Robert Wells, Gateway Community Industries, Inc.
Robert Wells received NYSID's prestigious William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award in September 2010, the seventth New Yorker with disabilities to be so honored.
Robert has confronted a variety of challenges, including a developmental disability, a mood disorder and scoliosis, over his 47 years. Joining Gateway Community Industries (GCI) 20 years ago, he was unable to read, use public transportation or handle money, and was limited by poor stress tolerance, limited work endurance and a need for constant supervision. He first worked in GCI's on-site work center. Then in 2006, Robert decided it was time for a career change through an internship in GCI's custom cleaning department. He successfully completed the training program, and has since has worked on NYSID Preferred Source contracts at NYS Thruway Authority toll booths, the Taconic DDSO building and the Hudson River Psychiatric Center.
With his enhanced wages from working on NYSID contracts, Robert comfortably meets his living expenses. What's more, he requested an opportunity to intern as a stock clerk at a local retailer through GCI's supported employment program, and was hired as a part-time stock clerk. At this time, he holds both positions, and is on a mission to find an additional part-time job.
In 2009, Robert was honored as the Ulster County Employee of the Year Award at Gateway's annual Partnership Recognition Breakfast. Working on NYSID contracts has given Robert opportunities to develop skills, access natural supports and overcome barriers. He has developed the skills to manage his transportation needs, handle his earnings and meet the performance, interpersonal and intrapersonal expectations of the workplace, to live an integrated, fulfilling life.