Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that $2.4 million has been distributed to 100 organizations that provide employment services to individuals with disabilities via the New York State Employment Services System. This funding is part of the governor’s Employment First Initiative to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
“This funding continues New York’s legacy of inclusiveness by helping provide the necessary employment services to individuals with disabilities,” Governor Cuomo said. “This action is yet another example of our commitment to expanding opportunity to all New Yorkers.”
Cuomo’s Employment First Initiative, created through Executive Order 136, is tasked with establishing policies and practices for government, community agencies and advocacy organizations to increase the employment rate of New Yorkers with disabilities, decrease the poverty rate of New Yorkers with disabilities, and encourage businesses to establish formal policies to hire people with disabilities.
In Nassau County, the following organizations will benefit from the funding:
• Family Residences & Essential Enterprises Inc. $3,350.40
• Mill Neck Services $23,120.37
• Town of Hempstead Department of Occupational Resources $74,477.01
New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Marie T. Sullivan said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York State continues to lead the way on disability employment. Helping individuals with mental illness find meaningful work not only helps economically, it also plays an important role in the recovery process, fostering a sense of independence and pride. By working together, providing support for each step forward, we are truly creating a brighter future for New York.”
The governor also announced that the state has been awarded a training grant from the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Programs that will provide comprehensive assistance in support of the Employment First Initiative and allow for the training of up to 10,000 service providers in the provision of disability employment services.
“We have an important responsibility to help provide support and opportunities to New Yorkers with disabilities so they can achieve their full potential and live with dignity and independence,” said Congresswoman Kathleen Rice. “This federal funding will support hundreds of organizations across the state that help thousands of disabled New Yorkers secure good, permanent jobs, both by strengthening job placement services and by enhancing the training of the people who are on the ground providing these services.”
Rice added, “These funds will go a long way toward building a highly qualified, professional workforce that is fully committed to helping New Yorkers with disabilities find rewarding and sustainable employment.”
New York Employment Services System (NYESS), an integral part of the Employment First Initiative, is the largest employment network for people with disabilities in the United States. To date, $2.4 million from the Social Security Administration has been received by 100 New York State organizations that have assisted 7,755 individuals with disabilities with employment services, helping 1,366 individuals find permanent employment. NYESS provides all New Yorkers—regardless of ability—with access to comprehensive employment-related services and supports including job matching with the approximately 120,000 jobs currently posted by employers in the state.
“It is very gratifying to see the governor and the administration taking these steps to advance the promise of employment and greater economic self-sufficiency for New Yorkers with disabilities,” said Harvey Rosenthal, executive director of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services. “Employment is the essential pathway out of poverty and towards wellness and full community inclusion.”
As one of 19 states to receive training assistance from the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Programs in fiscal year 2016-17, New York will receive 400 hours of training from nationally recognized experts in the field of disability employment. This training will focus on assisting community service providers in the cultural transformation necessary to support Cuomo’s Employment First Agenda and creating strategies for the implementation of specific services aimed at improving the employment rate and reducing the poverty rate among individuals with disabilities.
To expand the reach of this valuable training, the state will pursue a “train-the-trainers” approach and prioritize the training of the leadership of disability employment trade associations affiliated with the New York State Inclusive Workforce Alliance. It is expected that each of the 20 members of the Inclusive Workforce Alliance will train 100 of their members in the delivery of evidence-based practices supporting the Employment First model.
Visit www.dol.gov/odep/topics/EmploymentFirst.htm for more information on the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Programs’ Employment First efforts.