Published On: Wed, May 16th, 2018

Rally Event Calls for Increased Employment Opportunities for New Yorkers With Disabilities, 70 Percent of Whom are Unemployed

WHEN: Wednesday, May 23

TIME: 9 – 11 a.m., program at 9:30 a.m.

WHERE: Legislative Office Building (LOB), Albany, The Well


Senator Robert Ortt (R,C,I-North Tonawanda), Chair of the Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee

Senator Catharine Young (R/I/C-Olean), member of the Senate Health Committee and Senate Children and Family Services Committee

Assemblymember Aileen Gunther (D,I,WF-Forestburgh), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Mental Health and the Subcommittee on Women’s Health

Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam), Chair of the Subcommittee on Autism Spectrum Disorders

Preferred Source workers/family members

WHAT: New Yorkers with disabilities, their families and disability advocates will raise their voices for updating the 43-year-old New York State Preferred Source law during a rally event.

This is an opportunity for elected officials and media to hear how this capable workforce should be given the best and most updated tools to combat the inexcusable 70 percent unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities in New York State.

Rally participants seek to educate the community about “MAKE THE CHANGE,” a growing movement to secure both ongoing employment and new opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

The goal is to encourage the New York State Legislature to implement changes in the Preferred Source law that would improve both existing and future employment opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities, without any fiscal impact on the State’s budget, particularly those employed by NYSID’s 122 member agencies across New York State.

Legislators are being asked to support bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Young and Assemblymember Gunther (S 5086/A 6832).

Without this legislation, it will be more difficult to support the Preferred Source Program’s core goal: employing individuals with disabilities on contracts for vital goods and services procured by state and local government, public authorities and SUNY.

Specifically, “MAKE THE CHANGE” has five objectives:

  • Expand jobs – Create more jobs for people with disabilities
  • Reflect intent – Support original legislative intent of the Preferred Source law
  • Empower workers – Improve legislation, leading to timely approvals of contracts and greater employment of an under-served workforce
  • Modernize – Update the legislation to meet the needs of today’s jobs
  • Create livelihoods – Facilitate people with disabilities becoming taxpayers who give back to their communities

For more information on “MAKE THE CHANGE,” including personal stories of Preferred Source workers positively impacted by the campaign, visit:

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