Employers recognized for hiring people with disabilities

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Some local employers were recognized on Tuesday for employing people with disabilities.

They received those awards Tuesday morning at RCIL in Utica. The awards show that the selected employers go above and beyond to hire those with disabilities for their workforce. Organizers of the event say it sends a strong message to other local business owners and entrepreneurs.

"It's important for employees because it's important for folks to know anyone can do any job, whether they have a disability or not, if they're qualified for the position," said Carol Ginster, a Business Relations Representative.

Each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, or NDEAM as it has become known, is a time to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities.

A total of four awards were given out on Tuesday:

Statewide Award Winner - Entrepreneur with a Disability
Sammy and Annie Foods
Owner - Chris Giruzzi
Nominated by Pat Sullivan and Carol Ginster

Located in Barneveld, "Sammy and Annie Foods" is named in honor of Giruzzi's late grandparents on his mother's side, Salvatore "Sammy" and Ann "Annie" Bossone, the business officially launched in late spring of 2009. Giruzzi sells his product on-line, through local stores and is participating in the Oneida County Public Market, located at Union Station in Utica during both the summer and indoor season.

Regional Award Winner
Venue Services at the Utica Auditorium
Award received by Frank LaBella
Nominated by Human Technology Corporation

Several years ago, Venue Services had an advertisement for a janitorial position, looking for someone who could be somewhat flexible with their schedule due to upcoming events and needs of the Auditorium. Human Technology Corporation referred LaBella, who was hired, trained, stabilized and maintained that employment since 2003.

Regional Award Winner
Wal-mart Stores of Oneida and Lewis Counties
Nominated by the Arc Oneida-Lewis Counties

Organizers said the store has made a commitment to provide people with disabilities the same opportunities afforded to people without disabilities - respect, dignity and a job. Organizers said that on any visit to the store, one can see individuals with disabilities in all positions within their company.

Regional Award Winner
Wingate by Wyndham in Rome
Award received by Dawn Crever, Manager
Nominated by Upstate Cerebral Palsy

Organizers called Wingate by Windham is an excellent, service-oriented business that places a high priority on teamwork and on putting people first. Wingate by Windham actively results new employees with disabilities.

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