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(from left to right: ACCESS-VR Integrated Employment Specialist Al Sindone, Dutchess County Regional Chamber President Charles North, Author & Activist Jesse Saperstein, Sponsor Representative Robert Ranieri and Senator Greg Ball)

Wappingers Falls, N.Y. – (10/26/11) – Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson) honored and recognized local employers who hire and support initiatives that target qualified workers with disabilities. The 10th Annual National Disability Employment Awareness Ceremony was hosted by the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Mid-Hudson Employment Alliance.

“From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank each and every one of you for the work that you do. Many times after folks age out of the school systems the services that they rely on and need disappear. It is so very important that we recognize and honor the companies that help those with disabilities transition into the work force to utilize their skills to better themselves, the community and the economy,” said Senator Ball.

Dutchess County Chamber president, Charles North, who was raised by two handicap parents said, “This year’s theme focuses on improving employment opportunities that lead to good jobs and secure economic future for people with disabilities and the nation as a whole.”

It’s estimated that 54 million Americans are currently living with a disability. Of that, only 32% percent of working-aged Americans with disabilities are currently employed, according to the Dutchess County Chamber.

Jesse Saperstien, who lives with Asperger’s Syndrome gave a very powerful keynote speech about  his struggles with his disabilities. He said, “The greatest lesson I have learned is how important it is to look yourself in the mirror” as he picked up a mirror, “give to yourself what does not always come from someone else. I want to thank the politicians, as well as the business men and women in this community, who have given me something to fight for and a chance to move forward with minimal bitterness.”

Rob Ranieri from Rose & Kiernan Inc. who sponsored this great event said, “I am delighted to have Senator Ball at this dedication for the community, but most importantly, I am happy to support National Disability Employment Awareness Month.”

For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Ali Skinner: (845) 200-9716.