NYSID 2022 Joslin Awards Program Yearbook

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NYSID’s Joslin Awards Program annually celebrates outstanding performance on NYSID contracts:

• 44 nominees in 2022

• 964 individuals recognized since 2004

• 19 years of awarding deserving individuals

William B. Joslin served as Chief Executive Officer of Human Technologies in Utica and as a member of NYSID’s Board of Directors for many years. NYSID’s Joslin Awards Program was established to honor Bill Joslin’s unwavering commitment to Preferred Source employment opportuni ties and empowered lives.


Advancing employment and other opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Dear Members and Supporters:

It is our great pleasure to introduce NYSID’s 2022 Joslin Outstanding Performers. These 44 profiles, submitted by NYSID Member Agencies and Corporate Partners, underscore what NYSID job opportunities mean to our state and customers, but especially to New Yorkers with disabilities.

While the diversity of personal challenges distin guishes one story from another, the feelings of accomplishment, pride, gratitude, and independence are consistently reinforced throughout this yearbook.

Joslin Outstanding Performers embody the contributions that the workforce of individuals with disabilities make to our state’s diverse talent pool. They are valued by their employers for exceptional job performance and steadfast commitment to doing their best. Employment has provided them with personal growth and independence, including opportunities to advance to new levels and make connections to better lives.

Congratulations to our 2022 Outstanding Performers for showcasing how rewarding employment and a steady paycheck empower individuals of all abilities.



Marlene Brownell • Supervisor, Accounts Receivable (Services), NYSID

Kellie Kennedy • Director of Day Services, Arc GLOW

Patrice Joslin King • Joslin Awards Founding Member

Christopher Koehler • Director of Business Operations, The Arc Allegany-Steuben

Jennifer Lawrence • Director, Marketing & Communications, NYSID

Eileen McCarthy • Chief of Staff/General Counsel, NYSID

Maureen O’Brien • President & CEO, NYSID

Beth Westover • Supervisor, Accounts Receivable (Products), NYSID

Shaloni Winston • CEO, The Arc Lexington



Stanfort Perry, Chair • AHRC Nassau

Patrick Bardsley, Vice Chair • Spectrum Designs

Allen Connely, Treasurer • MOZAIC

Douglas DiGesare, Secretary • The Arc Erie County New York

Maureen O’Brien, President & CEO • NYSID

Kevin Crosley, Past Chair • Arc Herkimer

Board Members

David Calhoun • The Arc Wayne

Randi Rios-Castro • Jawonio

Rhonda Frederick • People Inc.

Tim Giarrusso • Human Technologies

Michael Miller • Golub Corporation

Greg Sorrentino • Center for Disability Services

Steve Towler • AHRC New York City

Stephanie Turco • Gateway Hudson Valley

Shaloni Winston • The Arc Lexington

Paul Zuber • The Business Council of New York State



Name Nominating Agency

Michael Bartholomew JM Murray

Demetri Boler Gateway Hudson Valley

Kirk Bonsu The Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter

Markeith Brown Jawonio

Kathy Brunn Imaging & Microfilm Access

George Burnett The Arc Allegany-Steuben

Willie Carter Image Integrator, LLC

Abby Conklin The Corporate Source

Phillip Dashnau The Arc of Madison Cortland

Nicole Dorr Warren, Washington & Albany Counties ARC

Keniel Evangelista CASO Document Management

Kathleen Falconio Center for Disability Services

Collin Figura ACHIEVE

Judith Frazier Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany

Gabriel Galvez Fedcap Rehabilitation Services

John Guardiola Northeast Career Planning at Unity House

Skylar Howard MOZAIC

Christina Jarczewski People Inc.

Andrea Johnson The Arc Jefferson-St. Lawrence


Victor Karas The Resource Center 25 Mary Kenyon The Arc Wayne

Joe Kilgore Liberty Arc

Jack Kupcyzk The Arc Erie County New York

Gary LaPorte Arc Herkimer

Ashley Lawyer Image Data, Inc.

William Linna Maryhaven Center of Hope

Ja’net Lorick Access: Supports for Living

Abi Magar Arc of Onondaga

Shalom Magidson eBizDocs

Nick Marich Spectrum Designs

Frank Mateunas Arc Otsego

Derrick McGuinness The Arc Lexington



Name Nominating Agency

Justin Moore Second Chance Opportunities

Jose Nieves AHRC New York City

Shareem Nunn SecureScan

Vladimir Pierre Venture Together

Roger Quick The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler

Elizabeth Rosado Green Facility Solution

Michael Rudgers Arc GLOW

Heather Svoboda Lifetime Assistance

Edward Terry CDS Monarch

Bryan Thomas AHRC Nassau

Richard Vassar Mountain Lake Services

Sandy Williams WellLife Network

Joslin Award Hall of Fame


Michael Bartholomew

When Michael started working part-time at JM Murray in 2007, he also attended BOCES and prepared to graduate high school. He wanted to pursue his interests in auto mechanics, landscaping and small engine repair after graduation, but was not successful at maintaining employment in those fields.

Michael returned to work at JM Murray in 2016, receiving daily supports to improve his work skills and behaviors. At that time, he needed substantial support to demonstrate professional work behavior and did not always take direction or feedback well. Through work provided by NYSID contracts, Michael started improving both his work skills and professional behavior. “I like working on a variety of different jobs. I like the people I work with and get along with everyone,” he said.

Michael has improved in noticeable ways over the years. He has a great working relationship with his supervisors based on mutual respect. Although his intellectual disability limits his reading and writing skills, Michael is resourceful and learns best by doing. He recently obtained a full-time position as a production associate, thanks to his improved performance over the years.

Away from work, Michael loves repairing engines and creating unique forms of transporta tion. Over the years, he has crafted many outrageous machines and refers to these creations as his “rides.” While interesting and fun to look at, they’re also practical and provide him with transportation to and from work.

Without the NYSID work provided at JM Murray, Michael may not have achieved his current level of success. His work performance and steady paycheck have given him the opportunity to realize his own potential and abilities, and to then achieve full-time employment.

If I didn’t have this job... ...I would be bored. My job keeps me busy and active.


Demetri Boler

Demetri was referred to Gateway Hudson Valley’s (GHV) Workforce One Employment program in the spring of 2019 through a local substance abuse program. He was recently released from prison after serving four years for drug-related charges. Demetri had a history of drug and alcohol abuse and also suffered from extreme anxiety and a mood disorder. He had a traumatic and difficult upbringing and left school in the eighth grade, living in an impoverished environment with few positive role models and no prior work experience.

Demetri was homeless and living in a local shelter when he first came to Gateway. With no work history, he was encouraged to start off with an internship before seeking paid commu nity employment, as this might give him some experience and the potential to be hired after successful completion of the internship.

When asked what he wanted to gain from his vocational services, Demetri replied, “a second chance.” He expressed interest in interning for GHV’s custom cleaning department, where he quickly excelled. He displayed notable cleaning skills, a willingness to learn, a positive attitude, and a million-dollar smile that lights up a room. The housekeeping depart ment was so impressed with Demetri during his 12-week internship, he was hired for a position immediately upon its completion. He also secured housing, and began receiving clinical and residential supports.

Demetri was initially hired on a per diem basis, but was quickly promoted to a part-time position and assigned to contracts out in the community. Another milestone was reached when he was assigned to his first NYSID contract, the BOCES Lane DORO building in Kingston. Earning a NYS Department of Labor prevailing wage, Demetri began saving money in the hope of eventually getting a driver’s license and car. Once again, due to his stellar job performance and attitude, he was assigned to other NYSID contracts which the GHV cleaning team maintains for several different customers.

Demetri recently moved from the GHV group residence to his own apartment. He has maintained sobriety since release from prison and is an active and inspiring member of a local support group. Due to the living wages he earns on NYSID contracts, Demetri obtained his learner’s permit and enrolled in driving classes. Next up, he purchased a used vehicle and a cell phone. Demetri said this is the first time in his life he feels he is financially secure. It is clear to all who know him that he is certainly making the most out of his second chance.

My dream job would be... ...counseling people who are incarcerated and assisting them to find meaningful employment and activities.

Kirk Bonsu

The Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter • Utica/Oneida County

Kirk is a dedicated employee with an eagerness to improve himself in all aspects of his life. He previously held some jobs in the community before finding the support he needed to succeed in a combination of programs through the Arc Oneida-Lewis. Participation in the School to Work Program, successful completion of the College Works Program, and experience in the Community Prevocational Program led him to the Progress Industries work division in June 2011. It is here that he truly began to achieve his personal goals.

Kirk has learned to manage frustrations over the years through coping skills that allow him to be a more productive employee who is willing to take on new challenges. He enjoys the opportu nities to learn new assignments through his job, and recognizes that these experiences build confidence. Kirk typically learns new tasks easily, but perseveres through those that he finds challenging. He currently works packaging various products, but also has experience with oiling slates for gift sets, removing wire from spools, and assembling boxes for packaging. Kirk also excels at palletizing for the Progress Industries soap line.

Kirk enjoys gaining new skills, and has a wide variety of interests outside of work as well. He is independent in the community and takes pleasure in what it has to offer. He loves cooking traditional African foods that he remembers from his childhood and is training in Mixed Martial Arts. He likes to spend time with friends and enjoys carnivals and festivals. An avid wrestling fan, he enjoys attending local WWE events or watching them on television, and has an extensive collection of memorabilia.

Kirk’s pride in his personal and vocational accomplishments is evident in his bright smile. Every person who has worked with him feels just as proud of him. His supervisors characterize him as a reliable employee, one who is always ready, willing and able to work. They comment that he is capable of completing any assignment with accuracy, and are sure to remark on his tremendous progress in appropriate work attitudes and behaviors. Co-workers describe him as hardworking, pleasant, helpful, and easy to talk to.

When Kirk explains why he likes his job, he describes a sense of acceptance and belonging. When asked how he wants people to think of him, he replied, “as respectful and polite.” Kirk is deserving of recognition for his commitment to quality work and for his dedication to being the best version of himself.

I like my job because... ...I am able to try new things. Learning something new builds my confidence.

Markeith Brown

Markeith Brown has been a valued member of the Jawonio Cleaning Company for the last 18 years. He is a highly resolute and committed staff person with a strong work ethic and caring disposition. Dependable and trustworthy, Markeith will often train new cleaners to ensure that they are understanding their responsibilities and what is expected of them in terms of cleaning and maintaining a facility. He is patient and determined to help inexperienced staff perform well.

Markeith’s supervisors and customers speak highly of his work, commitment and prominent level of dedication. The Service Director at the Rockland Psychiatric Center in Peekskill states, “Markeith’s care and attention to the cleaning and upkeep of our clinic over the years has been exceptional. Markeith has gone beyond, making sure our clinic is cleaned daily. He comes in early or on a day off, and even helps with the repair of broken furniture. We are so fortunate to have such an exceptional employee.”

Markeith is a collaborator and a problem solver who works well both as an individual and in teams. He is one to drop everything, day or night, to help ensure that the needs of the Jawonio Cleaning Company are being met. Recently, a car crashed into the Jawonio Yonkers Building in the middle of the night. The site supervisor, Jack Smith, received the call from the police department and reached out to Markeith for assistance at 1:30 a.m. Markeith came right over and was at the building until 4:00 a.m., helping Jack secure the building.

His caring and dedicated orientation transcends Markeith’s job as a cleaner into other departments and realms. He often assists at the Jawonio Food Relief Program in Yonkers by filling in when other staff are absent, picking up food from the pantries, and restocking shelves. Markeith helps to ensure that those who are in need in our community have the necessary supplies to sustain themselves, and without interruption.

Markeith always puts himself in a position to help others. This is who he is at his core. He is a giving, selfless professional, and his success and progress are both well-deserved. His continued contributions and growth are commended.

My paycheck helps me to... ...pay all my bills and maintain a decent lifestyle.

Kathy Brunn

Imaging & Microfilm Access • Bohemia/Nassau County

It can be difficult to know whom you can trust with important tasks, but not when Kathy Brunn is on the job.

Kathy was referred to Imaging & Microfilm Access (IMA) in 2013 from Skills Unlimited for temporary job placement. Her work experience and training was focused on assembly tasks, and she took well to the document preparation process, since attention to detail and time management are key to being successful in this industry. Kathy jumped right in and quickly picked up the procedures. It soon became apparent that she could handle the most complex projects with ease. Although Kathy experiences limited mobility issues, she never hesitates to accept assignments that may require standing for longer periods of time.

Kathy has a very mature work ethic and is always on time in all types of weather. She consistently shows concern that the job gets done correctly, and takes initiative to pick up on work where others have left off rather than wait to be told what to do. She enjoys her job because it offers a consistent schedule which allows her to plan her assignments and meet work expectations.

At times, Kathy will step up to assist with tasks unrelated to document preparation. She never turns down an opportunity to learn and do more, and she always puts her heart into everything she does, from the least important to the most essential job functions.

Kathy was given a leadership position to coach and assist newer and/or less skilled employees. She is quite observant and has headed off errors due to her willingness to share her knowledge with others. When Kathy needs guidance, she will address her questions to the appropriate supervisor. She will also make suggestions on how tasks may be better accomplished.

When first approached about being nominated as a Joslin Outstanding Performer, Kathy was modest and did not want to talk about herself. Then she opened up about how good it feels to earn a steady paycheck and be recognized for a job well done. She is proud that she has been working at IMA for 9 years. With flexible jobs being scarce, and many companies not educated about the capabilities and dedication of individuals with disabilities, Kathy wondered if she’d even be working if she wasn’t part of the IMA team. Having this job has allowed her to form new friendships, participate in social events and maintain her home.

Kathy embodies what all employers hope to find when they hire: responsibility, reliability, motivation. She does not use disability as an excuse to NOT perform, but rather an example of what people can accomplish when they refuse to confine themselves to societal labeling.

Being nominated for this award makes me feel... ...happy and valued as a hard worker.

George Burnett

The Arc Allegany-Steuben • Wellsville/Allegany County

George is a long-term Arc employee who started his career in janitorial services, working throughout the community. His performance was easily recognized in terms of productivity and high quality, and his attention to detail was clearly evident.

While George was successful in his tenure as a custodian, he likes to learn new jobs and tasks. After earning an opportunity to work in the agency Café, he was put in charge of bussing tables, sweeping, mopping, and performing general duties in the dining room. George executed his duties exceptionally well, working independently with little supervision. He continued displaying independence, a great work ethic, and attention to detail, all of which earned him yet another opportunity in his current position in the apparel department.

George’s initial position in apparel was sorting, folding and material movement. To no one’s surprise, George excelled in his new role. He worked well with the many employees in the department. Again, George’s attention to detail was clearly evident and his tasks were expanded to registering, the most difficult task in screen printing. Registering means that when locating the garment to the press, the alignment must be perfect. George quickly learned and immediately excelled at this task. This has led to him becoming the lead person on a press where he works completely independently.

George is an extremely talented employee who continues to learn and grow. His great attitude has been the catalyst for learning new skills and he is always up for a challenge. He is extremely dependable and dedicated, and has an attention to detail that is unparalleled. His outstanding performance in all aspects of his job define what it means to be a Joslin Outstanding Performer.

In his spare time, George enjoys spending time at the park with his mother, taking long walks in the fresh air. He is also a fan of dining out for lunches and dinners at a variety of places in the Corning area.

My paycheck helps me to... ...pay my bills and get what I need.

Willie Carter

Image Integrator includes people with all sorts of challenges from disabilities on its workforce. Willie Carter, who has worked for Image Integrator since November 2015, stands out as a leader among this dedicated production staff. Willie is one of the few employees who is skilled at both the document prep and scanner operator positions, making her a valuable and flexible asset.

Willie is one of the most thorough and detailed production employees, as she rotates between both the prepping and scanning areas. She has a complete understanding of the role document preparation plays in the successful scanning of a box of documents. She can always be relied upon to carry out more difficult projects that require a great deal of sorting, such as special education projects which must be sorted into a select list of divider categories.

Likewise, Willie is a very skilled scanner operator. This position requires great attention to detail and multitasking. More often than not, her completed boxes require zero corrections, as she is one of the few scanner operators who catches errors as they happen and corrects them on the spot. When it comes to both prepping and scanning, she grasps the nuances of each unique project and the specific instructions that go with them.

Willie is always happy to help newer document preppers or scanner operators with tips and tricks for how to work more efficiently. Image Integrator operates together as a team in its mission to make everyone succeed, and she goes above and beyond in that effort. A typical day for Willie is training a new employee on all the ins and outs of document preparation, and then assisting with training on scanner operation as well.

Although Willie has considered retiring, what keeps her coming back is the sense of purpose she gets working at Image Integrator, a reason to get up and get going each morning. The supervisors and owners at Image Integrator unanimously agree that Willie Carter is the employee most deserving of recognition for all of her hard work and dedication over the years.

My dream job would be... ...helping disabled seniors and disadvantaged children. I volunteer for the Salvation Army Adult Day Care.

Abby Conklin

The Corporate Source • Garden City/Nassau County

Abby Conklin joined the custodial team at The Corporate Source (TCS) in September 2020, and has since contributed a sterling performance to the cleaning of several state customer facilities. TCS is an independent non-profit which is dedicated to creating jobs for individuals with disabilities, many of which are facilitated by NYSID contracts. From the inception of her employment, Abby has grown into a key player on several of these projects.

As a recent graduate of a community-based training program, Abby was referred to TCS by a local vocational rehabilitation agency. Based on both a verbal and performance interview, she was hired as a part-time janitor on a NYSID project cleaning a NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) facility in Suffolk County. With the support of her personal job coach and TCS management, she demonstrated good janitorial work skills in every phase of the project, including a comprehensive routine of floor maintenance, facility cleaning and waste removal. After only one month of employment, her supervisor already characterized her work as efficient and well-detailed. It was noted that when she finished her assignments, she would take the initiative to go to her supervisor and ask for additional work. She also took the time to ask pertinent questions as a way to ensure that she understood the requirements of each assignment.

Based on her performance and motivation, Abby gradually began to contribute to additional NYSID contracts, including the daily cleaning of a NYS Department of Motor Vehicles facility, as well as extra hours in the Perry Duryea State Office Building. In addition to her usual fine performance, TCS management noted that she demonstrated an excellent level of punctuality and a comfortable rapport with both co-workers and building customers.

The bulk of Abby’s work activities have been at the Duryea building since April 2022 where she is in charge of an entire floor. When her task routine is completed, she assists co-workers at other work stations. Her TCS project manager commented that Abby frequently goes above and beyond her standard routine, and will always look for additional work to be done. As if this wasn’t enough, she also makes herself available for holidays and extended hours, both at Duryea and at the DOT facility where she was originally assigned.

In the world of vocational rehabilitation and job development, it can often be stated that individual motivation is the key factor and foundation of successful work activity. It is what makes skill development and job retention possible, and Abby Conklin is an instructive example of this principle. Simply put, her motivation is there for everyone to see and she contributes daily to her employer, her co-workers and the scores of people who work and visit busy NYS facilities.

I like my job because... ...I get to be responsible for my own things.

Phillip Dashnau

The Arc of Madison Cortland • Oneida/Madison County

Phil Dashnau came to The Arc of Madison Cortland straight out of high school in 2009. It was a complicated time in his life, with a sick mom and his parents divorcing. He still lived at home and was pretty scared, not knowing where he was going, not knowing anyone or what was really expected of him. Within a couple of weeks, he made friends and felt good about his job, testing his abilities at the variety of jobs available in the Alternatives Industry (AI) production operation.

Phil moved out of his parents’ home at 21 to his own apartment in his hometown of Camden, a small rural village with limited resources. Looking for a community with more social and work opportunities, he moved to Oneida a year later.

Over the next three years, Phil was enrolled in the Prevocational Program while working at AI. He also attended classes that helped him with career development through another Arc department. The skills he learned helped him to obtain a job as a porter at Turning Stone Casino. He also worked nights restocking stations, a position he held for eight years until COVID layoffs in 2020.

Although the casino eventually called Phil back to work, he had no transportation and was forced to seek alternate employment.

Phil got a job at a local greenhouse in a neighboring community, and was able to transport on his electric bike. He describes this as a rough job, working 10-16 hour shifts, and a demanding job with specifics on how to pick the fruits and present them for shipping. “I felt like I didn’t matter there. When I spoke to human resources trying to voice concerns, they never responded,” he said. Stressed and frustrated, Phil quit the job.

On his birthday in 2021, Phil joined the Arc of Madison Cortland’s integrated business as a production worker where he works on many NYSID products, including margarine spread cups and NYS Police reflective car markings. An exemplary worker who is always on time and reliable, Phil has made many friends and encourages his peers to do a good job. He is often a production line leader and his peers look up to him. Phil makes everyone smile with a joke or a kind word, which is no surprise as he would love to be a professional comedian.

If I didn’t have this job... ...I would be at a job that I really didn’t like. This job makes me feel like what I think and do matters.


Nicole Dorr

Warren, Washington & Albany Counties ARC • Queensbury/Warren County

Nicole is a quiet, yet highly motivated worker with a never-give-up attitude who continually sets goals for herself – and achieves them. Whether obtaining a driver’s license or saving for an apartment, nothing prevents her inclu sion in the Capital District community.

She began working for WWAARC in May 2019 as a janitor cleaner at Building #9, part of the Harriman State Campus contract in Albany. These buildings are owned by the NYS Office of General Services and the tenants are various state agencies. Nicole frequently acts as a team leader, checking on co-workers’ assignments and assisting them to complete tasks.

Nicole’s level of personal and professional confidence was hard-won and achieved over years of challenges. Even as a small child, before she was labeled with a disability, she felt different. Throughout school, she dealt with other challenges besides learning, especially being bullied by other students. To avoid the unkindness and bullying, she kept to herself and dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. “Animals aren’t mean and they didn’t judge me,” she said. Nicole realized she lacked the abilities to be a vet, so she focused on her goal of graduating high school. She considered other vocational opportunities and completed a floral design program, thanks to a teacher who believed in her.

Nicole tried other employment: a summer cleaning position, working at a water park, and voluntary work at a haunted house, at the same time working on her goal of getting a driver’s license. Her confidence increased with each experience, while her anxiety eased. These were temporary jobs, however, so she reached out to her job coach for more stable employment. That is when she learned about cleaning opportunities through the WWAARC janitorial business.

Nicole’s first tasks were vacuuming and dusting a single floor. As time went on, she took on more responsibilities, and with each new task her confidence increased. Nicole is wellliked by the tenants and the building management, particularly the tenants in the NYS Department of Corrections & Community Supervision which was one of Nicole’s main floors. When the department moved to a new building, Nicole’s work was so much appreciated that the Commissioner of Corrections requested she be transferred to that building.

This job has turned out to be the right fit for Nicole, and so much more. “This job has changed my life,” she said. She had the confidence to take the driving test again and passed this year. Nicole now drives and maintains her own car, and continues to set personal and professional goals.

Nicole’s next personal goal is “to get her own place,” and she also looks forward to taking on a higher professional role as a trainer. “I need to keep motivated to achieve my life goals,” she said.

Being nominated for this award makes me feel... ...honored. It makes me feel I have faced the odds.

Keniel Evangelista

CASO Document Management • Manhattan/New York County

Keniel “Kenny” Evangelista has dreamt of making it big in the Big Apple his entire life. Led by his strong Latina mother who always found a way to provide for him, Kenny emulated her unwavering determination, kindness and valuable homemaking skills, discovering a passion for sewing and fashion design that lights him up like nothing else in the world. True to form, his nurturing mama encouraged Kenny to attend training at Fedcap Career Design School, and even joined the program herself.

Kenny joined the CASO Document Management (CDM) team as a batcher for an MTA project in 2013. Like many referrals from Fedcap Rehabilitation Services, 18-year-old Kenny found it challenging at first to work a full day without distraction and to keep focus throughout a 40-hour work week. However, within a short time, he found his footing and began to stand out as a top performer.

Additional responsibilities were soon added to Kenny’s workload, including document preparation, large-format scanning, working at client sites, onboarding projects, and more.

He became adept over time at producing increasingly outstanding results across the board. Yet, what makes Kenny truly shine is his ability to connect with people as readily as completing projects. He excels at building and maintaining strong personal relationships using his unique brand of caring and thoughtfulness that extends to co-workers, clients and even former CDM team members. Thank-you notes, follow-up calls and thoughtful gifts are just part of a typical day for Kenny.

Moving up the ladder from batcher to senior processor, Kenny made notable improvements in his productivity, growth and development. While he always approached his work with care and professionalism, he is now perceived as a force to be reckoned with. He is mature and reliable, takes responsibility, inspires others, has a consistently great attitude, and can be counted on to manage all his projects successfully, particularly those offsite that require additional care. Kenny has grown from a good-natured assistant to a key team member and bona fide leader who is respected by co-workers and clients alike.

Among Kenny’s most significant contributions to CDM over the past 10 years is his work for CUNY Downstate, his most complex assignment to date. Not only did he work through each logistical and physical challenge thrown his way, he also supported other team members with physical disabilities to do the same.

Kenny has clearly come full circle as a role model for all.

If I didn’t have this job... ...I would be very unlucky. I can’t imagine another job as comfortable and beneficial for me.

Kathleen Falconio

Center for Disability Services • Albany/Albany County

Pleasant, hard-working, helpful, dependable, and awesome are many of the adjectives co-workers use to describe Kathleen Falconio, a mail clerk at Center Commercial Services. She is part of a team that processes sensitive and essential mailings such as NYS Insurance Fund and court documents. Her job requires attention to detail, speed and accuracy. Although Kathleen’s job duties can be tedious and necessitate constant focus, she has mastered these tasks and proven herself to be an invaluable worker. “I take pride in completing all my work tasks in a timely and professional manner,” she said.

Kathleen was born and raised in New York and currently lives with her family in Latham. As a child, her parents would often drive past Siena College, prompting Kathleen to say, “I’m going to college there.” Despite innumerable challenges, she was accepted into Siena’s College Experience Program through which she attended classes and experienced the rigors of advanced education. As a result of her dedica tion and hard work, Kathleen graduated as an honorary member of the Siena Class of 2013 and as a member of the very first College Experience graduating class. She did not stop there.

After graduating the Siena College Experience program, Kathleen set her eyes on obtaining competitive employment. With the support of her family and the Center for Disability Services Supported Employment team, she secured a position with a document preparation company. The learning curve was steep, but she gave the job all she had. Kathleen had to learn document preparation from the ground up and had her fair share of challenges. She continued to work with her Supported Employment team in order to find the best job match, eventually landing at Center Commercial Services in 2018. She started out with basic tasks and steadily built her work skills, allowing her to move on to more complex and essential duties.

Currently, Kathleen is able to perform multiple job tasks at Commercial Services. One day she might be working on stuffing envelopes, and the next she might be working on the mail sorting machine, which processes hundreds of envelopes per minute. Her tenacity and willingness to learn has transformed her into a versatile and dependable worker who genuinely tackles any task assigned to her with fervor. Her attendance is impeccable.

All of those around Kathleen say great things about her work ethic and productivity, along with her wit. She is always ready to let them know when her NY Mets are victorious! Everyone agrees that Kathleen has a long and meaningful career ahead of her.

My dream job would be... ...job coaching: I would want to be the best job coach ever. This is because I work with a job coach who helps me a lot and I would like to do the same for others.


Collin Figura

Collin is a quiet, friendly young man who has worked at Exela (previously Source Corp.) since 2014, a job he obtained with the assistance of ACHIEVE’s Supported Employment program. He works as an indexer on the contract with the NYC Department of Finance, a NYSID Preferred Source contract.

Collin sorts through hundreds of documents every day and has increased his speed as his experience has grown. Even through several different job coaches and supervisors, he has continued to improve his performance at a steady pace throughout eight years on the job. Having struggled at times to remember things, he takes extensive notes on the different things to look for within the documents he indexes, memorizing patterns or looking through his prior notes to keep up with the expected pace. Through job coaching, supervisor supports and this organized personal note-taking, he has overcome this challenge and now excels on Department of Finance documents.

Collin is introverted and prefers to keep to himself. This can be an asset in his position as he needs to be able to focus without distraction for extended periods of time. However, it can also put barriers in the way as Collin becomes anxious about asking questions and communicating with his co-workers and supervisors. Through job coaching support, he has greatly increased his confidence in speaking with those around him, and believes this increased ability to communicate will improve his chances of progressing to other jobs in the future.

Due to a recent lower workload on the Department of Finance contract, Collin has had to rely on his increased skill in communicating with others in order to pick up more hours in other areas and learn new processes and procedures. While preferring to work in a set routine rather than go out of his comfort zone, he acknowledges that trying other tasks will increase his abilities and perhaps provide more opportunities down the road.

Collin works diligently to overcome barriers and work alongside others to improve his overall employability. This helps him succeed at his primary goal of providing for himself and his family, and he hopes to improve this goal well into the future.

My paycheck helps me to... ...pay my bills and support my family.

Judith Frazier

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany • Albany/Albany County

Judith spent four years homeless, moving between New York City and Albany. For the past three years, through the NYS Preferred Source Program, she has been successfully employed as a custodian at the Capital District Psychiatric Center (CDPC).

Judith was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and past sexual trauma that left her scared, alone, ashamed, and plagued by unpleasant memories. She distrusted others and herself, and frequently questioned her judgment, self-worth, and even sanity. She took comfort in alcohol and marijuana.

During a challenging pregnancy in 2018, Judith stopped taking antipsychotic medication and began self-medicating with alcohol. Her daughter was removed from her custody at birth, and her alcohol use spiraled out of control, leading to her eventual arrest. In Judith’s opinion, her arrest was the best thing to ever happen to her. The arresting officer introduced her to the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program, operated in part by Catholic Charities Care Coordination Services. With the help of an experienced case manager, Judith got sober and now takes her medication. Although receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), she wanted to work to provide child support.

Judith faced significant barriers to employment, including limited job experience and difficulty with multistep problems and problem solving. When she began working at the CDPC through Catholic Charities and Green Facility Solution, she avoided eye contact and kept to herself. She had trouble concentrating and making decisions, yet was determined to support her child. Over the years, Judith gained confidence and embraced challenges, and today is respected by all on the job.

Her supervisor says that Judith is her most reliable and dependable employee. She is friendly, focused and motivated. She asks for help or feedback on her work to improve her skills. Judith says the job has enabled her to develop a greater self-awareness and increased self-esteem.

Her case manager, Tara, is enthusiastic about Judith’s employment success. “I have known Judith for roughly four years, and I have watched her work so diligently and so hard toward her goals. She has faced such adversity, and linking with this job was something that she was so proud of. She absolutely deserves to be honored for the progress she has made.”

The most important outcome from her successful employment is that Judith gained custody of her daughter, Leah, in December 2021, and no longer has CPS involvement. She is grateful to NYSID, Catholic Charities and Green Facility Solution, all of which have helped her maintain a sense of direction and stability supporting her recovery and healing process.

My paycheck helps me to... ...pay my rent, take care of my baby, and buy toiletries and clothes.


Gabriel Galvez

Fedcap Rehabilitation Services • Manhattan/New York County

“To me, learning is fun,” said Gabriel Galvez. “I’m very handy, and I try to be open-minded. I like to help people out, I have always been that way.”

A hardworking father of two, Gabriel, 31, started working for Fedcap at a state office building in upper Manhattan. It was a long way from his home in Brooklyn, and he and his wife had to pay for child care because they couldn’t pick their kids up from school. Gabriel was able to transfer down to 14th Street to work on sanitizing projects related to the pandemic. It was closer to home, but an even better opportu nity soon presented itself.

In December 2021, Fabio Lopez, Area Manager for Fedcap Total Facilities Management (TFM), got a call about a vacancy on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) contract at Livingston Street Plaza in Brooklyn. He called supervisors at 14th Street for a recommendation. “I was told that Gabriel would be a perfect fit for that location because of how he had proven himself as an employee,” he said.

The move would be a good one for Gabriel. With the potential for COVID-related services winding down, and with two children ages 14 and 6 to provide for, he wanted more stability. The work at Livingston offered that, plus opportunities for promotion. It also meant a morning shift, leaving him enough time to pick up his kids at school. “Gabriel opened up about how grateful he was to Fedcap for providing him with the opportunity for more stable work so that he could continue to provide for his family,” Fabio said.

John Savilli, Facilities Manager for the MTA headquarters, has been working with Gabriel since he joined this custodial team in March 2022. One of the things that John noticed immedi ately about Gabriel is that he loves to help his colleagues. For example, on a recent Saturday, Gabriel came in to learn about a new process for stripping and waxing floors. The process involved new cleaning procedures and chemicals, and Gabriel dove right in, asking questions, learning it cold, and eagerly explaining it to his colleagues. “I never saw anyone so excited about learning a new process,” John said. “He even had some suggestions for how it could be improved. Gabriel is a real gentleman, very outgoing and very resourceful, and a mentor to other employees. He always goes above and beyond and will work any shift where he is needed, including emergency shifts, overnights and weekends.”

Gabriel had a hard time as a youth. He struggled with depression and made some poor decisions along the way. After a period of incarceration, he had a moment of clarity. “I was headed down the wrong path and I didn’t want to live in poverty. I knew I could do better. Fedcap has been a great community and family for me,” he said.

Being nominated for this award makes me feel...
...good about myself. It shows I am doing the right thing and headed down the right path.

John Guardiola

Northeast Career Planning at Unity House • Menands/Albany County

Since July 2018, John Guardiola has worked as a custodian at the Cultural Education Center, through a Northeast Career Planning (NCP) at Unity House NYSID contract. In March 2022, John was promoted to Cleaner II, a working supervisor position. When asked about his career goals, John stated “I always knew I could move up, and that has been my goal.”

John was referred to NCP for supported employment services by ACCES-VR in 2012 and transitioned into PROS ORS services in 2014 for ongoing supports. Amy Meegan, Employment Specialist at NCP, stated, “Having worked directly with John for several years, I have seen him show progress and break barriers in meeting his goals and career path despite some challenges along the way.”

John’s work and career aspirations have been a driving factor in his life, and he has worked diligently to achieve his goals over the past several years. He has a long history in the cleaning field and had been employed with Green Facility Solutions, a NYSID Corporate Partner, and another NCP-NYSID contract in the State Education Building in the past. John has given every job opportunity his best work and effort. He knows the ins and outs of what makes a successful cleaner, as well as what is needed to be an effective leader. John feels he makes a good leader because he has a unique perspective as a person with a disability, and can relate to his co-workers’ challenges.

John’s supervisors and co-workers think highly of him. Timothy DeJohn, Supervising Janitor at the Cultural Education Center, said, “John displays initiative to go above and beyond his required duties by offering to assist with short staff coverage and to help train new staff. He also offers valuable suggestions for how to improve efficiency and helps to create a positive work environment for all his co-workers.”

The Cultural Education Center Building Manager, Desaree Ogren, said, “John has easily taken to his new role as a leader, helping other staff with training and making suggestions to management. I am made aware that John helps facilitate a positive working environment for staff and is willing to take on extra work that is asked of him.”

Outside of work, John enjoys spending time with his wife and their three cats and dog. He describes himself as an animal person who takes the time to help neighborhood cats in need. John also enjoys reading, watching movies and playing video games.

John’s efforts, motivation to achieve his career goals, and dedication to his work are evident to all. He is not searching for a dream job because he says he is already there.

If I didn’t have this job... ...I would be unhappy because of the people I would not have met.


Skylar Howard

Skylar Howard began his career through MOZAIC in February 2021 following his high school graduation. Skylar started as a part-time employee, moving up to full-time status a short time later. He is currently assigned to the Preferred Source custodial contract at the Dick Van Dyke Addiction Treatment Center two days per week.

Skylar performs many necessary duties, including disinfecting, daily cleaning, following protocols for isolation units, and keeping in close communication with staff and team members regarding any concerns at the worksite. Working at a facility which treats substance abuse disorders, Skylar has had to learn many ways to interact appropriately with the patients and nurses to get his job done. He has also taken additional training regarding personal protective equipment and infection control to ensure he is operating safely while on the job. Skylar’s work quality has dramatically improved over the last year. He has assumed more responsibility, has a constant smile on his face, and he often covers shifts for others as needed. He volunteered to be cross-trained to cover the weekend shift at this custodial site, which has been extremely beneficial.

Looking to expand his work experience, Skylar took the initiative to join MOZAIC’s lawn crew three days per week. The team services Preferred Source and federal contracts, which includes operating and maintaining heavy equipment. Skylar works well with his peers, site contacts and superiors on both jobs. He is open to feedback and is always looking to improve his work performance.

Skylar’s continued growth will help him succeed in other potential positions. Without a steady paycheck doing work he enjoys, he feels he might still be living at home with his family. He appreciates that his work is recognized, and is grateful for being able to live independently in the community with his girlfriend.

I like my job because... ...I get a lot of support and feedback from my job coach and supervisor.

Christina Jarczewski

People Inc. • Williamsville/Erie County

Christina Jarczewski is a friendly, 35 year-old woman with a gentle, caring personality. She is ambitious and dedicated, and does her best at her assigned tasks. By the age of 10, Christina began to experience convulsion seizures, and was eventually diagnosed with an intellectual disability and seizure disorder. Her family was determined to create a typical life for Christina. They encouraged her to participate in school plays and to be a high school cheerleader.

Christina’s drive to excel was evident even in these formative years. She held a few part-time jobs during her high school days, and graduated with a Regents Diploma. She moved on to a community college Early Child Care curriculum program. Unfortunately, Christina began to experience substantial changes in cognitive functioning by the age of 20. The frequency and severity of her seizures increased, leading to memory loss, impaired processing and other detriments. As a result, she had to leave college, and her social life also suffered. Through determination and support, Christina made significant progress with communication skills, recall of words and math skills.

In March 2013, Christina began receiving supported employment services through People Inc., advancing to a day porter position within its complex by 2017. At the start, she was confused with her duties and needed much support from others to have a successful day. Christina would often become angry and upset at some point in her work day. As she worked at learning the routine of a day porter, her confidence slowly increased, while her anger issues and need for intensive support decreased, leading to a new opportunity.

Christina began working on the People Inc. mobile cleaning crew at a variety of sites, in addition to her current responsibilities at the facility. She was relaxed learning the new routine, while also keeping her existing job. Everything was going well, until the 2020 COVID-19 shutdown. When the pandemic hit, Christina sat home truly bored and stressed. She missed earning a paycheck, but really missed the socialization with her co-workers.

As the pandemic lessened, Christina returned to her day porter position, and was also offered a new job at the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) working three days a week. She enjoys her new job and is well-liked by co-workers and NFTA employees, who tell her what a great job she does.

Christina lives in her own apartment, which she shares with her cat, Sweet Pea. Her dedicated elderly father transports her to and from her job each day. She plans to attend classes to learn skills to assist the elderly. Her earnings from NFTA will help pay for the classes. Christina has never been happier and more independent in her abilities, thanks to opportunities provided by People Inc. and NYSID.

My paycheck helps me to... ...save for my future plans and pay my bills.

Andrea Johnson

Andrea Johnson embodies the Joslin Award criteria in a number of ways. She has worked on NYSID Preferred Source contracts with The Arc Jefferson-St. Lawrence for 10 years. Most of her work has been as an imaging clerk on the NYS Department of Social Services (DSS) contract.

Andrea grew up in The Bronx, NY. As a young adult, she attended the State University of New York at Canton where she earned an Associate degree in Liberal Arts. She later transferred to the State University of New York at Potsdam and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She has come to love the peacefulness of the rural area of northern New York and enjoys using St. Lawrence County’s public transit system to travel to work.

In her role at DSS, Andrea works side by side with St. Lawrence County staff members in an integrated setting. She is an expert at inputting and correcting any errors made during the initial application process. Andrea is so competent that she now trains employees on different sections of imaging and gives clear, precise guidance.

“I can honestly say we never find mistakes in Andrea’s work,” said Darlene Friot, Production Supervisor for the DSS contract. “She is a pleasant and dedicated co-worker who has grown into the role of trainer. Her co-workers appreciate Andrea’s guidance and the patience she shows as a teacher. Andrea should be very proud of her contribution to our agency.”

Andrea is the type of employee supervisors dream of having on their team. She has a keen eye for detail, which shows in the high quality of her work. Andrea loves working and helping people to get the job done correctly, as well as on time. During the pandemic, she took on an additional role working in The Arc Jefferson-St. Lawrence’s Confidential Services department. This was helpful because there was a staffing crisis, which put the contracts in jeopardy.

Andrea has become known for her problem-solving skills while preparing documents to be scanned. She is also responsible for data input and document scanning. Contracts Manager Betty Mullaney, said, “Andrea is an all-around excellent employee who consistently does her best on the job. Andrea comes up with solutions and work-arounds that are creative and have made us very efficient. Her reliability and flexible nature have made Andrea a key player in getting grant work done promptly!”

“Andrea has done an amazing job and seems to be thriving in both environments offered at DSS and at Confidential Services,” said Tracy Hutton, Business Development and Contracts Administrator. “The only issue we have is that both site managers love Andrea and the work she does, so they both want her to work for them full-time, which is wonderful!”

Being nominated for this award makes me feel...
...happy that my supervisors think highly enough of me and my work to nominate me.

Victor Karas

The Resource Center • Jamestown/Chautauqua County

Victor is a standout worker who demonstrates all the qualities one would expect from an exceptional employee. A member of The Resource Center’s (TRC) Environmental Services division, he has worked at the NYS Department of Transportation I-86 rest stop in Ellery Center for four years, and with The Resource Center for 12 years in total.

Victor is a dedicated, dependable employee who doesn’t miss time and frequently fills in to cover for others’ vacations, absences, etc. He always goes above and beyond to help other employees. He is frequently assigned addi tional tasks, and can be counted on to come through for the good of the rest area and the TRC reputation. A good example of this is how Victor obtained a driver’s license after learning how it would help TRC on this critical account if he could drive a team up to the location each day. His next goal is to become a supervisor.

A team player and role model, Victor loves working with his rest area team, and it shows. He takes pride in his work no matter what the task, going the extra mile to get the job done right. Victor loves his job, and enjoys working at the rest stop where he is frequently compli mented by travelers and staff. He has expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to work at this important site. Most of all, he is grateful for being able to provide for his young daughter through a steady paycheck.

Being nominated for this award makes me feel... ...good because I take my job seriously. It’s very satisfying to be recognized for that.

Mary Kenyon

The Arc Wayne • Newark/Wayne County

Mary Kenyon is a reliable and devoted worker who is an asset to the Arc Wayne Janitorial Department. Mary is respected for her job performance and trusted to work independently because she exemplifies an outstanding work ethic and consistent daily performance.

Mary has been living independently since graduating high school in 1982. She maintains her own apartment for which she took full responsibility after her roommate moved out a year ago. Mary’s most recent personal accom plishment was obtaining her learner’s permit. She worked hard studying for the test, and was beyond proud when she passed. “When I passed the test, I went outside and did a fist pump and hollered YES! I was on cloud nine,” she said.

Immediately following high school, Mary worked at Seneca Foods doing various factory work. Her outstanding work ethic quickly gained her acclaim. She was placed on the inspection line operating can fillers and cappers, palletizing, and sometimes climbing up to the “crow’s nest” to check for improperly sealed cans. After several layoffs and personal issues, Mary was forced to take a break from the workforce.

Mary began working on the production floor at the Arc Wayne in 1997, and from there her strong work ethic helped her quickly move on to off-site production work at several locations, before joining the Janitorial Department. Her reliability and devotion to her work was acknowl edged by all her job coaches as she worked on numerous janitorial contracts. Completing janitorial services and being recognized for her outstanding performance helped Mary find her niche as a custodian.

Along the way, Mary was diagnosed with a serious illness, but like every other obstacle she has endured, she persevered. Shortly after overcoming her illness, she was offered a cleaning position at the Finger Lakes DDSO in Newark, where she has worked for the past four years. Mary has flourished working on the Preferred Source contract, and is trusted to complete her work to the utmost quality, having little or no supervision. She locks and secures the building when her supervisor is off, and is always eager and agreeable to take on extra work and respon sibility when called upon.

Mary celebrated 25 years of service this year at the Arc of Wayne. She has proven that with hard work and dedication, obstacles can be overcome and success can be achieved. Mary wants to continue working in her current position with co-workers and supervisors she likes and who respect her.

My paycheck helps me to... ...pay bills and have extra to buy something if I want to.

Joe Kilgore

Liberty Arc • Amsterdam/Montgomery County

Joe consistently exemplifies excellence. He is reliable, consistent, conscientious, flexible, and motivated, going the extra mile to help out in any production area at Liberty Enterprises. During COVID-19, Joe shifted from the assembly and packaging area during the day to the chemical fill area at night, picking up extra hours with a second shift.

Joe shows great leadership as well. In anticipation of and preparation for his area supervisor going out on medical leave, he asked if he could learn how to help with some of the paperwork so that he could be a resource to the covering supervisor. Joe learned how to fill out daily production reports and move tickets, and how to interpret bills of materials for product assembly and pallet configuration. Joe’s new wealth of product and procedural knowledge allowed him to help the supervisor understand the fine details of production. He articulated the importance of the work being performed, including validating accuracy and labeling pallets, pre- and post-run equipment procedures, and recording and moving incoming raw materials and outgoing finished goods. The covering supervisor shared that “Joe’s knowledge of all of the products that are produced is amazing, from the unique types of packaging for each product to the cleaning and sanitizing processes. He was a huge help training me on the paperwork. I would see Joe and his co-workers working, but never knew how hard their jobs were until I was able to work with them.”

Liberty Enterprises’ quality assurance coordinator shared that Joe is meticulous and detail-oriented. He is always on time and work-focused. He helps wherever needed without complaint, and has grown professionally in so many ways.

Joe’s ambitions have also enabled him to train on various moving equipment, including hand carts and electric pallet jacks. He is interested in being trained and certified as a forktruck operator at a later time.

One of Liberty Enterprises’ lead supervisors shared that she was surprised when Joe asked to be trained in her area. He wanted to learn additional jobs for Liberty’s private customers. He wants to be the worker who is known to pitch in and help out. Upbeat and caring, Joe has a great sense of humor and gets along well with his co-workers. He remembers interests and recognizes special occasions of many employees. He has a personal connection with all.

Joe looks forward to many more productive years working at Liberty Enterprises, and has his eye on an eventual promotion to lead produc tion supervisor.

Being nominated for this award makes me feel... ...proud and honored. It makes me feel like I am doing a good job and meeting expectations.

Jack Kupcyzk

The Arc Erie County New York • Williamsville/Erie County

Jack began working within The Arc Erie County’s janitorial department in 2013. During this time, The Arc Erie County was awarded the contract for the City of Buffalo’s City Court account, where Jack was previously employed through a different NYSID Member Agency.

Although instantly recognized as a great worker, Jack was fighting some personal battles, including not answering to charges against him, not paying tickets on time, and ignoring a court appearance for a DWI charge. He was subse quently arrested while on the job.

Once the tickets and DWI were resolved, Jack was placed at a janitorial account at the Erie County Health Mall. He continued to be a good worker while on site, but also continued with personal issues. Supervisors noticed something wasn’t right when Jack repeatedly called off from work with no excuse. The janitorial manager met with Jack to discuss the absences and the reports from staff, where he admitted to drinking and drug usage. He was immediately removed from the site and strongly encouraged to seek treatment.

At this point in time, Jack realized he had hit rock bottom. He went to rehab for six months, where he learned to live a healthier and fulfilling life away from drugs and alcohol. Returning to the janitorial operation, Jack was given a trial with the in-house cleaning team. During this time, he re-learned janitorial skills under the watchful eye of managers and janitorial supervisors. His growing capabilities and work ethic proved that he was ready to return to a NYSID janitorial position in the summer of 2019.

Three years later, Jack performs beyond expectations and takes great pride in his work at the Stutzman Addiction Treatment Center. The Assistant Director at Stutzman shared, “Jack cares so much about the work that he does. Every day, he reaches out to me for feedback and always checks in about his performance. His work ethic is admirable. I’d take 1,000 Jacks on my team. There is no substitute for hard work, and Jack is proof.”

The Director of Stutzman added, “Jack is the ultimate team player. He takes pride in his room and leaves no task undone. Staff and patients have applauded his dedication and hard work. Jack is an awesome person and employee. He has become a part of the Stutzman family.”

The Manager of NYSID supports and services at The Arc Erie County has personally watched Jack grow in his position at Stutzman with pride and joy. This shows that anyone with the proper support and dedication can become their best self. Jack has achieved this and more. He is reliable, willing to help whenever needed, and is a role model for anyone going through a similar situation. There is nothing Jack can’t do if he puts his mind and dedication toward it.

My dream job would be... ...where I currently work. I love the site I’m working at and really enjoy working with the Stutzman staff.

Gary LaPorte

Dedication. Commitment. Asset. What do these words have in common? They are used by the staff at Herkimer Industries, the Vocational Division of Arc Herkimer, to describe Gary LaPorte.

Ten years ago, Gary came to Herkimer Industries with little confidence in his ability to be successful at work. His work history began on the box-fabrication and fulfillment contract for Remington Arms, a local private sector business. Gary was part of the original startup team, quickly displaying hard work, an ability to easily learn new tasks, and excellent attendance. As the product line expanded, it was for these qualities that Gary was chosen to work on the new boxes each time they started in production.

Gary also took on production tasks for many of Herkimer’s Preferred Source commodities, including NYS Department of Transportation hard hats, safety glasses, hearing protection, LED lighting, tactical boots for the NYS Police, and Stop the Bleed kits. His ability to quickly understand production steps and quality requirements made him an asset to the state contract team’s success.

Gary’s confidence in his abilities improved with each subsequent new assignment, and he was ready for the next step. His willingness to try new things was welcomed as Herkimer obtained Safe Quality Foods certification. He was selected as one of the original members of the Spicewalla Team, which focused on packaging spice packets and kits for the Spicewalla company of Asheville, NC.

In 2022, Gary was ready for the next challenge. He was selected to fill the role as the sole on-site custodian for the 4th Avenue production site. Gary used his previous production operation experience to easily learn new tasks and adapt to the totally new set of require ments and expectations of custodial work. Staff at the site frequently comment on its cleanli ness and how no one who previously filled that role kept up with all the requirements like Gary does. He needs very little direction, and completes his custodial tasks so efficiently that he also spends several hours each day on the spice line.

Gary’s employment success makes him feel important, keeps him busy and allows him to help his dad with household bills. He admits that failure at many jobs in the past created a lack of confidence in his own abilities to work. Today, that is all different: “This job has helped me improve my self-esteem and belief in myself,” he said.

I like my job because... ...it helps me feel important, keeps me busy and allows me to help my dad with the household expenses.

Ashley Lawyer

Why does Ashley merit the Joslin Award?

Persistence. She has improved every day since joining the Image Data team four years ago. Ashley enjoys working on the fast-paced production floor because she wants to keep busy and work with her hands. Document preparation is the perfect position for her to do this as she maintains speed and quality. Ashley is her own competition and she is up to the task every day.

Ashley is happy and proud to be nominated for the 2022 Joslin Award and knows her late grandmother, with whom she was extremely close, would be as well. Although her passion lies in singing and writing, she is a major contributor to the document imaging team’s daily goals.

Working at Image Data assures Ashley can help provide for her family and spoil her beloved nephew and herself a little. She enjoys going to the mall and movies with friends on her free time, but is always happy to come to work every day. If she did not have her position here, Ashley says she would not be as happy or productive.

Having Ashley within the Image Data family is a blessing. She is always willing to help anyone with anything. Ashley always makes herself available to work a few extra hours when she can, and is very conscientious about the quality of her work. She gets along with everyone and powers through every task handed to her. Her laugh is contagious and her determination to be great is admirable.

If I didn’t have this job... ...I would be working somewhere less enjoyable.

William Linna

Maryhaven Center of Hope • Port Jefferson Station/Suffolk County

William Linna, affectionately know as BJ, is a long-time employee of Maryhaven Center of Hope’s Integrated Business Center in Yaphank.

BJ is a quiet, soft-spoken individual who comes to work every day with a smile and friendly greeting for all. He has worked on a variety of assembly, collating and packaging jobs throughout the years, and excels on the Preferred Source production and assembly assignments.

It’s a joy to watch BJ set up his work area and attend to the details he feels are important in helping him to do his best. He is particular about arranging his various papers in the most conducive way possible to ensure his work is first-rate. When asked how he feels about working specifically on the NYSID contracts, he said, “I’m a hard, productive worker and they need me to do this work.”

His supervisor noted that BJ takes this work very seriously. He focuses on the job and avoids distractions that can lead to errors. He needs little staff assistance while working on NYSID jobs, and helps the supervisor by collecting supplies for co-workers.

When he isn’t working, BJ enjoys bowling, listening to the radio and going out to eat. Working at Maryhaven’s Integrated Business Center and having the support of staff has helped him develop confidence in his abilities. At the end of each work day, BJ is able to say, “I like my job.”

If I didn’t have this job... ...I would be disappointed, because it makes me feel proud and special.

Ja’net Lorick

Access: Supports for Living • Middletown/Orange County

Ja’net first joined the Access: Supports for Living team in 2009 as part of the janitorial training program at the West Point Military Academy. It was immediately clear that she was motivated, and had aspirations. Ja’net was next placed on NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) contracts consisting of six different sites along Interstate 84 and Interstate 684, and has been providing excellent service on these contracts ever since. This opportunity provided Ja’net with a job doing what she loves while also giving her the support to mature as an independent woman.

On any given work day, Ja’net can be found patrolling the rest areas along I-84 and I-684. She loves working outside and providing service to a diverse customer base. Her work has been complimented numerous times by DOT management as well as by anonymous rest area patrons. She is always smiling, looking out for her co-workers, and assuring that work is being completed to the highest possible standard. Ja’net has gone from a trainee to a skilled, devel oped employee who sets a standard for others. She has gained experience not only in custodial services, but with operating equipment as part of maintaining the grounds at the rest areas which includes lawn care and snow removal. She has been consistent and dependable throughout her career.

Ja’net has taken this time to not only grow as an employee, but also as a person. She readily admits that this job has allowed her to prosper and grow into the mature woman she is today. Through her hard work and dedication, Ja’net has recently acquired a driver’s license and purchased a new vehicle. This allows her to be even more independent as she continues to better herself. But that’s not all for this goal-driven young woman. Ja’net’s next goal is to save enough money to put a down payment on a house with her fiancé.

Ja’net continues to impress, day in and day out. By her dedication and work ethic, she serves as an example to all of her co-workers. She has grown both professionally and personally, and continues to establish goals. Access: Supports for Living is so very proud of Ja’net and looks forward to seeing what else she will accomplish.

If I didn’t have this job... ...I would be sad. I really love what I do.

Abi Magar

Arc of Onondaga • Syracuse/Onondaga County

“People are surprised that I can maintain a job because I am deaf and from another country. I am very capable and I work really hard. Of course, I can.” Abi Magar was born in Bhutan, and has been deaf since birth. From age 13, Abi was raised in refugee camps in Nepal, and held many jobs helping her family: as a seamstress and selling clothing; collecting, chopping and transporting wood on her head using a tumpline; and making fires for local families.

Abi settled in Syracuse in 2001 where she felt isolated. She took a factory job sewing bus seat covers, but realized that this setting was not beneficial for her. She walks everywhere, and with the evening hours and getting to and from work, she was missing valuable time with her three kids and husband. Abi also felt very alone. “People think I would do better at a job where I could rely on my skill and not need to commu nicate, but that is not true. Community is very important in Nepalese culture,” she explained.

In 2020, Abi began working for Monarch’s Enclaves program as a custodian at the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), where she immediately made an impact. “I had a lot to learn, but things stuck and I kept improving,” she said. She had to navigate working in a very busy DMV office with many different co-workers and clients, a place where no one spoke her language. “We had to figure out how to train Abi, how to communicate if something was wrong on the job site and we weren’t there, how to communicate with her co-workers,” said Jim Pitts, Enclaves manager. “I thought it would be a lot, but Abi is just like every other employee in a busy DMV. They respect her, they include her, and they go out of their way to let her know she is appreciated. Once she understands what she should be doing and what is expected of her, she dives right in, needing minimal supervision,” he said.

Abi says that working at the DMV has changed her life. “I worked as a school custodian for a while, but was not happy. The DMV has better equipment, no after-school/night hours, and I get to work in a community,” she said. Six months after arriving in the United States, Abi began to search for her new community. Although finding a deaf, Nepalese community would be a challenge, finding a Deaf New American (DNA) community would not. “Finding fellow New Americans has changed everything. Burma, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Africa, we just live amongst one another and share everything, including meals,” she said.

Abi has also been able to make many deaf (DNA) friends as well, which she says has helped exponentially. “I prefer to be around people, despite my disability. Even at work, I can learn. Starting out was tough, but now, if I see something wrong, I understand, and can fix it quickly. I know where to go and how to ask for help. I live in a community. I work in a community. I have the best of both worlds,” she said.

My paycheck helps me to... ...take care of my home and feed my children. I am the only worker in the home. We depend on this job.

Shalom Magidson

This is the story of how Shalom Magidson moved from part-time status to a Team Lead position, leading to vocational and personal growth. Success in academics and computer gaming came easy to Shalom. What did not come easy to him was sudden change or social niceties. After graduating college with a Computer Science degree, he was at home for ten years, gaming and living a solitary lifestyle.

At Shalom’s eBiz interview in August 2016, he was resistant to work that might interfere with his routine. He ultimately agreed to try a microfilm scan operator position, working 12-9 p.m., two days a week on a Preferred Source contract. Shalom demonstrated many good skills from the start. He was on time, did not call in, and was a fast learner. Also, the job did not interfere with his gaming time.

After four months, Shalom was successful at the new routine. But if he was to stay employed and earn more, he needed to be open to additional changes. He accepted a new assignment in microfilm auditing with new and increased hours, but it became clear that Shalom needed to be shifted to a position that was a better fit for his skills and perfectionist tendencies. Coincidentally, there was a job opening in data entry. Coming into the data entry department, Shalom demonstrated typing skills at over 85 WPM, and quickly learned the new project rules and expectations.

When Shalom’s data entry Team Lead left, management reviewed the personnel options to refill the position. The discussion focused on these requirements: a Team Lead needs to be full-time, to present themselves as a role model for their team, and to communicate the goals, tasks and other organizational needs clearly and concisely to the team. Shalom demonstrated potential, but he did not meet the optimal requirements. When he expressed interest in the position, management presented him with the expected Team Lead thresholds.

Slowly and painstakingly, Shalom’s gap areas were filled. His hours were expanded until he met the full-time threshold, even as he kept his nightly gaming schedule. He also needed to learn to clearly communicate to team members about areas of improvement, and to clearly communicate issues and concerns to management and how to address them appropriately. It took 18 months for Shalom to meet the Team Lead thresholds. In 2019, he was offered the position of Data Entry Team Lead, and in 2022, this position was formalized with the establish ment of a Scanning and Quality Assurance Team Lead and Document Preparation Team Lead.

Shalom’s skills continue to grow. He is responsible for reviewing his team’s performance and keeping track of the quality and quantity of their work. His professional growth has extended to his home life, where his parents report that he is more positive about life. Shalom’s full potential has yet to be realized, but his future looks bright.

Being nominated for this award makes me feel...
...accomplished, like I’m doing good work and going places in life.

Nick Marich

Spectrum Designs • Pleasantville/Westchester County

One of the most skilled production assistants at Spectrum Designs’ Westchester operation, Nick is a game changer for productivity and output. Extremely dependable and reliable, he works the most hours of all of team members, and is always eager to lend a hand, help with a rush job, or stay late to finish a task.

Nick has a positive attitude, gets along well with all of his colleagues, and is a respected leader among his peers. His favorite task at Spectrum is taking completed shirts off of the machine, making him a main cog in the production wheel. His diligence keeps screen printing running smoothly.

Nick is especially helpful and dedicated when it comes to NYSID jobs, assisting with printing more than 2,000 Metro North Railroad jackets, producing more than 100,000 masks for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Department of Transportation, and consistently printing for a variety of local townships and municipalities.

The speed at which Nick learns, how respectful and reliable he is, and how much he cares about Spectrum’s mission and his peers is impressive. He cares deeply about his performance and the team, and is always there to lend a helping hand to assist his co-workers.

Nick has his eye on becoming a screen printer next, and is currently training under the department head. He is working at asking the right questions, and his work ethic is solid. “I really think this is my next step,” he said.

I like my job because… ...I care a lot about doing a good job and doing well in all areas of production. It’s what I enjoy and what I’m good at.


Frank Mateunas

Frank Mateunas began his career at Arc Otsego’s Creekside Industries in June 1989. More than 30 years later, Frank is a long-time member of the production team where he enjoys working to prepare NYSID products for customer orders. He works at Creekside Industries four days a week, and then one day at a local McDonald’s franchise. Frank said that although he enjoys working at McDonald’s, he feels as though he is working with “family” when at Creekside. “I’ve been there so long, everyone knows me, and I know they all care about me – just like a close family,” he said.

Frank has resided at the Gambino Family Care Home for many years, where he is an integral part of the family and participates in both the “fun stuff” and the daily routine of family living. He maintains close ties with his biological family and enjoys spending holiday time with them. He also enjoys family reunions when everyone gets together to catch up on what is happening. Frank frequently talks on the phone with his “look-a-like” nephew, Tyler, who holds a special place in his heart. Frank enjoys vacation time and looks forward every year to attending annual Elvis-themed festivals and camping several times during the year.

NYSID employment is very important to Frank because he likes making money and being with his friends at Creekside Industries. He enjoys the various tasks associated with preparing and processing NYSID products. On the days they process more than one type of product in a single day, Frank feels his job is kept interesting. He said it keeps him on his toes thinking about the multiple steps involved, so that he helps produce quality product. “I like my job because I stay busy. I didn’t like it when we didn’t work because of the virus,” he said.

Over 30 years of conscientious performance, Frank’s supervisors have described him as a dependable, careful worker who will provide the extra effort needed to meet production goals. His current supervisor further stated that Frank’s dedication to his job and always doing his best makes him a great role model to fellow trainees. He is a stickler for providing advance notice for vacation time and personal appointments, another hallmark of a solid employee.

Working on NYSID products has helped Frank meet his valued outcomes and look forward to greater levels of independence. He is proud of himself and the achievements he has made so far, and the achievements he hopes to make in the future.

If I didn’t have this job... ...I would be upset, because I like working here and seeing my friends. I think I would be bored if I stayed home again with nothing to do.


Derrick McGuinness

The Arc Lexington • Gloversville/Fulton County

Derrick McGuinness has a passion to succeed and to be included. At 27 years of age, he has worked hard to achieve a meaningful life filled with work, family and sports. Derrick began his journey to community employment with some experience in work-readiness programs as a teenager to prepare him for adult life.

Derrick began his work life soon after he graduated high school in 2012, bringing with him a work ethic that was already strong. The Harrison Industries Team at The Arc Lexington has benefited from Derrick’s work attributes over the past nine years. When assigned his work for the day, he promptly begins the job with a smile on his face. He is eager to help, knowing that everyone is working together to complete the job assignment. Derrick is one person who would never say, “That is not my job.”

Derrick is responsible for assembly and packaging of NYSID personal care kits along with restocking of the assembly line. He was shy at first, and it took him time to get oriented and comfortable with the packing jobs. He didn’t say much, but his willingness to learn and his attention to detail showed that he wanted to work and was putting everything he had into learning how to do the job right. Several years ago, Derrick was not as social as he is now and often needed prompting to stay on task and work at a steady pace, attributes necessary to keep up with the demands of the production line.

Things have changed for Derrick now that his confidence has grown and his interaction within the community has become a large part of his life. His family is proud of the work he does and the fact that his growth and strong work ethic have made him successful. His co-workers appreciate his teamwork and eagerness to always help when needed. You can count on Derrick to do the job, but to also go above and beyond each day. His supervisor stated that “Derrick is my go-to guy. He is the first call that I make when I put our line together for assembly. He inspires those around him with his good work ethic.”

Derrick was recently featured on Albany’s News Channel 10 for his commitment to his beloved sports at Gloversville High School. From football in the fall to basketball in the winter, and baseball, his favorite, in the spring, Derrick embraces his friends and teams with the same support and guidance that he gives each day at his job.

Derrick talks about his job with pride, and enjoys spending his paycheck on things that matter to him. He is an achiever and part of our community, becoming more independent as he becomes more successful in his employment.

Being nominated for this award makes me feel… ...happy.

Justin Moore

Second Chance Opportunities • Albany/Albany County

Justin Moore is an exceptional person who consistently shows up for work, his personal life, and his recovery. Justin spent years working through trials and tribulations, and today maintains employment in good standing at the NYS Workers’ Compensation office. His difficulties with substance abuse disorder and mental health are an obstacle which he faces with his head up.

Justin has been at the worksite since October 2021. He worked diligently throughout the pandemic. He wore appropriate PPE, transitioned into sanitization and sterilization, and was flexible when told his tasks would be different.

Prior to coming to Second Chance Opportunities, Justin felt unemployable and lacked confidence. When he came to work for Second Chance Opportunities on a NYSID contract, he was nervous about regular social interactions and learning how to navigate social norms. Fast forward, he has become an asset to the cleaning crew and everyone around him. He has made behavioral improvements over the last year, and is learning how to work well within a team setting. He takes advice and example from those in supervisory roles, and is willing to learn new skills and be trained on whatever job is required of him.

Justin moved into a beautiful new apartment during the pandemic and pays his bills on time. He is saving money for a future he desires. His progress is inspirational.

Through hard work and dedication to employment, Justin has become a dependable and respected young man who will go on to do wonderful things with his life. He is reliable and rarely takes time away from work. He has learned accountability and steadfastness. He has become confident and has come out of his shell, making friends with his co-workers and creating other relationships. He has gained a new level of confidence that will serve him well throughout his career, and has become an example of dedication to a new way of living.

If I didn’t have this job... ...I would be struggling to make ends meet and doing work that is not conducive to my recovery.

Jose Nieves

AHRC New York City • Manhattan/New York County

At the age of 57, Jose Nieves has achieved his goal to successfully maintain employment. Jose is diagnosed with borderline intellectual development disability, a secondary diagnosis of psychotic disorder NOS, hypertension, depressive disorder, bilateral hearing loss, and a speech impairment. He lives in state-operated Individualized Residential Alternative (IRA) housing in the Bronx, with 24/7 supervision and assistance. He enjoys watching television, going out to movies and community outings with members of his home, listening to music, and watching his favorite sports teams, the New York Yankees and Giants.

Jose’s stepfather was his only natural support, but moved to Africa without further contact. Jose moved into the IRA in 1999 and joined AHRC NYC’s Adult Day Habilitation services in 2000. During this time, Jose worked with the staff to develop skills to pursue employment, including assisting at a soup kitchen. Next, he enrolled in the agency’s Supported Employment Program, continuing to develop his skills.

At 49, Jose was given his first employment opportunity on the Hudson River Services intracompany trainee crew, earning his first paycheck. He worked with job coaches to learn the skills to meet job requirements, but struggled with performance. Jose never gave up on finding the right job or working in Supported Employment. He re-joined the agency’s job club and worked to improve his skills, waiting for the next opportunity to earn a paycheck.

At the outset of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarded a cleaning contract involving disinfecting the NYC subway stations to AHRC NYC and NYSID, creating 50 porter positions. At this time, the city was under stay-at-home orders, and Hudson River Services porters became essential employees for NYC. Many of AHRC’s existing workforce did not want to go out due to the unknown risks, so new workers were needed. Jose was selected as a qualified candidate through a job-match process, and was hired on at the start of the contract.

Night after night, Jose showed up and was proud to be part of a crew helping keep NYC essential workers safe. The foreperson took an immediate liking to Jose’s positive attitude, desire to work, and continued commitment toward the job. Two years later, he shows up early every day for work, never calls out, and is committed to improving his cleaning skills. His earnings allow him to provide for extra personal items, like new clothing and sneakers.

Jose’s positive attitude impacts his co-workers. His desire to do a great job motivates the entire crew. With the supports of the job coaches and his team, Jose is a leader and role model, who has overcome numerous obstacles on the road to successful employment.

I like my job because… ...I like my co-workers and I like working.

Shareem Nunn

Shareem Nunn is a respected, dedicated and longstanding employee of SecureScan. Seeking a change from working in house keeping, Shareem began his job search with Northeast Career Planning at Unity House in 2014. From his interview, it was clear he would be an excellent addition to the document imaging team.

Shareem started working in document preparation, and quickly worked his way into scanning, and then on to performing quality control. He has worked on numerous NYSID contracts both on and off site. His favorite task is scanning microfilm, and he has proven to be one of the rare individuals who masters all of the steps of the document imaging process. Due to his attention to detail, he is often entrusted to scan documents from the 1800s. His manager said, “Shareem works efficiently, has good attendance and has a positive attitude – he is the perfect fit as a document imaging operator.”

When asked what he would do if he didn’t work for SecureScan, Shareem replied, “I would probably work at another job I didn’t like.” He is glad to be working because he can pay his bills and stay busy. He has made some great lifelong friends at SecureScan with whom he socializes.

Shareem has a variety of interests outside of work: playing video games, playing sports and watching basketball and football. His favorite football team is the Patriots and his favorite basketball player is Derrick Rose. Shareem’s favorite part of the day is interacting with SecureScan’s owner, Chuck Tobin, about basketball games. The youngest of four siblings, Shareem attended Green Tech High School in Albany where he became interested in video game design. He enjoys volunteering at his local church and at Habitat for Humanity, where he was a building volunteer assisting in general construction of residential homes.

Shareem is honored to be nominated for NYSID’s Joslin Award for his dedication to hard work and his willingness to learn new tasks.

My paycheck helps me to… ...pay bills and feel good about having a job.


Vladimir Pierre Venture Together • Nanuet/Rockland County

Vladimir exemplifies the “exceptional job performance and personal growth” celebrated by NYSID’s Joslin Awards Program. He has overcome much and feels he is working in his dream job.

Vladimir entered Venture Together’s pre-vocational program as a young man who experienced a difficult past. He was extremely withdrawn and quiet, and had difficulty responding to even simple requests, often deferring to his father to speak for him in meetings and discussions. However, he persisted in improving his employability skills for several years before being referred for a job with Employment for Opportunity (also known as Just-A-Buck).

Beginning slowly at only two hours per week, Vladimir was eager to learn new tasks and do his best. His work requires him to assemble, label and tape cartons, and then package the goods into the cartons and pack out according to a set layout. Vladimir learns best by doing and by repetition. He recently started learning how to palletize, skid wrap and use a pallet jack to maneuver finished product within the warehouse.

It took a year of hands-on experience for Vladimir to gain the confidence he now enjoys in his position. Today, he is considered an exceptional employee who can work with minimal job coaching and assistance. To further his independence and increase his hours, Vladimir conquered the local transportation system, despite his reading difficulties, overcoming another obstacle to employment. This added success helped build his confidence, both in traveling a complicated transportation system independently and in the freedom that allows him to work more and participate in community opportunities.

Vladimir has grown into an exceptional employee. He never calls out, is always on time, and volunteers for additional shifts when offered. While once shy and extremely quiet, he now has the confidence needed to ask questions to learn new tasks, and portrays a strong sense of enthusiasm. Vladimir continues to work on learning and improving his skill set, becoming an employee who can be counted on for many different assignments. This newfound self-esteem is also demonstrated through volunteer efforts at his local church, where he enjoys being a member of the congregation and giving back.

Vladimir is now an outgoing individual of strength and spirit, a happy, smiling young man who portrays a positive and upbeat demeanor. In his own words, he thanks everyone for supporting him until he was able to make it on his own in a “real job.” He personifies the exceptional job performance and personal growth necessary to be recognized as a Joslin Outstanding Performer.

I like my job because... ...I have good people to work with and I am always learning things. Most of all, I make money.

Roger Quick

The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler • Elmira/Chemung County

Roger has worked on the custodial crew at The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler for the past eight years. He began as a worker trainee and is currently in the process of becoming an employee at SeeUs Commercial Cleaning, part of The Arc’s Business Services Division.

Roger currently works three nights a week cleaning businesses such as the Chemung County Department of Social Services, Finger Lakes DDSO, City Hall, City of Elmira Police Station, 911 Call Center, and The Arc adminis trative office building in Elmira. Roger has shown immense personal and professional growth in the past year, and has worked increasingly hard at being more independent in his tasks, especially changing garbage. He has done so well that he now assists in training new crew members who need to learn the proper way of completing this task.

One of Roger’s employment specialists said, “You can really depend on Roger to get garbage done quickly and correctly.” He is tenacious in his efforts to improve as an employee, gets along well with his co-workers, and has strengthened his natural support system over the years. Roger has also worked hard on keeping focused at work and not letting distractions keep him from getting the job done. His employer knows Roger can be counted on to get his own work done and assist his co-workers as needed. He has been recognized with The Arc of ChemungSchuyler’s “Worker Trainee of the Year Award” for continuously showing that he is a determined and dependable worker.

Roger is a busy man who participates in community pre-vocational and habilitation services to keep building his confidence, professionalism and independence. He recently assisted with a recruitment table at a local community college event in which he got to meet possible employee recruits for The Arc. Roger had a great time serving as an ambassador and representative of the agency’s core values and mission. He was thrilled to engage with his friendly face, positive attitude and “You’re Hired!” statement.

When not working or going to a program, Roger enjoys watching football games, going on vacations such as cruises to the Bahamas, bowling, taking walks in his community, and going out to dinner with his friends and family. He loves to be active and social, making a friend anywhere he goes. When asked what he loves most about his job, Roger said he likes cleaning and earning his living.

Being nominated for this award makes me feel... ...happy.

Elizabeth Rosado

Green Facility Solution • Albany/Albany County

Elizabeth Rosado joined the Green Facility Solution family in April 2013. She describes having had a good childhood growing up in the Bronx, and was blessed with a stepfather who helped raise her.

Elizabeth’s problems began when her mother and stepfather divorced after many years together. She felt abandoned and experienced low self-esteem, which led her to make poor choices. She became a teen mother at age 17, becoming responsible for another life. Besides becoming a mother at a young age, Elizabeth’s partner was mentally and physically abusive. She began coping with stress by using drugs and alcohol with him. This toxic relation ship lasted 17 years, until she found the strength to leave the abuse.

Elizabeth relocated her family to Albany in 1997, where she was supported by her mother and brother. Although she had left the abuse behind, Elizabeth had to learn to forgive and love herself again, ultimately becoming clean and sober in August 2013.

Before joining the Green Facility team, Elizabeth worked in the fast food, retail and health industries. Elizabeth stated that “Rayben changed my life.” Steady employment and being a part of something positive have helped her regain her self-esteem and confidence.

Over the past nine years, Elizabeth’s hard work and dedication to her job has grown, and she has evolved into an asset to the company. She goes the extra mile to ensure that her tasks are properly done, and was eventually promoted to supervisor. Since taking on the higher position, Elizabeth is responsible for training employees with physical and emotional challenges. She has also learned to motivate and instill positive energy into the workplace.

My dream job would be... ...to promote to manager and keep growing within the company.

Michael Rudgers

Hard work has been instilled in Mike from a young age. Growing up in Wyoming County, he would be found on the cattle farm with his brothers, ensuring the show calves were kept in impeccable condition. Mike was introduced to small machinery, like a Bobcat and loader, at a young age, which helped prepare him for his current career.

After Mike graduated from Pavilion Central School in 2008, he began the vocational process with Arc GLOW (previously Arc of LivingstonWyoming). He wasn’t sure where he wanted to work, but knew that he wanted to be outside. The agency’s Hilltop Industries’ lawn crew provided that perfect fit for his preference.

Mike works for a number of NYSID contracts, ensuring that 10 different Independent Residential Alternatives (IRAs) across Livingston County have lawns that are up to his high standard. “I love to drive the zero-turn mower, but I don’t go too fast, so the grass looks good,” Mike said about his favorite part of the job. He enjoys working with his lawn crew colleagues because “they are nice, help do the job right, and are there to help if I need it.”

Mike consistently shows up with a good spirit and ready to work. Director of Maintenance, Marc Strain, said, “Mike is a hard worker, he does everything asked of him and never complains. He always shows up for work and wants to help. Wish I had more workers like Mike.”

When he is not working for Hilltop Industries’ lawn crew, you can find Mike volunteering in the community for the Wyoming County Fair, helping park campers and putting up the parking signage for fair-goers. And, after a full day of lawn work, he puts in time at the family farm helping his parents and driving small machinery.

With the money Mike earns as a lawn crew member, he likes to go out on dates with his girlfriend, Mindy, and buy tools, tractors, or anything he wants. His favorite date spot is Tom Wahl’s in nearby Avon where he “always orders the mushroom Swiss burger.” Mike is also great with his hands and fixes his own tractors. If the issue is too big, he uses the money he makes to take his machinery to a local mechanic.

When asked what his dream job would be, Mike enthusiastically stated that he is living his dream working on the farm and assisting with the NYSID lawn-mowing and maintenance contracts. Mike is living his life the way he chooses, and living out his dream.

Being nominated for this award makes me feel... ...happy and accomplished that people are recognizing my hard work.

Heather Svoboda

Lifetime Assistance • Rochester/Monroe County

Heather’s journey can be seen as a roadmap. Each lane traveled is a measure of her personal growth and development through self-confi dence to become who she is today. Heather started at Lifetime’s Classified Shredding inclusive business as a document destruction technician in 2005 through a referral from EAGR, People with Epilepsy.

Heather struggled to face her fears and anxieties in a new setting. Although she liked sorting and shredding material, she was not eager to try other less preferred jobs, such as removing totes off the trucks. When redirected by supervisors, Heather would often ignore them, becoming anxious and uncooperative. Slowly, she began to ask questions when unsure, and to believe in her abilities to try new things and succeed. She learned to use her new skills and coping methods to handle setbacks.

Working in the shredding area is challenging. Each team member must adhere to the safety and security regulations as outlined in the National Association of Information Destruction (NAID) certification program. Heather’s job requires her to wear protective gear which can be hot, especially when doing heavy manual labor. She often became upset and argued with staff and co-workers about the heat. By being more resilient, she has learned to cooperate and be flexible under everyday situations.

Heather enjoys how she works independently in shredding. She is motivated to believe in herself and what she can accomplish, becoming open to trying new tasks. She enjoys a variety of other tasks such as weighing and recording totes, tying bale, washing, labeling and scanning totes back into service, and cleaning the machines. Heather is motivated by receiving a paycheck. The money helps her purchase tickets to concerts, wrestling shows and movies. She likes going out to eat, shopping and buying treats for her cat. She loves Halloween and going to haunted houses.

Heather was often at odds with her co-workers through negative body language and comments, often supervising and commanding them. Most shredding tasks require more than one person, so having congenial team relations is crucial to a successful operation. Staff encouraged Heather to maintain a pleasant and positive attitude with her co-workers. As Heather gained self-confidence, she became friendlier and more helpful to others.

When asked how she felt about being nominated for the Joslin Awards Program, Heather replied that she was pleased that staff noticed that she was going out of her comfort zone to be more social with staff and her co-workers. Her continued journey to employment success is well on the way.

I like my job because... ...it’s so busy, the day goes by fast. Some tasks may be challenging, but it’s never boring.

Eddie, as he likes to be called, has a long history of giving his best to make workplaces shine. Throughout his employment, he has been described as a reliable, punctual team player. Eddie was the main cleaner at CDS Monarch for a number of years until April 2021, when he decided he was ready to take the next step forward in his career.

During the time that he cleaned at the CDS Life Transitions corporate office, Eddie fine tuned the ability to work independently and to problem solve and prioritize what was required to maintain a clean, safe space. Eddie was able to take a multitude of directions at one time and execute them as explained. He proved that he was willing to jump in and help the team out whenever needed, picking up extra shifts and adjusting his schedule to meet the needs of the building. Aside from the hands-on work skills he possessed, Eddie built relationships with those around him. Other staff in the building knew him and would not hesitate to approach him to ask for assistance, as they knew he would always come through.

Eddie’s experience and reliability is now on the job at the NYS Insurance Fund office. He was hired by Sheen & Shine, a NYSID Corporate Partner. His work ethic shines every day. He schedules his transportation on time, and continuously shows up for scheduled shifts, and gets right to work. He takes initiative and makes sure that he is ready for the day, to ensure the cleanliness of his work site.

A steady paycheck allows Eddie to pay his bills on time. While not working, he enjoys spending time with his family. He also has a number of other things that he enjoys doing such as shopping, going to the movies, and watching sports; of which his favorite is NASCAR.

Eddie’s support team is very proud of him for this nomination. He has proven that with dedication and hard work, obstacles can be overcome and success can be achieved.

Being nominated for this award makes me feel... ...proud and honored.

Bryan Thomas

Bryan has been a porter at the NYS Department of Labor (DOL) and at the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) since December 2004. He takes great pride in his work, and makes certain that all his responsibilities are completed each day. He enthusiastically takes on new tasks and extra work to assist his supervisor in meeting deadlines.

Bryan’s enthusiasm for his work is evident in his decision to work two split shifts, Monday through Friday, first from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and again from 5-10 p.m.

Bryan’s day begins at the DMV, where he disinfects countertops, seating, and door handles and knobs to ensure that the facility is well-sanitized. He makes sure that the restrooms and staff lounges are clean and well-stocked. Bryan established his own daily routine that he follows meticulously, a clear indication of the integrity with which he approaches his job. DMV employees have often expressed their appreciation and admiration for Bryan’s diligence and work ethic, and even have treated him to lunch on occasion to express their gratitude. Many employees have stated that it’s a pleasure to work with Bryan, and several routinely engage him in conversation. He converses for only a brief moment; after all, there is always more work to be done.

Bryan’s second shift, at the DOL, involves vacuuming offices and cleaning two cafeterias and six restrooms. Once all of this is completed, he immediately heads back to the DMV with his crew to mop floors, clean restrooms, collect trash, and complete many other duties, always ensuring that each task is performed properly and on time.

For most people, such a long workday would be difficult, but Bryan’s continual smile, energy, and eagerness to serve others clearly indicate the pride and pleasure he takes in his work. If he finishes his nightly tasks early, he eagerly helps co-workers. Bryan often comments on how much he enjoys his job and constantly looks for opportunities to expand and improve his skills. He is open to feedback from his supervisor and support staff.

Through employment, Bryan has become more independent. He takes public transporta tion to meet his crew at AHRC Nassau’s Freeport facility every day. He advocates for himself effectively and professionally whenever he has any concerns or needs at work.

Bryan’s success demonstrates how partnerships among NYSID, contractors, employers, and community-based organizations truly benefit people with disabilities and the community. His work directly supports two very public locations serving the community, contributes to the local economy, and provides a sense of purpose and belonging to his day.

My paycheck helps me to... ...pay for the majority of my bills, including rent, utilities, food, and transportation.

Richard Vassar

For Richard Vassar, it has always been about the work. He loves the challenge of new projects, many of which have been in woodcraft. He is joyful when crafting quality products. There are moments during his workday when he becomes emotional because of his joy in the process. He has had this motivation throughout 21 years of employment at the Essex Industries (EI) wood shop.

Despite being challenged throughout much of his adult life with short-term memory loss, Richard hasn’t been deterred from working a wide variety of jobs. He has worked in every facet of EI: the shops, the molder room, Schluter Systems, and the enclave. When he forgets a step, he is briefly reacquainted with these steps by supervisors, and then is back at full speed.

Doug Bishop, Molder Room Supervisor, was a leading proponent for Richard’s Joslin Awards nomination. “Richard is a unique individual who is capable of operating any of the machines and saws in the molder. He is great at quality checks and needs little assistance from staff members. I always feel that he is a benefit when he is in my shop,” he said. “At this time, we are building picnic table orders. The orders are very large and need to be built as quickly as possible. Richard is a big hand at getting these orders completed. He can mold, crosscut, drill, and assemble them.”

Essex Industries Director John Gereau finds Richard to be “one of the hardest working people we have. He is a competitive wage earner. He is a self-starter, incredibly versatile and a super positive guy. We work around his memory issues. And, as far as safety, he is incredibly safe.” Workshop Foreman Brendon Teneyek describes Richard as “focused, dedicated, friendly, well-rounded, and a great guy to work with.” Plant Manager Preston Mitchell calls Richard “a 110% guy! He gives nothing but his best. Whether it’s with picnic tables, canoes or pizza peels, he is careful in his work and, at the same time, is extremely productive.”

Richard’s recent work has been hand-routing canoe seats. He has produced nearly 300 finished products per day. He finds Essex Industries to be a place of friendship and camaraderie that includes all. During the recent pandemic, the first thing Richard would do each morning was to check in on everyone’s health.

For a number of years, Richard worked with a small team of peers doing packaging work at a customer location. When the job ended due to transportation issues, he was just as hard-working in his volunteer efforts for the Chamber of Commerce in funding the town’s Labor Day celebration and helping at the event.

The self-motivation to take on new tasks and do each one well is just Richard’s nature. To be thought of as an outstanding employee makes him happy.

If I didn’t have this job... ...I would not be as active as I am now. I get a sense of accomplishment from work.

Sandy Williams

WellLife Network • Flushing/Queens County

Sandy Williams is an outstanding worker and mentor who takes daily pride in her performance. ACCES-VR referred Sandy to WellLife Network’s Vocational Services Department in April 2017. She began her journey to employment in a rigorous 90-day janitorial and groundskeeping training program through Project C.L.E.A.N.

Throughout training, Sandy demonstrated a most generous, helpful and caring attitude toward her classmates, and became her team’s mentor and leader. She was involved in every aspect of her vocational rehabilitation. She completed every assignment with great enthusiasm. Sandy made it her priority to be proficient in all janitorial and groundskeeping procedures. Her willingness to share her skills and knowledge with others became a daily routine. She learned the skillsets well and graduated with honors.

A few months later, WellLife Clean Corp. hired Sandy as a groundskeeper/cleaner, and she hit the ground running. Honest, diligent and reliable, Sandy is the primary representative at several NYSID contracts where she is well-liked and trusted by customers. Once a project is assigned to her, the job coaching team is always confident that it will be successfully accom plished to a high industry standard with ongoing customer follow-up and clear, concise documentation. Her problem-solving skills are exemplary, and she values personal growth. Sandy is always attending ongoing trainings available through WellLife throughout the year. She also attends college to pursue a career in pediatric nursing.

In a predominantly male field, Sandy stands out as indispensable. She brings a high level of professionalism and caring to her position and to her peers. She is a role model and a champion for all women who need to support themselves.

I like my job because... ...it teaches me how to be responsible and work within a team concept.



Isiah Jamison

The Arc Allegany-Steuben Bath/Steuben County

David Traver

Gateway Hudson Valley Kingston/Ulster County

David Bobbitt

Fedcap Rehabilitation Services Manhattan/New York County

Robert Yesse Liberty Arc Amsterdam/Montgomery County

Candace Cotazino

Northeast Career Planning at Unity House Menands/Albany County

Katie Tung Jawonio

New City/Rockland County

Steven Collins

Mountain Lake Services Mineville/Essex County

Maxine Nelson

The Arc Greater Hudson Valley Poughkeepsie/Dutchess County

John Humphrey Arc of Onondaga Syracuse/Onondaga County

Richard Warner Allegany Arc Wellsville/Allegany County

2021 2020 2019 2018 2017

Brian Mann

Lifetime Assistance, Inc. Rochester/Monroe County

Jerry Williams

Schoharie County Arc Schoharie/Schoharie County

Ramonita Morales

The Osborne Association Bronx/Bronx County

Michelle Wolfe

The Arc of Madison Cortland Oneida/Madison County

Edwardo Lopez

AHRC New York City Manhattan/New York County

Brent Matthew Lillard Spectrum Designs Port Washington/Nassau County

Donald Huckins

The Arc Otsego Oneonta/Otsego County

Marc Smith

The Altamont Program, Inc. Schenectady/Schenectady County

2016 2015 2014 2013


Ana Cortorreal

Fedcap Rehabilitation Services Manhattan/New York County

Nelson Hooper

F•E•G•S Manhattan/New York County

Robert Wells Gateway Community Industries Kingston/Ulster County

Mike Miles

The Arc of Oswego County Fulton/Oswego County

Linda Rollins

Rochester Rehabilitation Center, Inc. Rochester/Monroe County

2012 2011 2009 2010 2008

Frank Lange

The Arc of Steuben Bath/Steuben County

Mark Daube

The Arc Genesee Orleans Batavia/Genesee County

Matthew Maxwell

CDS Monarch Rochester/Monroe County

Kasey Knott

Allegany Arc Wellsville/Allegany County

2007 2006 2004 2005
New York State Industries for the Disabled 11 Columbia Circle Drive West Albany, NY 12203 800-221-5994 | www.nysid.org

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