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NYSID News Blog

September 27, 2017

“MAKE THE CHANGE” Serves as Powerful Call to Action During Annual Meeting That Celebrates Preferred Source Employment

Category: General — NYSID @ 2:11 pm

During NYSID’s Annual Meeting on September 26 at The Saratoga Hilton, a crowd of more than 250 attendees proudly wearing campaign-style buttons encouraged legislators to “Make the Change” to Preferred Source legislation — a true display of solidarity among NYSID members, corporate partners and supporters.

Richard Warner, Allegany Arc, and John Humphrey, The Arc of Onondaga/Monarch Industries, each received NYSID's 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award

View our 2017 Annual Meeting video playlist.

This change seeks to clarify Preferred Source Law for ease of administration and increased employment for people with disabilities, so NYSID can continue its core purpose of “Purchasing That Powers Employment” across New York State. NYSID also unveiled “Purchasing That Powers Employment” as its new tagline.

In that spirit, NYSID recognized NYS Senator Robert Ortt (R,C,I-North Tonawanda) and NYS Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D,I,WF-Forestburgh) for their willingness to advocate for individuals with disabilities in their community by presenting each of them with the 2017 Legislative Preferred Source Champion Award.

Senator Ortt has advocated on behalf of facility-based employment in his district, reaching out to the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities and submitting letters to the editor to support work center job choices. Assemblywoman Gunther was the lead sponsor of Assembly bill 6832, which reaffirmed the legislative intent of the Preferred Source Law and provided for needed updates to the law. Ortt co-sponsored the companion bill in the Senate.

Both Senator Ortt and Assemblywoman Gunther also have actively supported NYSID’s CREATE (Cultivating Resources for Employment with Assistive TEchnology) initiative.

John Humphrey, a custodian with The Arc of Onondaga in Syracuse, and Richard Warner, a production/assembly worker with Allegany Arc in Wellsville, were honored as 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipients.

The William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award is NYSID’s most prestigious people-centered award. 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.

Humphrey is a veteran with disabilities who has overcome schizophrenia and homelessness to become the custodian at the Westcott Day Habilitation Center, a state-operated site. 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.

“Don’t let your disability be a barrier, but only an obstacle to overcome,” Humphrey told the Annual Meeting crowd. “You never know what you can accomplish until you try. It is better to try and fail, then it is not to try at all.”

Born with an intellectual disability in challenging circumstances, Warner 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. His journey from welfare to employment and the quality of life he aspired to obtain validates the mission of the NYSID Preferred Source Program.

Upon accepting his award, Warner said, “This is the happiest day of my life.”

NYSID also presented the following awards during its Annual Meeting:

Classroom to Career Award (new in 2017): Crystal Heath, The Arc of Ulster-Greene

The award recognizes an individual with disabilities who personifies the successful collaboration between an educational system and a NYSID member agency leading to employment and independence.

Member Agency of the Year (co-recipients): Schenectady Arc and Spectrum Designs Foundation

State Government Customer of the Year: New York State Department of Transportation

Local Customer of the Year: Rockland County

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

Visit NYSID on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagramYouTube and Google+ in the coming days and weeks for award videos, speeches and more.

Thanks to everyone who attended NYSID’s Annual Meeting, as we encouraged legislators to “Make the Change” and reaffirmed our core purpose of “Purchasing That Powers Employment.”


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