Disabled need more job opportunities

Disabled make great workers


I’m the proud sister of an individual with disabilities who has benefited from New York state’s commitment to creating employment for all of its citizens to reach their full potential.

My brother, Paul, works at Schenectady ARC’s PineRidge Industries center in Scotia. Some days, he works at light industry tasks. Other days, he goes out into the community through the agency’s integrated shredding business, removing bins of highly sensitive documents for secure destruction.

Many of these customers are government agencies that enter into contracts through New York State’s Preferred Source Program in conjunction with a not-for-profit business known as NYSID (New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc.). This creates meaningful employment for people like Paul, who is one of 7,000 employed on NYSID contracts throughout the state.

Paul was recognized for his job at PineRidge Industries at NYSID’s annual business event and awards program in September 2017. I was thrilled to watch him deliver a speech and say “I love my job.” Paul manages his own finances and lives as independently as possible in the community where he grew up. Everyone knows him as “the mayor” of Schenectady.

Not all individuals like Paul have the same opportunity to work in jobs they love. Workers with disabilities experience a 70 percent unemployment rate.

I urge legislators to modernize aspects of the Preferred Source Law to create more employment opportunities than ever before.

My brother’s future security, and that of a truly dedicated workforce of his peers, depends on it.

Trish Harrington


Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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