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WNY Employment Consortium Recognizes People Inc. Partnerships

NDEAMWegmansLen-Co Each October, during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), New York State Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) celebrates the work of partners who join together to make the connection between businesses seeking qualified workers and workers who just happen to be people with varying abilities. On a local level, these partnerships are celebrated through the WNY Employment Consortium. Since the annual luncheon was not possible this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the committee visited all of the nominees. People Inc. proudly nominated the Dick Road Wegmans in Depew, NY, and Len-Co Lumber in Williamsville, NY for their inclusive and supportive employment practices, as well as being outstanding partners with the People Inc. Supported Employment Program. Wegmans also was named a Regional Winner by the statewide ACCES-VR.

Wegmans on Dick Road in Depew has been an incredible support for their employees with disabilities, as they continue to work through the pandemic. In one such instance, an employee's position was no longer needed at the Hot Food Bar, due to health concerns from COVID-19. Wegmans created a special "Sanitation Team" to promote safety and cleanliness in the store. The person who receives supports from People Inc. joined this team, so she could remain employed during the crisis. The employee was nervous to begin a new position, but was given time to adjust and was encouraged to ask for assistance, if needed. She was able to overcome her anxieties about the current situation, due to the positive work atmosphere and helpful coworkers. When asked, the employee stated that she was happy to be employed at Wegmans and was proud of her work.

Len-Co Lumber is an exemplary employer that assisted Chris Chase in developing natural supports with his coworkers and customers. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Manager Robert Drozda had to change everyone’s schedules to limit the number of employees in the store. Chris was very flexible with his schedule, taking the whole situation in stride – keeping up with demand, while learning new safety precautions. He is genuinely happy to have the job and continue working. Robert and his team appreciate the added level of professional support they receive from Employment Specialist Kristen Pautler—particularly in learning how to effectively communicate with Chris.

Pictured in the Wegmans photo: (left to right) Bryan Devans, Co-chair of the WNY Employment Consortium (WNYEC); Lauren Partridge, Wegmans; Caitlin Dahlman, Wegmans; Jessica Broughton, Senior Employment Supervisor, People Inc.; Ansley Kelly, Wegmans; Dennis Martinez, ACCES-VR, WNY Employment Consortium and Frank Cammarata, Executive Director of the Erie County Office for People with Disabilities.

Pictured in the Len-Co Lumber photo: (left to right) Kristen Pautler, Employment Specialist, People Inc.; Bryan Devans, Co-chair of the WNYEC; Christopher Chase, employee; Tina Polito, Program director of Vocational Services, People Inc.; Robert Drozda, manager, Len-Co Lumber and Dennis Martinez, ACCES-VR, WNY Employment Consortium.

Western New York 1219 North Forest Road | P.O. Box 9033 | Williamsville, New York 14231 | Phone: 716.817.7400 | Toll Free NY 1.888.7PEOPLE | Fax: 716.634.3889

Rochester 1860 Buffalo Road | Rochester, NY 14624 | Phone 585.441.9300 | Fax 585.441.9398

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