BEACON – Shortly before noon Monday, Brian Weiner, who works at Antalek & Moore Insurance Agency in Beacon, was sitting quietly at his desk. Within a half hour, though, many people wanted to meet Weiner, including Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro.
Weiner, who received help from Abilities First, a non-profit that helps people with developmental disabilities find jobs, recently started working at the insurance agency doing deposits, direct bill entry and statements.
“I am doing a lot of bookkeeping and accounting work,” he said. “Work is very important to me because I went to school for accounting, and this job is giving me the opportunity to use my accounting skills,”
Jeff Fox is the chief executive officer for Abilities First, and he said his organization helps people like Weiner set goals in their lives, whether it’s a job or a new home.
“We try to figure out what those goals are,” said Fox.
And in this organization Weiner and others receive supported employment, a service offered through the New York State Department for People with Developmental Disabilities,
“Through that service we help find job placements and provide training on that site in any way they need to be successful at that job,” he said. “That’s how we helped Brian get this job here.”
Weiner helped gain experience for his new job by helping the Dutchess County Clerk’s Office, through the ThinkDIFFERENTLY Backscanning Project, convert nearly 627,000 pages of tax roll records, from 1952 to 2001, into digital records.
“Those living with intellectual and developmental disabilities have exceptionally and unnecessarily high unemployment rates. So finding opportunities for those with disabilities is not only a benefit to the individual but also to the business,” said Molinaro. “These are people who have skills that too many times overlooked. And what this company is doing is making that important connection.”
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