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NYSID News Blog

July 28, 2015

Long-Time Member Agency Profile: Liberty ARC

Category: General — NYSID @ 2:31 pm

As NYSID continues its 40th anniversary celebration, we acknowledge some of our long-time member agencies for creating meaningful employment for New Yorkers with disabilities throughout our 40-year history.

In the coming weeks, we’ll highlight these member agencies to demonstrate their human service support and economic impact within communities across New York State. We’ll look back at their early days, update their current success stories, and envision what the future holds.

Robert Yesse, Liberty's 2013 Joslin Outstanding Performer

Today’s member agency is Liberty, the Montgomery County Chapter of NYSARC, Inc.

NYSID: The slogan for our 40th anniversary is “40 Years of Looking Forward.” What are some of the ways in which your agency has been looking forward and continues to do so?

Liberty: Since the early days, Liberty has been seeking new ways to support its mission and maintain its fiscal stability. In support of the mission, Liberty was one of the first ARC Chapters to seek voluntary accreditation through the Council on Quality and Leadership. Since 2005, the agency has been accredited by CQL. The standards established by CQL have helped Liberty define, measure and improve the personal quality of life for the people it supports and are now widely recognized as guidelines for supports throughout New York State.

NYSID: When was your agency founded? How many people with disabilities were employed by your agency then and now?

Liberty: Liberty, the Montgomery County Chapter of NYSARC, Inc. started as a parent-run, advocacy organization nearly 60 years ago. The parents who established the organization in 1957 originally focused their efforts on advocacy for educational programs to meet the needs of their children with disabilities.

In 1969, Liberty began operating employment programs for citizens with developmental and other disabilities on Liberty Street in Amsterdam. The program began with three individuals and one volunteer staff person; currently, the organization supports 543 individuals in its core programs (residential, day & family support, and vocational training programs). Liberty employs 825 staff members. In Montgomery County, 114 New Yorkers with disabilities worked 56,951 employment hours on Preferred Source contracts in 2014.

In this 1990's photo, a Liberty employee works on razors

NYSID: What jobs do people with disabilities still perform today, as they did years ago? What are some of the newer jobs for this workforce responding to marketplace and technology changes?

Liberty: As in the past, individuals are involved in sorting and packaging items, primarily for NYSID contracts, but also for some other area businesses. One of the newer jobs performed by individuals with disabilities is the wide variety of green cleaning products. For many years, individuals worked in food processing. Although some automated food processing is still done at Liberty Enterprises, individuals are no longer standing on a conveyor belt, peeling potatoes and carrots!

NYSID: How important has your agency’s membership with NYSID been to your longevity and success?

Liberty: Early in its history, Liberty’s leaders created an environment that welcomed and nurtured new ideas. One of Liberty’s strengths is the ability and enthusiasm to pursue opportunities that benefit the people it supports and the organization. The success of the manufacturing department from the beginning and throughout its history is based on the willingness to try new ventures, do everything possible to make them work, and then to let them go when they are no longer viable.

From the early days of NYSID 40 years ago until today, our partnership with NYSID has helped both organizations grow and prosper. We truly value our long relationship and are grateful for the many employment opportunities that have been created for people with disabilities involved in our programs.



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