Spectrum Designs Foundation was one of 75 organizations who received a grant as part of New York’s notable Workforce Development Initiative. Funding and incentives were provided by the Department of Labor, Empire State Development and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Seventy-five businesses, schools and community-based organizations were recognized with the help of the state’s Regional Economic Development Councils, who play a pivotal part in recommending applications for funding, based on regional economic needs and opportunities.
Spectrum Designs was awarded $200,000 which will be used to create vital job opportunities for individuals with Autism. These efforts include: offering workforce development and occupational skill credentialing in entry and mid-level skill jobs; addressing the unemployment crisis after high-school; providing on-the-job training and classroom instruction in work readiness; and promoting industry specific credentials as Screen Printers, Food Handlers and Washroom technicians—leading to higher paying jobs and promotions.
In addition, Spectrum’s partner human service agency, The Nicholas Center, received more than $120,000 from this initiative.
At Spectrum Designs, more than 50 percent of the workforce is comprised of New Yorkers with disabilities—a group that faces an estimated 90 percent under-employment rate in the U.S. Since its inception in 2011, its combined affiliates (Spectrum Designs, Spectrum Bakes and Spectrum Suds) have provided more than 80,000 hours of paid employment, resulting in total wages of more than $1 million to this under-served population.
“Not only are we are humbled to receive this grant, but honored to be in such great company,” Co-Founder and CEO Patrick Bardsley, said. “We are in awe of so many of the fellow awardees and are rooting for them as they navigate through 2021 and beyond. In addition, it’s exhilarating and inspiring to see so many like-minded organizations on this list. It serves as a reminder to all of us that the individuals with disabilities are part of today’s crucial equality, inclusion and diversity conversation.”
“Westchester is all about creating an inclusive environment for people who live and work here, including people with disabilities,” George Latimer, Westchester County Executive, said. “This grant is a well-deserved recognition. We believe it will continue to help Spectrum shape their strategy and expand their unique mission while creating a diverse company culture and improving innovation in Pleasantville and beyond.”
In addition to its 7,500 square foot flagship building in Port Washington, Spectrum opened a second 8,000 square-foot location last year in Pleasantville.
To learn more, visit spectrumdesigns.org.
—Submitted by the Spectrum Designs Foundation