This year’s commencement ceremony will take place at Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) in the IT Building’s Theater Room. The Graduation will begin at 6:00 p.m. on May 18th.
Neil Romano, President, The Romano Group, LLC, will be this year’s Keynote Speaker. Romano is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities in the field of media and public advocacy. Romano has dedicated his career to the marketing of ideas and messages to help save lives and promote public policy. He is founder and president of The Romano Group LLC., a strategic consulting firm which produces highly visible and effective public awareness programs. In addition, Mr. Romano is president of America’s Strength, a not for profit organization which works to promote the hiring of people with disabilities.
In 2007, Neil Romano was nominated by President George W. Bush to be the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As head of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Neil Romano advised the Secretary of Labor and worked with all DOL agencies to lead a comprehensive and coordinated national policy regarding the employment of people with disabilities in the United States.
Romano's innovative work as a member of the Committee for Purchase from People Who are Blind or Severely Disabled, has been described as having generated historic change in the quality of life for workers with disabilities. In 2010, the full committee with a special leadership award recognized Romano’s work while a member of that committee.
A noted producer/director Mr. Romano's film, “Youth Homicide: A Public Health Crisis", earned an Emmy Nomination for him in the category of Best Director. His most recent film "America's Strength", which documents the inspiring stories of people with disabilities in main stream employment, is due to be released nationally in the Summer of 2010.
Mr. Romano’s extensive professional background includes tenure as director of communications for the White House Office of Drug Control Policy. In that role, he worked on campaigns such as “Just Say No” and “America Responds to AIDS.”
Mr. Romano has served as a member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, and presently serves on a number of diverse national boards of directors. He has advised the Association for People in Supported Employment, the U.S. Business Leadership Network, and other disability employment groups which use a “business to business” approach to promote the imperative of hiring people with disabilities.
The CollegeWorks program is a collaborative project between The Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter and MVCC. It was established to improve student transition from high school to employment, and is a non-credit, non-degreed, two-year certificate program for individuals with special needs who desire to get a better job and obtain college experience.
The year one curriculum offers students an exploratory career assessment in the fields of caregiving, food service, industrial/maintenance, retail/office and animal care. In the second year, students elect to study in one occupational area and participate in a work-study at a local job site. After graduation the students will seek employment in their respective fields.
The class of 2010 graduates are:
Rachel Ann Lewis
CollegeWorks offers opportunities to individuals with disabilities by providing accessible post-secondary education that will prepare them to be successfully employed, contributing members of the community.