilities work hard. We want our children to have a normal life like everyone else.”

David France, 2014 Joslin Outstanding Performer, typically juggles multiple community cleaning jobs, including the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT)/Livingston County site and the Finger Lakes DDSO Dogwood Day Services location.

For more photos and videos from New York Day on Capitol Hill, visit NYSID on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Thank you to our member agencies, Preferred Source workers and federal legislators for participating in our hugely successful New York Day on Capitol Hill.

June 14, 2017

Stratton VA Medical Center, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Battle Buddy Centers Highlight NYSID Veterans’ Summit

Category: General — NYSID @ 6:30 pm

On the day the U.S. Army celebrated its 242nd birthday and the nation observed Flag Day, NYSID hosted its quarterly Veterans’ Summit at its Albany office. Summit presenters included:

Penny Deasy and Maureen Corbett, Albany Stratton VA Medical Center, were among the presenters for NYSID's recent Veterans' Summit

Maureen Corbett, vocational program manager; and Penny Deasy, social worker, Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) vocational programs, Albany Stratton VA Medical Center

Emil Baker, Capital Region Chairman, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). During a previous Summit, he presented a framed Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve that was signed by Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO.

Patrick Massaro, coordinator of military and veterans student services, SUNY Canton; and Ben Parker, veteran and military services coordinator, SUNY Oswego

Among the legislators/staffers and NYS officials in attendance:

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

Todd Rosenfield, project manager, NYS Division of Veterans’ Affairs, on behalf of Governor Andrew Cuomo

Kenneth Williams, director of the Division of Service Disabled Veterans’ Business Development within the New York State Office of General Services

Vinnie Nicosia, deputy director of operations, on behalf of Senator George Amedore (R/C-46), member of the NYS Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs

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

Rich Tanchyk, assistant vice president, H & V Collision Center, attended his first NYSID Veterans’ Summit to promote a veteran car donation this summer. He was impressed with the veterans’ organizations represented at the Summit that assist  business owners supporting veterans’ causes.

“The Veterans’ Summit provides an open panel for discussion and useful information between business owners and veteran organizations,” he said. “To any business with a desire to support our veterans, it will be time well spent. Highly recommended!”

June 8, 2017

NYSID Warehouse Program – “We Deliver!” – Hits It Out of the Park

Category: General — NYSID @ 7:57 pm

More than a decade since its debut shipment, NYSID’s warehousing center has proven to be a successful example of member agency cooperation and customer satisfaction.

NYSID's distribution center occupies 50,000 square feet, with $26.2 million in sales and 763,441 cases shipped in 2016

“Establishing a warehouse and distribution center over a decade ago is one of the best things that NYSID ever did in support of its commodity-producing members and customers,” said Ron Romano, NYSID’s president & CEO. “It shows our level of commitment to the employment of individuals with significant challenges.”

As NYSID explored different ways to improve its operation and increase its bottom line, the “We Deliver” warehouse initiative took flight. Liberty ARC in Amsterdam was the original warehouse site, and staff initially were employed by Liberty before transitioning to NYSID employment.

Four member agencies producing 100 different commodities initially were involved, according to Tim Mott, NYSID’s vice president of operations. In NYSID’s first three decades of operation, an order would come into NYSID’s customer service department, and it may have had five different line items involving five different member agencies and generating five different purchase orders.

Sharon Alleyne, NYSID’s eCommerce product information coordinator, was a customer service representative at the time and recalls the frustration felt by both customers and NYSID. “There were times when days would pass before we could respond to a status update on an order,” she said. “We would need to call multiple member agencies and wait to hear back from them before responding to the customer. Non-standardized packing slips often resulted in confusion as to whether an item was missing, on back order, or if it was coming from another member agency.”

Mary Crowley, NYSID’s senior accounts receivable specialist, also was a customer service representative at the time and knows what a cumbersome process it was. “I remember customers looking for rush orders on items like diapers, which the members weren’t always able to accommodate right away,” she said. “Having commodities stocked at our warehouse helps customers receive what they need in a more efficient and timely manner.”

How Times Have Changed

Today, NYSID’s distribution center occupies 50,000 square feet in Johnstown. Nearly 40 member agencies provide products on more than 700 commodities. In calendar year 2016, distribution center products sales totaled $26.2 million and 763,441 cases, with 15.7 million pounds of products shipped.

One manager and five material handlers work at the distribution center, while one supervisor and five customer service representatives work at NYSID’s headquarters in Albany. With the distribution center in place, NYSID oversees product sales from start to finish. “By taking control of inventory, we have virtually everything under one roof and we’ve consolidated shipping,” Mott said. “Now an order comes into our customer service department, the order goes to the warehouse and ships that day.”

In this 2009 file photo, Doug Chamberlain, John Lee and Sharon Alleyne pose inside NYSID's distribution center in Johnstown

While certain products, including apparel, drug test kits and food, are shipped by member agencies, the majority of products ship directly from NYSID’s distribution center.

NYSID member agencies, customers and NYSID itself have reaped the benefits of the distribution center, according to Mott. “For the members, it’s streamlined and simplified their internal processes,” he said. “They were dealing with everything on a transactional basis and generating a lot of paperwork. Now, the member agency only deals with one purchase order, they fill it, we pay them and it’s done. It’s also helped members from a production standpoint because they can coordinate work schedules and anticipate fluctuations in work flow.”

Thanks to the distribution center, orders are consolidated in one shipment and shipped more quickly, which streamlines customers’ operations and ultimately benefits NYSID, in the long run. Visit NYSID’s e-commerce website to view or order products.

The Arc Otsego works closely with NYSID’s warehouse program to maintain a continuous supply of quality incontinence products for shipment, according to Kevin Scott, The Arc Otsego’s business development and sales coordinator.

“This is what drives our workers and creates the jobs that produce these products every day,” he said. “Understanding customers’ requirements to readily have access to products and being responsive to that need is fundamental to NYSID’s core business philosophy.”

The distribution center crew includes (front row, l-r): Mike Pepper, Terry Pedrick, Mike Ficili; and (back row, l-r): Ryan Bellows, Doug Chamberlain and Tom Lalla, manager

Mott praised NYSID’s distribution center crew and customer service team for their diligence and professionalism. “Our folks do a great job, in terms of productivity and timeliness,” Mott said. “We ship 97 percent of all orders that day, and our accuracy rate has been excellent. We’ve only had two warehouse managers, John Lee and Tom Lalla, ensuring the operation flows smoothly.”

Doug Chamberlain, material handler at NYSID’s distribution center, has friends and family who live on the autism spectrum or have other developmental disabilities, and he knows the importance of the “psychic wage” that comes from meaningful employment. “I’m grateful that my job at the warehouse has a positive impact on someone’s daily life,” he said.

Mott is proud of NYSID’s distribution center crew and customer service department for its focus on advancing employment and other opportunities for individuals with disabilities. “When I talk to my staff about sales, it’s about maintaining or growing business to create more opportunities for people with disabilities,” he said. “That’s why it’s important for us to do a good job, be responsive, and meet the needs of our customers. For us, everything we do is about creating those opportunities.”

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.

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