Schoharie Arc Employees Overcome Adversity and Challenges During COVID-19
Three Schoharie Arc employees are among this year’s Joslin Outstanding Performers. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, we were pleased to receive nominations from 51 Member Agencies and Corporate Partners. Click here to see the nominee list.
Schoharie Arc heads the Toe Path Industries (TPI) manufacturing division, where people with disabilities produce floor maintenance pads for facility cleaning and reflective vehicle graphics for the NYS Police. They also package personal hygiene products and batteries for correctional facilities, schools and offices, and important commercial customers.
In March, nearly 100% of the TPI workforce was prevented from coming to work. This presented a quandary as TPI was deemed an essential business due to the nature of the products and clients they serve. Although supervisors stepped into production roles, they quickly realized they needed a better solution. TPI made the decision to offer the work to three individuals with disabilities whose jobs had been placed on pause. Joshua Jackson, Raymond Trendell and Christopher Stephens accepted without hesitation, and became the stars of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Production Team.
David DiNicola, general manager of Schoharie Arc, said, “Without hesitation these three young men agreed to join our workforce. They came in without a lot of fanfare, sat down with my production team, accepted their work assignments, and set about doing the best they could, every minute of every day. The biggest challenge my team faced was keeping up with them…they gave us their all.”
Josh felt good about being asked to work at TPI during a difficult time. “I like it because I feel it’s better for me to work here. We do important work like police graphics, battery packaging and cutting floor pads. I really enjoy working with the people that I do. Chris and Ray are great workers and they’re a lot like me in that they come to work and not to just talk. We’re here to get the job done for our customers,” he said.
Ray likes the idea that he is not only assisting others, but is making a hard earned dollar. “I like to make money. I like the hours and I like to package batteries,” said Trendell. When asked about his co-workers, he said, “Everyone is friendly.”
Chris enjoyed many of the tasks he performed, including assembling and packaging calendars and planners, cutting and assembling graphics for NYS police vehicles and working for a janitorial crew that cleans offices at Schoharie Arc. “The people I worked with were great. I met a lot of people and became friends. I came back so I could help provide for my family.“ Chris has since moved on to a position at a local business.
NYSID President and CEO Maureen O’Brien sees success stories like this one frequently. “We are so excited to recognize these individuals as Joslin Outstanding Performer award recipients. They each clearly stepped up to the plate and hit a home run during this difficult time period. These individuals are not only contributing to their team and clients at Toe Path Industries, but also to our New York State economy,” she said.
“For some, work defines who we are. For all, it should be a source of justifiable pride. All individuals, regardless of disability, deserve the opportunity to be full members of their community where they can live, learn, work and play through all stages of life,” said DiNicola.
NYSID’s annual Joslin Awards Program coincides with National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October. Many of the Joslin Outstanding Performers will be celebrated at their respective Member Agency or Corporate Partner during this time. Two individuals have been selected from the 51 nominees to attend NYSID’s Annual Meeting on October 20 to receive the William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award.
Check out NYSID’s Facebook and other social media for ongoing Joslin Award profiles.