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NYSID News Blog

June 4, 2014

Abilities First, NYSID Bring “Amaze Away Sponge” to Fruition

Category: General — NYSID @ 6:21 pm

Congratulations to Abilities First, Inc., in Poughkeepsie, which has been approved for a new Preferred Source product, the agency’s first NYSID product.

David Pudvah works on sponges at Abilities First, Inc. The agency hopes to employ 40 individuals with disabilities and several non-disabled workers through this new NYSID Preferred Source product.

As part of the agency’s Workshop Transformation Initiative, Abilities First applied for, and subsequently received approval for, an opportunity to package “Amaze Away Sponges.”

Thanks to the diligence of NYSID’s commodity development team, the Amaze Away Sponge will soon be part of our warehouse inventory and promoted to commodity customers through marketing efforts.

By obtaining a NYSID contract, Abilities First hopes to guarantee a consistent workflow to approximately 40 individuals with disabilities, according to Charley Bender, director of vocational services. Additionally, the agency hopes to hire several non-disabled workers, thereby increasing the integration level of the work site.

The workers will be involved in separating sponges from large sheets; assembling chip boxes and inserting the sponges into boxes; packing and taping master cartons; stacking cartons on pallets; and loading and unloading trucks.

More products means more jobs, so we’re always glad when a NYSID member takes on a Preferred Source business opportunity to create employment. It’s especially rewarding when NYSID helps a member become approved for its first product.

It takes approximately six months for a new product idea to move from the “priority stage” of presenting documentation for market potential and employment, to preparing a clear, concise application for the NYS Office of General Services (OGS), concluding in OGS approval for a new NYSID product.

In this case, Donna Allen, NYSID’s Commodity Development Coordinator, diligently assisted Abilities First with the appropriate NYSID paperwork, while Rob Nadal, NYSID’s Contract Administration Liaison, and Sue Menia, NYSID’s Contract Administration Specialist, devoted painstaking effort to helping the agency submit its OGS paperwork. This was a true team effort across NYSID’s Inventory, Contracts Administration and Marketing Departments.

“This collaborative effort between Abilities First and NYSID is an example of empowering people with disabilities in New York State and providing gainful employment to individuals both with and without disabilities at the same location, thereby offering an integrated worksite for both groups,” Bender said.

Abilities First has been providing vocational support services, including training and counseling, both on-site and in the community, to individuals with disabilities for more than 25 years.

Your decision to purchase Preferred Source products, such as the Amaze Away Sponge, helps boost New York’s economy one job at a time. Every item we sell is the result of the hard work of New Yorkers with disabilities at such agencies as Abilities First. Preferred Source jobs contribute to reduced public assistance costs through economically independent workers and increased government tax revenues.

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