On October 2, 2014, AHRC New York City’s Employment and Business Services Department held an event at the New York Stock Exchange, celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month, (NDEAM). The event also recognized the many partnerships AHRC NYC has with businesses across the city that employ the people we support.
With a playful theme based on a popular board game, the event encouraged attendees to raise their chances of obtaining raffle prizes by engaging with Account Executives from AHRC NYC’s Employment and Business Services department, visiting invited business representatives, and other networking activities.
Speaking to an audience made up of representatives from various New York-area businesses, Mike Decker, Chief Operating Officer, noted the vast changes seen in the field of services for people with disabilities during its 66 years of existence. “Our founders had high aspirations,” he said, “but never would have dreamed that from humble beginnings we would have people working at the New York Stock Exchange.”
Steve Towler, Associate Executive Director, explained how Employment and Business Services has grown from a single job placement in the Bronx 28 years ago, to in 2014 helping over 1,500 people with disabilities to secure employment. “When a person goes out to work for the first time it is a life-changing event,” he said. “Having a job is one of the big parts of citizenship, and having that opportunity is something that is valued by Americans across the country.”
Salvatore Moran, Associate Director of Employment and Business Services, explained the great achievements of Edwardo Lopez, a porter working through Hudson River Services who recently received NYSID’s William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award.
A number of AHRC New York City’s business partners were recognized for providing excellent employment opportunities to many of the people we support, including:
Alliance Bright Star Couriers
Forest City Ratner
Buffalo Wild Wings – Times Square
College of Staten Island Recreation Department
Kmart – Bronx
New York Hospital Queens
Restaurant Associates at the New York Stock Exchange
The Barclays Center Levy Restaurants
Weeks Lerman Group LLC
Several of the honorees expressed their appreciation for the partnership they have with AHRC NYC. “We’re happy to be part of the village that it takes [to employ people with disabilities],” a representative from the Barclays Center said. “We think it’s a moral obligation to help people with disabilities lead productive lives.”
A representative from Weeks Lerman Group said “In this crazy business world we live in, this is the one feel-good part. I’m grateful that AHRC gives us the opportunity to get involved.”
In perhaps the most heartfelt moment of the evening, Matt Pintchik, owner of a hardware store in Park Slope, explained how he was approached almost 20 years ago by Howard Golden, a former borough president of Brooklyn, and asked if he would hire a person with special needs. Matt readily agreed, and Kenny, his longtime employee, has “become a member of our extended family at Pintchik…”
Matt provided a testimonial to the challenges faced by parents of people with disabilities and the importance of employment, as his young son Jack (who was present) has a disability. “What does a parent worry about?” asked Matt. “They worry if there will be a place for their child to be involved, to be part of society, to be able to contribute. And it comes from the bottom of our hearts. We don’t have 100 employees, we have Kenny. And I can tell you how special he is and how much he looks forward every day to come to work.”
We proudly thank the staff of AHRC New York City’s Employment and Business Services for creating such a wonderful event to show their appreciation of these employers.