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Dutchess County Government was honored by New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc. (NYSID) as the 2018 “Local Government Customer of the Year” for its support of employment opportunities for individuals of all abilities. NYSID is a not-for-profit organization that works to advance employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities through the New York State Preferred Source Program. Dutchess County Government was among those honored at NYSID’s annual meeting in Albany on October 11th.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “Dutchess County continues to encourage everyone to ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ about our neighbors and colleagues of all abilities. These individuals are a vital part of creating a thriving and more inclusive economic community. We are honored to be named Local Government Customer of the Year and proud to be among those who support the defining principles of ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY.’”
New York State’s Preferred Source Program is designed to advance social and economic goals related to the employment of individuals with disabilities, requiring state and local government agencies to utilize Preferred Source Program vendors for certain purchases or service needs. NYSID is a facilitating agency of the Preferred Source Program and, through its network of member agencies, advances job opportunities that provide meaningful work and economic security for individuals with disabilities.
Dutchess County is proud to support the Preferred Source Program and works closely with NYSID for commodity product purchases including office and cleaning supplies and file storage boxes. Dutchess County also works with NYSID partners the Arc of Ulster-Greene for drug testing kits, Rehabilitation Support Services, Inc. (RSS) in Poughkeepsie for the Department of Behavioral & Community Health’s Intensive Treatment Alternative Program (ITAP) lunch services, and Access: Supports for Living for janitorial services in nearly all County buildings. Watch NYSID’s video about Dutchess County’s commitment to inclusion online.
Dutchess County is dedicated to “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” beyond the Preferred Source Program as well, for example, contracting with Abilities First, Inc. for mail room assistance for Central Services and document scanning for the Dutchess County Clerk’s office.
Also honored at NYSID’s annual event was Maxine Nelson, a Dutchess County resident and member of The Arc of Dutchess’ Community-based Employment program, who received NYSID’s highest personal award, the William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award. The Joslin Awards Program celebrates those who have overcome individual challenges to experience meaningful employment on NYSID Preferred Source contracts. Ms. Nelson overcame limited work history and communications skills and achieved her GED and citizenship, while working for The Arc of Dutchess’ custodial program, Dust Busters. Watch NYSID’s video about Maxine’s journey to independence online.
County Executive Molinaro added, “Congratulations to all of this year’s New York State Industries for the Disabled honorees, particularly Maxine Nelson from The Arc of Dutchess, who has shown great perseverance in her journey to independence and achieving the American Dream. Everyone of every ability deserves the opportunity to find success and live a fulfilling life. We are proud to be a part of the network of services and resources that supports their journey. We are grateful to NYSID for this recognition of our efforts to ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY.’”
Launched by Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro in 2015, the "ThinkDIFFERENTLY" initiative seeks to change the way individuals, businesses, organizations and communities relate to our neighbors of all abilities. For more information, visit the ThinkDIFFERENTLY website.