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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Andrew Cuomo
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 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. With just under $60,000 distributed through Niagara County. 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.”

Governor 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. 

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 New York State has been awarded a training grant from the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Programs which will provide comprehensive assistance in support of the Governor’s Employment First Initiative and allow for the training of up to 10,000 service providers in the provision of disability employment services.

NYESS, an integral part of the Governor’s 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 which 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. 

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 2016-2017, 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 Governor Cuomo’s Employment First Agenda, and create 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.

Michael Seereiter, President and CEO of the New York State Rehabilitation Association said: "Flexible funding and technical assistance are the most effective ways government can support innovation and creativity when it comes to assisting people with disabilities find opportunities for inclusion in our community. New York is to be highly commended for bringing these resources to bear on the efforts of providers of employment supports. Allowed to remain flexible, these resources will continue to make New York a leader among states in disability employment supports and inclusion."

New York State’s Employment First Initiative is supported by the following New York State agencies: The Office of Mental Health, the Department of Health, the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, the Department of Labor, the Division of Veterans Affairs, the Office of Children and Family Services, the Department of Transportation, Empire State Development, the Education Department, the Commission for the Blind, the Department of Civil Services, and the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.

NYESS is a registered employment network with the U.S. Social Security Administration’s Ticket-to-Work program, which supports career development for people with disabilities. NYESS coordinates these Ticket-to-Work services at the local level. NYESS is administered by the Office of Mental Health and the Department of Labor in collaboration with Commission for the Blind, State Education Department ACCES-VR, Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, and the Office for the Aging.

More information on the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Programs’ Employment First efforts is available here.

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