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NYSID News Blog

February 23, 2015

NYSID Speaks Before Governor’s Employment First Commission

Category: General — NYSID @ 5:22 pm

Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO, presented testimony before the Employment First Commission on February 19 at the University of Albany’s School of Public Health in Rensselaer.

Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO (third from right) is shown visiting The Arc Otsego's Vocational Training Center. He provided testimony on behalf of NYSID during the Employment First Commission' hearing on February 19.

NYSID is grateful to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the Employment First Commission for the opportunity to offer its insight. Our network of member agencies and private sector partners has worked together for this common purpose over decades of Preferred Source employment opportunities.

“NYSID and its member agencies have always subscribed to the need to provide individuals with significant disabilities access to jobs that pay the highest possible wage in the most integrated setting appropriate, consistent with an individual’s strengths, needs, abilities and capabilities, and of their choosing,” Romano said. “What this means to us is pursuing an array of approaches for enhancing employment opportunities for persons with significant disabilities.

“The presumed, priority option should be competitive, integrated employment. The full spectrum of approaches must also include however, other paid work opportunities, especially when the economy, labor market and employers’ job requirements produce conditions that reduce the likelihood of workers with disabilities acquiring and maintaining competitive integrated employment at minimum wage or higher. Section 14 (c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act provides additional options, and must remain a viable opportunity for people who need and choose center-based employment at wages provided under the Act so they too can have a job and earn a paycheck.”

Read the testimony Ron Romano provided during the Employment First Commission hearing, or the entire report he submitted to the Employment First Commission. The hearing had originally been scheduled for February 2 but was postponed due to weather.

Last September, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 136 to establish the Employment First Commission, tasked with creating an Employment First policy for New York. The initiative aims to increase the employment rate, and decrease the poverty rate, for New Yorkers who are receiving services from the State, as well as register 100 businesses as having formal policies to hire people with disabilities as part of their workforce strategy.

View the Governor’s press release on the Employment First Commission and Executive Order 136.

The Commission is comprised of representatives from the Governor’s Office and New York State agencies and will build on Governor Cuomo’s comprehensive plan for reclaiming New York’s leadership role in serving people with disabilities.

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