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Arc of Westchester Honors Local Businesses


With a 90 Percent Employment Rate for Individuals with Disabilities,Arc of Westchester Surpasses the National Average of 20 Percent

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HAWTHORNE, N.Y., April 20, 2015 – Arc of Westchester held its 27th Annual Employer Recognition Breakfast on Friday, April 17. The event celebrated the 250 partnerships between Arc of Westchester and public and private businesses in the community. Eleven government officials and community leaders attended the event, praising Arc of Westchester and the business community for their role in employing individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“The businesses we’ve had the pleasure to partner with are diverse – some are large, national corporations with branches throughout the country, while are others are small, family-run shops,” said Richard P/ Swierat, executive director of Arc of Westchester. “We also provide numerous government agencies with both full-time and part time employees. Arc of Westchester works with each business to find the right employee that will fill their staffing needs. With no specific formula, we create solutions that work for everyone.”

Nationwide, the employment rate for individuals with disabilities is only 20 percent, but Arc of Westchester has achieved an astounding 90 percent employment rate.  Throughout the organization, Arc of Westchester has seen 25 percent increase in the average number of hours worked by individuals with disabilities and there has been a 20 percent increase in hourly pay for these individuals. Within the past year, 34 different employers have hired individuals with disabilities and among them, 17 of them are first time partners with Arc of Westchester.

Thirteen awards were presented to individuals and companies that have championed Arc of Westchester career and employment programs, including:

  • Share of Voice Award: Dr. Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester
  • Civic Partnership Award: Town of Greenburgh
  • Distinguished Partner Award: Yonkers Pathmark
  • New Partnership Awards: Dannon; Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, Yonker’s City Court Bureau
  • Bridge to Employment Awards: Croton-on-Hudson Goodwill; Stew Leonard’s
  • Advocate Award: Rasheed Innis, receiving manager at Bed, Bath and Beyond, Yonkers
  • Employment Award: New York City Department of Records
  • Anthony Cannata Memorial Awards: Emily Yan; Robert Ciarcia

Numerous local government leaders attended the breakfast, and many lauded the individuals served by Arc of Westchester, noting that these are some of their best and most reliable employees.

“This really is the easiest award I’ve ever been given,” said Assistant District Attorney Paul Stein when accepting the New Partnership Award on behalf of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, Yonkers City Court Bureau. “All I had to do was hire someone who is on time, diligent, cheerful and does their job with enthusiasm every day of the week. It couldn’t be easier than that.”

Government leaders in attendance or represented were:

  • Rob Astornio, Westchester County Executive
  • Paul Stein, Assistant District Attorney
  • Tim Iodini, Westchester County Clerk
  • David Buchwald, New York State Assembly
  • Thomas Abinanti, New York State Assembly
  • Shelley Mayer, New York State Assembly
  • Kevin Plunket, Deputy County Executive
  • Ken Jenkins, Westchester County Legislator
  • Senator Terrance Murphy’s office
  • Mayor of Yonkers Michael Spano’s office
  • Commissioner of Social Services Kevin McGuire’s office

As many local politicians have learned, partnering with Arc of Westchester simply makes good business sense for both the business and the community.

“Working with people with disabilities is about being a part of economic development and workforce development, and the growth of our county, and our state and our nation,” explained Dr. Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of the Westchester Business Council. “It means fewer people on social service because people are earning a paycheck. That’s what we all want to do, we want to love our jobs and earn a paycheck.”

Not only do politicians understand the benefits to hiring an individual with disabilities, but many business that accepted awards exclaimed how their employee or employees that are served by Arc of Westchester were truly exceptional assets to their workplace.

“It has been a privilege to work with Arc of Westchester,” said Joe Saccomano, managing shareholder of Jackson Lewis who employees two individuals with disabilities.  “Kyle and Joey have been two tremendous contributors to our office. And when I say that, I mean that their work lives and their job duties are no different than many other employees in the office. The expectations that we have for them and that they have been able to meet are no different than anybody else in the office. Their attitude that quite frankly we hope all employees have, is the attitude that they have in their jobs.”

Saccomano also shared a story of Kyle – an individual served by Arc of Westchester, demonstrating how they have come to rely on him as an important member of their staff.  “We moved our law office recently and we have very, very important files. He was put in charge of organizing, managing and categorizing those files for storage. He had a 100 percent accuracy rating. Nobody has a 100 percent accuracy rating. Kyle has 100 percent accuracy.”

Arc of Westchester’s programs focus on the individual, helping each person discover their interests, develop their talents and prepare for meaningful careers. These programs begin for young people before they even leave high school.

“At Arc of Westchester, we believe people with developmental disabilities should be respected as citizens in our community, and should have access to employment opportunities,” Swierat said. “As an employer, when you hire a new employee, you are providing that person with the opportunity to have a meaningful life where they can build friendships and relationships – a life full of options and opportunity.”

For more than 66 years, Arc of Westchester, a non-profit social services organization, has worked with the community to create meaningful employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder.

About Arc of Westchester

Arc of Westchester is the oldest and largest agency in the county serving children, teens and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including individuals on the autism spectrum, and their families. Over 800 employees provide more than 2,000 individuals throughout the county with a broad range of innovative and effective programs and services designed to foster independence, productivity and participation in community life.

Our mission is to empower children, teens and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including individuals on the autism spectrum, to achieve their potential by strengthening families and encouraging personal choices, abilities and interests. Our vision is a world in which children, teens and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities including individuals on the autism spectrum enjoy fulfilled lives and an inspired future.

Arc of Westchester is a chapter of NYSARC, Inc. and The Arc.


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Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as Arc of Westchester, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.


CONTACT:     Regina Moore, Arc of Westchester  [email protected]914-495-4573