PLATTSBURGH - North Country businesses have once again been recognized for their commitment to disabled members of the local workforce.
Representatives from the Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities, the Clinton County Advocacy and Resource Center's Workforce Network and OneWorkSource gathered Oct. 31 to present annual employer awards as part of National Disability Employer Awareness Month.
VESID district manager Stephen Novacich credited the organization's partner agencies and employers with being "exceptional" forces in facilitating employment for those with disabilities.
"We do so well in the North Country because of all the players involved, perhaps most importantly, with all the work our partners, providers and the VESID office does," said Novacich. "It would be pointless unless we had an employer community that had been so progressive, positive and pragmatic in their decisions to give persons with disabilities opportunities to work like the rest of our population."
Keri Mack, representing the North Country Workforce Investment Board, said there is sometimes a stigma associated with hiring someone with a disability, though those concerns are unjustified.
"The fact is, every individual, regardless of their disability, deserves the right to be treated on an individual basis, fairly and without discrimination," said Mack. "These individuals can be productive and successful members of the workforce; they just need to be given the opportunity."
State Assemblywoman Janet L. Duprey, R-Peru, applauded the honorees for their ability to overlook a label that can often be associated with a disability and for seeing "the beauty, the drive, the determination and the value of every employee." Duprey added the schools which work with VESID and the other organizations are also what makes the road to successful employment easier for those with disabilities.
"I think the beauty of this day is that we also recognize the fantastic school systems we have in the North Country, because they're educating our children with special needs and they're doing a great job of it," she said.