Farm-to-Work Brings Fresh Food to Jawonio Employees

As part of our commitment to fostering a healthier workplace, Jawonio recently joined the Farm-to-Work Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program – a CSA designed to meet the needs of busy, working individuals who want to eat healthy, local food.

This is a new initiative offered by the “Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play” program of the Rockland County Department of Health that allows employees, groups of employees, and Jawonio collectively to buy seasonal food directly from a farmer (specifically, Wright’s Farm in Gardiner, New York, and Glebocki Farm in Goshen, New York). There will be a farmer’s market type spread and visits from the Farm-to-Work “food-truck” at lunchtime to various Jawonio Campus locations throughout the season.

Earlier this year Jawonio was the recipient of a “Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play” award for our new Employee Wellness Center – a fitness, wellness and education center at our Main Campus that encourages Jawonio employees to lead a fit and healthy life. Jawonio Human Resources Manager, Viola James, was specifically honored for her leadership in the project and her certification in a diet and nutrition program designed for workplaces. By engaging in healthy behaviors we can better encourage our consumers and community to do the same.

Healthy eating is key to our goals, and we are thrilled that our employees (and any community members who stop by) will have access to affordable, fresh, and locally grown foods – delivered right to the workplace! Many employees have already vocalized how excited they are to eat better ‘on the job’ and bring fresh produce and other foods home to their families.

Jawonio supports Farm-To-Work’s core values as part of our new health and wellness initiatives:

1. Freshness—Eat fresh fruits throughout the season, 
straight from the field to your hands. It tastes better and 
it’s more nutritious.
2. Variety—Opportunity to try new varieties of produce.
3. Knowing where your food comes from—Deepen 
your connection to what you eat by getting to know the 
people who grow it.
4. Supporting the environment—Eat produce that is 
grown with eco-friendly methods.
5. Cook more—The healthiest meals are those cooked at 
home with fresh produce. Weekly newsletter supplies 
some recipe inspiration.
6. Value—Save money compared to buying similar 
produce at a farmer’s market. About 20% compared to 
farmers markets.
7. Economies—Know that your support helps the local 
economy by creating jobs locally.
8. Farm—CSAs preserve farmland by supporting local 
9. Convenience- Delivered directly to your workplace.

Special thanks goes to Mia Wolinsky, Registered Dietician, who works in Jawonio’s Community Living Services and the Jawonio Health Center for her efforts in coordinating this initiative with the Department of Health and Wrights Farm.

(more dates coming soon– check back!)

Thursday, Aug 28th 12:45-1:45
New City campus (in front of Fisher residence)
Items available for purchase: Locally grown seasonal produce and baked goods.

Jawonio Health & Welllness Project Named “Regional Priority”

Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council Endorses 25 Projects as Regional Priorities for 2014 Competition

The Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council (MHREDC) today announced that it has endorsed 25 projects as regional priorities for Round IV of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative. If awarded funding this fall, the projects have the potential to generate over $600 million in economic activity and the potential to create and retain more than 3,500 full-time jobs as well as create 3,700 construction jobs in the Mid-Hudson Region (Sullivan, Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties).

“The 25 Priority Projects endorsed by the Council today have the potential to transform cities and communities across the Mid-Hudson region by creating new jobs, generating significant investment, and expanding economic opportunities for New Yorkers,” said MHREDC Co-chairs Dennis Murray, PhD, President of Marist College and Leonard Schleifer, MD, PhD, President & CEO of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “Over the last three years, the Mid-Hudson REDC has worked hard to successfully implement our Strategic Plan and it has paid off – to the tune of nearly $220 million of state investment in the region to support more than 230 projects that are creating jobs and spurring economic activity in the seven counties we represent. The slate of projects we are recommending today support our strategic economic development goals and will further implement our plan for economy prosperity the Mid-Hudson.”

As part of their ongoing efforts to engage the public, earlier this summer the Council issued a call for projects seeking consideration for endorsement and submission as regional priorities for Round III of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. The MHREDC received 111 Priority Project proposals from across the region and, after conducting its due diligence and a thorough review, selected several applicants who were invited to provide a full presentation to members of the Regional Council. After 15 hours of presentations and several hours of deliberation, the Council identified 25 projects that had risen to the level of Priority Project designation.

Each of the Mid Hudson’s seven counties are represented, ensuring the diversity and needs of many communities are accounted for. Moreover, the projects advance each of the Council’s goals, as contained in the Strategic Plan, thus ensuring each project advances the implementation of the Plan itself.

The following project(s) have been endorsed by the Council as Priority Projects:

Jawonio Integrated Health Wellness and Work Project – A $24 million enhancement, consolidation and expansion of Jawonio’s New City campus, which will include substantial renovation/construction of a 97,000 square foot building, and IT infrastructure enhancements which will position Jawonio for the planned expansion of its employment services division, social enterprises, health center and provide a centralized headquarters for its multi-faceted agency. (Rockland and Westchester counties)

All Priority Projects are subject to the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) requests and information submitted by the project sponsor to their respective agencies. The Regional Council awards will be announced later this year.

The Governor has directed up to $750 million in State resources to be made available in 2014 to support the economic development priorities of all 10 regions and spur job creation across the state, including $220 million in competitive funds from Empire State Development. In the first three rounds of the Regional Council initiative, the Mid-Hudson region was awarded $219.4 million in state support for 232 projects across the region.

About the Regional Economic Development Councils

In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. After three rounds of the REDC process, more than $2 billion has been awarded to job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans, supporting the creation or retention of more than 100,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit

Job Development ‘Works’ at Jawonio!

Jawonio’s job development programs were recently featured in the Rockland Economic Development Corporation (REDC) quarterly newsletter with a focus on explaining the economic benefits of hiring people with disabilities to business owners and people in positions to hire.

It is this kind of “straight talk” that will help ensure people with special needs have a place in the Rockland and greater New York area workforce. Jawonio is proud to be recognized for our job development programs like Employment/Vocational Services, Jawonio Businesses, and job advocacy and thanks REDC.

Job Development Works at Jawonio!

Since 1991 Jawonio job developers have matched individuals with disabilities to more than 4,000 job openings in the Rockland and Westchester communities for people with disabilities. Jawonio currently finds jobs and supports more than 500 individuals a year at jobs in our community.

Jawonio staff matches an individual’s skills, aptitudes, interests and abilities to your job opportunity and then provides a variety of short term or long term supports to you and your employee. These supports assist you in reducing training time, teaching job tasks, coaching employees on improving their work behaviors which leads to dedicated, motivated and loyal employees. Jawonio staff is proactive and by providing support to the supervisor and the employee, communicates on a regular basis with the employer!
And it works!

In 2013 Jawonio provided services and support to 122 employers in Rockland and Westchester. Our 2013 analysis of average job retention for employees that are provided on-going support was 7 years, with a range of 1 month to 25 years.

To find our how your company can benefit please call: Isabel Newmeyer, Job Development Coordinator, Jawonio Community Employment Services at 845-708-2000 x 2391 or via email For more information on programs and service at Jawonio visit

24th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Office of the Press Secretary
July 25, 2014


Over two decades ago, Americans — some in wheelchairs, some using sign language, and all with an abiding belief in our Nation’s promise — came together to strengthen our commitment to equality for all. At a time when people with disabilities were turned away at movie theaters, rejected for employment, and measured by what so many thought they could not do, leaders and activists refused to accept the world as it was. In small towns and big cities, they spoke out. They staged sit-ins, authored discrimination diaries, and scaled the Capitol steps. Finally, they realized their call for simple justice in one of the most comprehensive civil rights bills in our country’s history. On the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we honor those who fought against discrimination, and we recommit to tearing down barriers and guaranteeing all Americans the right to pursue their own measure of happiness.

The ADA promises equal access and equal opportunity — regardless of ability. It secures each person’s right to an independent life, and it enables our country and our economy to benefit from the talents and contributions of all Americans.

Even as we commemorate this milestone, we recognize that too often, casual discrimination or fear of the unfamiliar still prevent disabled Americans from achieving their full potential. That is why my Administration is pushing to fulfill the promise of and better enforce the ADA. Fifteen years after the
 Olmstead decision — in which the Supreme Court ruled it discrimination to unjustifiably institutionalize someone with a disability — we have increased the number of homes integrated into communities that are available for persons with disabilities. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are banned from discriminating on the basis of pre-existing conditions, medical history, or genetic information. Expanding on my Executive Order to establish the Federal Government as a model employer of individuals with disabilities, my Administration is also providing Federal contractors with the tools and resources to recruit, retain, and promote people with disabilities.

The nearly one in five Americans living with a disability are our parents, children, neighbors, colleagues, and friends. They are entitled to the same rights and freedoms as everyone else. Today, we celebrate their accomplishments, stand against discrimination in all its forms, and honor all who sacrificed so future generations might know a more equal society.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do
hereby proclaim July 26, 2014, the Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I encourage Americans across our Nation to celebrate the 24th anniversary of this civil rights law and the many contributions of individuals with disabilities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.


Jawonio Means “Independence”

With Independence Day weekend upon us, we felt it would be a great time to share this truly inspiring story of Independence in our community. After all, Jawonio is a Native American word that means “Independence” and it’s a cornerstone of our mission, which is to advance the independence, wellbeing and equality of people with disabilities and special needs.

Independence means something different to all of us, but if you ask many of the adults in our community, they will tell you that Independence is the right to the same opportunities afforded anyone else. That includes the opportunity to work, earn a living, and support yourself. As you read this story, please consider if there is more you can do to help people with disabilities achieve greater independence. Much is being done in New York right now to create jobs for people with disabilities, and if you are a business owner, there is plenty of incentive to hire people with disabilities. Share with your employer and legislators that an inclusive workforce is good for business, and good for society! Check out the resources at the bottom for more information on how you can get involved in providing meaningful employment for people with special needs.

Ed Pederson

Ed Pederson has been a part of Jawonio for nearly 15 years. He was referred to Jawonio after a period of rehabilitation after suffering a serious head injury at work. Ed began working at the Jawonio Work Center in Rockland, which for over 40 years had provided services such as packaging, product assembly, mailing/sorting and more, for businesses in the tri-state area. In addition to receiving a paycheck, Ed found that steady work in a safe and friendly environment had a big impact on his health and self-esteem.

I was not able to work for many years. Jawonio gave me a chance to get back on my feet again when I didn’t feel good enough. Being at the Jawonio Work Center it built me back up. I loved my work there, it was ‘piece’ work at first, but I liked the repetition. I liked the work. The stronger I got, the better at it I got.

Ed was one of the Work Centers best employees and loved the environment on the Work Center floor.

Four years ago, Jawonio began the process of phasing out its Work Centers and Jawonio Employment Staff have been successful in transitioning and placing Work Center employees into new job opportunities, or day habilitation services. Last year, Ed began training as an employee in one of our Jawonio Businesses – eBizDocs Document Imaging.

Today, eBizDocs, in collaboration with Jawonio, provides document imaging solutions for companies, state agencies, local governments, and other organizations. Over 50% of the eBizDocs workforce has a self-disclosed disability of some type and the company provides tons of training, coaching and supports so that employees not only have the skills to thrive at work but also in daily life.

I like working together with everyone, and I feel this is a real job now and I really enjoy coming to work.

Jawonio Employment Counselor, Julio Vargas, says this of Ed: “It is gratifying to see that Ed has achieved his goal in going from a supervised work setting to an independent work setting which is exactly what Jawonio is all about.”

And Victor Figurelli, Production Manager, eBizDocs/Jawonio Document Imaging adds, “I trust Ed to perform well with every document he is working on. He is meticulous in his work, and has an incredible attention to detail. His work ethic is outstanding.”

Ed’s birthday is July 4th. It seems the perfect date for a man who truly epitomizes the journey towards independence.

I always try to do the best I can do, and what I see here at Jawonio is that everyone else is doing their best too.

Happy Birthday Ed and Happy Independence Day to all!

Jawonio Employment Ed Pedersen

Inspired by Ed’s story? Check out these resources to do more:

Hiring People with Disabilities:
Bottom Line Benefits for Business:
Testimonials from Business Owners:
eBizDocs Works Philosophy: