The Center for Disability Services serves more than 12,000 people a year throughout 15 Upstate New York Counties, but you may be surprised to learn the non-profit is also one of the largest employers in the Capital Region. In this week's Capital Region Business Beat, Jon Dougherty shows us one of its operations and its unique workforce.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Neil Vatsyayan is a dedicated employee who's been stuffing envelopes for 10 years.
"I come here five days, I do good. They make sure I do very well," Vatsyayan said.
Rich Whaley has been on the job for six years.
"It's really awesome. I mean, I love having a job," Whalen said. "Everyday that I can go do that is very consistent and it's a joy to have a job."
Vatsyayan and Whaley are two of the more than 70 employees at Commercial Services. A branch of the Center for Disability Services, Commercial Services prints, stuffs, meters, sorts and ships all types of commercial mail.
Commercial Services processes up to 150,000 pieces of mail every day. It's likely that, one time or another, at least one has made it into your mailbox.
"If you get a jury questionnaire from the court system, that came from here," Commercial Services Senior Director Dennis Riley said. "There's a lot of different documents we handle for the State of New York that pass through here so odds are, yes, someone has gotten mail from us."
Commercial Services employs people with and without disabilities and offers workforce coaches. No matter title or ability, they're all looked at the same.
"They all do the same things that we do," said Riley. "They all go on vacation, they all have to pay bills. A lot of our guys live with their parents, they help pay their parents bills by working here. It's a win-win for both of us."
"I really believe in supported employment," said Commercial Services Employment Specialist Kali Milner. "I think it makes a tremendous difference in the quality of life for an individual."
All of Commercial Services revenue goes back to the Center for Disability Services to support its programs. meaning each of the estimated 125 million pieces of mail handled each year gives back.
"People that need services in this area, that's what we're working for," Riley said.
While employees enjoy independence, they also earn a paycheck.
"I don't know where I'd be without it," Whaley said with a smile.
The Center for Disability Services is in need of employees, in particular, community services professionals. For more information, go to www.meaningfuljobs.org/.
If you know a local business that should be featured on the Capital Region Business Beat, submit an email to Jon.Dougherty@twcnews.com. For more local business news follow Jon on Twitter: @JonDTWCNews.