Oswego Industries Receives Grant for Vocational Rehabilitation Programs

Geraldine Hager has her work checked=
Geraldine Hager has her work checked by trainer Dale Hubbard. After almost five weeks of training, Geraldine is ready to begin working on real contracts for Oswego Industries, Inc.’s Textiles Division. Geraldine is a participant in Oswego Industries, Inc. Vocational Rehabilitation program.

FULTON, NY – Oswego Industries, Inc. has received a $1,500 grant from the Allen Speiser Memorial Vocational Rehabilitation Fund, through the Central New York Community Foundation. The grant will be used to purchase equipment for the nonprofit’s expanding Textiles division, which will provide additional opportunities for individuals with disabilities receiving vocational rehabilitation services.

“We are very fortunate to have an experienced, coordinated Textiles department here at Oswego Industries,” said Paul H. Kurtzman, Executive Director of Oswego Industries, Inc. “At a time when many work options for people with disabilities are decreasing, Textiles remains a strong niche market. The grant generously offered by the Allen Speiser Fund will help us bring in more machines to meet the need of individuals wanting to be trained for such work.”

Oswego Industries, Inc. is a Community Rehabilitation Program which offers skill assessments, pre-vocational and vocational training, and supported employment to individuals with disabilities in Oswego County. Its Textiles division has added several new contracts in the past 18 months including coveralls for the United States military, clergy vestments for a Pennsylvania-based commercial company, and blankets for a company based in New York City. While work continues daily with experienced sewing machine operators, many more individuals with disabilities are ready to begin training as soon as enough staff and equipment are available.

“The Allen Speiser Fund is pleased to provide a grant that would enhance personal work skills and vocational opportunities for individuals with disabilities in a labor market that is very competitive,” said Dr. Harvey Pearl, Chair of the Allen Speiser Memorial Vocational Rehabilitation Fund, administered through the Central New York Community Foundation. “Oswego Industries, Inc. is in the forefront in providing vocational rehabilitation to individuals with a wide range of disabling conditions with the goal of job placement and independence in the community. We congratulate Oswego Industries for their notable efforts.”

The mission of the Allen Speiser Memorial Fund for Vocational Rehabilitation is to strengthen and support efforts that advance and have a positive impact on vocational rehabilitation services. Vocational rehabilitation is the process of assisting people with any disabling condition to acquire the social, educational and work skills that will lead to employment. The Fund offers grants to support special projects, make new investments, and provide additional staff training, filling in the gaps left by other funding sources.

The Central New York Community Foundation has served Central New York for over 80 years, receiving, managing and distributing charitable funds for the benefit of not-for-profit organizations. Grants are awarded for programs in the areas of human services, arts and culture, education, environment, health, economic development and civic affairs. The region’s largest endowed philanthropic foundation, the Central New York Community Foundation awards over $5 million in grants to not-for-profit organizations annually. The Community Foundation can be reached at (315) 422-9538 or www.cnycf.org.

Oswego Industries, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit Community Rehabilitation Program which has been providing programs and services to adults with disabilities since 1968. Services include pre-vocational and vocational training, day habilitation services, and Medicaid Service Coordination. Its mission is to be a partner in the development of comprehensive community services designed to improve the quality of life for all people, with the primary emphasis on those with disabilities, by providing the necessary support programs to enable individuals to grow with dignity and achieve their highest level of independence and self-fulfillment. Most recently, the organization was named winner of the Chamber of Commerce Not-For-Profit of the Year Award for 2009. Its sister agency, ARC of Oswego County, provides services to children and seniors with disabilities: together creating a comprehensive support system for Oswego County residents with disabilities.