The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Mid-Hudson Employment Alliance and New York State Adult Career & Continuing Education Services (ACCES-VR), is pleased to once again recognize National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October.
ACCES-VR honors businesses and workers that are committed to its mission of assisting individuals with disabilities to achieve and maintain employment and supporting independent living through training, education, rehabilitation and career development. Awards were presented at the Chamber’s Contact Breakfast on October 16 at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel and Conference Center.
The awareness month is sponsored locally by Rose & Kiernan, Greystone Programs and The Arc of Dutchess. Nominations are submitted in the spring and then reviewed at the state level.
The statewide winner is Sam’s Club in Fishkill, being recognized for their dedication of not only hiring individuals with disabilities, but creating a mentorship with those individuals to find a job role that is the best fit for them. This, paired with flexible work schedules and a company culture of respect, has led so many to see Sam’s Club as a welcoming company to work for. Through a partnership with The Arc of Dutchess, they have placed 7 individuals in the past 8 years within their store. And this dedication is company-wide, with Sam’s Club being an initial investor contributing $350,000 to the National Organization on Disabilities’ “Bridges to Business” program.
The Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill is being recognized with a local NDEAM award. ERVK has a long and storied legacy of empowering young leaders, and this is true about those with disabilities as well. During the summer, they worked with the Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany to have two young adults work at the site. Within the program, they not only provided the individuals with the chance to take on more challenges, but also to help them develop their own part of the program to address what they wanted to learn more about.
The Business Services Team of ACCES-VR is also recognizing Vitality Bowls of Wappingers Falls for their advocacy and commitment to providing employment and advancement opportunities to individuals with disabilities. Vitality Bowls had their first interaction with ACCESS-VR through a Chamber Master Your Membership event, and that introduction led to a blossoming relationship. Because of this connection, Vitality Bowls was able to hiring an individual who was so successful at his job, he was promoted within 6 months of being hired. This led Vitality Bowls to hire another ACCES-VR participant, and business owner Lesa Boom begin pushing other franchises to connect with similar organizations who can assist in the hiring of individuals with disabilities.
For more information on NDEAM, please visit www.acces.nysed.gov/vr/ndeam