Local organizations supporting people with disabilities ask for help with staffing shortages

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ROTTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Just as many other industries are going through, non-profits have been impacted by workforce shortages. And when it comes to a job that requires caring for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, it can be very tough.

“This is the greenhouse is where we do all the planting and all the activities,” Cheryl Martin told NEWS10’s Anya Tucker.

But, for her this isn’t just a greenhouse. It’s a personal oasis.

Cheryl is one of the lucky few to be able to participate in Schenectady ARC’s Maple Ridge day program where she also gets paid to work in the greenhouse. But severe staffing shortages have forced cutbacks in most of the other programs that make her life fulfilling.

Cheryl told Anya that she misses friends from the programs and that the pandemic has been very hard on her.

Currently, the organization that supports people like Cheryl, who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, has 600 openings in the Capital Region alone.

“We aren’t able to hire staff at this time, and when you can’t hire staff, you can’t support people,” said Kelly Dombrowski, of the Maple Ridge Center.

The non-profit isn’t like a private business that can entice workers with higher wages. Minus a rise in government funding, they rely on fundraisers like an upcoming annual food truck event this Saturday.

“It’s hardest for me when I talk about our employees,” said Schenectady ARC Executive Director Kirk Lewis.

His employees are already stretched thin, and he is bracing for more resignations.

“We will lose our best people, and the system is under such stress that you worry that it will survive,” added Lewis.

So what would Cheryl say to the powers that be?

“I would tell them, ‘Please get more people. We need them.’”

Info on Saturday’s fundraiser:

Schenectady ARC to Host its 4th Annual Food Truck Festival, “Electric City Trucks, Taps, Corks, and Forks”

This year’s event with feature New York’s #1 Modern Country Band, Skeeter Creek

WHEN:

Saturday, October 23, 2021

12:00pm – 4:00pm

WHERE:

Via Port Rotterdam

93 W Campbell Rd.

Rotterdam, NY 12306

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