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Arc Jefferson-St. Lawrence looking to fill vacancies for disabled persons on Fort Drum

Watertown Daily Times - 1/19/2020

Jan. 18--WATERTOWN -- In an effort to live up to the vision of being the premier provider of services for people with diverse needs through the continuum of life, the Arc Jefferson- St. Lawrence is looking to fill vacant job opportunities for disabled persons on Fort Drum.

Those who may be eligible would be people with mental health issues, alcohol and substance abuse problems, physical disabilities and/or an intellectual or developmental disability. Eligible persons must provide proof of disability at the time of application for these positions and must also pass a background check.

"Specifically, we are looking to promote opportunities for people with a disability who have difficulty finding and succeeding in competitive employment in the community," said Arc CEO Howard Ganter.

On Fort Drum, the Arc operates the Central Issue Facility (CIF), which processes equipment and supplies for the soldiers, operates Kitchen Patrol in the dining facilities, and provides janitorial and some recycling in many of the buildings on the post. Currently, there are openings in the dining facilities on Fort Drum as well as some janitorial opportunities.

The openings at the dining facilities on Fort Drum pay $14.04 plus $4.27 per hour for Health and Welfare that can be used to purchase benefits or added to the base pay. Pay for other jobs when they are open are $13.29 per hour for janitorial and $16.80 per hour for stock clerks at the CIF, plus the $4.27 Health and Welfare hourly rate, according to Mr. Ganter.

According to Shawn Mead, federal contracts manager, some of the tasks performed by dining facility workers include kitchen patrol work, sanitization/disinfection, dish washing, and more. The military handles all food preparation.

The Arc has been involved with Fort Drum since the early 1990's and currently provides about 140 jobs overall, with 75 percent of those jobs being for people who have a mental health or alcohol/substance abuse problem, or physical/intellectual/developmental disabilities who have difficulty obtaining competitive employment.

The Arc's contracts for Fort Drum are part of the AbilityOne Program, a federal initiative and largest source of employment for people with disabilities, and are administered by a company called SourceAmerica.

"The Arc does a tremendous amount to help people get employed, stay employed, and gain skills to use out in the community," said Brendan Dirrane, director of vocational services and business development.

According to the organization's website, the Arc provides lifelong opportunities that enhance the lives of people so that they may achieve their hopes and aspirations, and all persons will be involved in the community where they live, thereby enhancing their independence through work, belonging, and service to others.

"The work is a source of pride for the community assisting soldiers on Fort Drum, and is a great opportunity for people to get in their community and get out there and get a living wage," Mr. Dirrane said.

According to Mr. Ganter, there will eventually be a city bus that goes out to Fort Drum to aid in transport to get workers to their posts and back.

The Arc is one of the larger employers in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties, with about 1,100 employed persons between the two. Over twenty positions are currently available on base at Fort Drum.

"It's all about providing opportunities for members of our community to have gainful employment," Mr. Mead said. "Folks take a lot of pride in the work because they feel like a part of the military and the mission."

Information regarding these positions can be obtained through the Arc's website at www.thearcjslc.org or by calling (315) 836-1263.

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