- Written by Rebecca Shurtleff
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and 2020 marks two big anniversaries: 30 years for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and 75 years of NDEAM itself. Throughout this month, Wildwood has been sharing stories and information about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Wildwood's Employment Team helps potential workers connect with area businesses to find the "right talent right now." A video was created to help with outreach, and share why it's important for a business to shift their perspective on what it means to hire someone with a disability. The hope was that the employment video would be the catalyst to that shift, and result in long-term workforce benefits within the community.The video reached over 6,000 views, was shared twice nationally as well as through statewide and local business groups, and reached hundreds of nonprofit leaders, Chambers of Commerce, Human Resource Associations, TV programs, and - more locally - the Times Union.
CBS News shared an interesting interview that gave the perspective of adults on the autism spectrum and their experience in the workforce; their unique skills and perspectives often play a major role in the day-to-day operations of a business. The article states: "We found about 30 large companies actively seeking employees on the autism spectrum, including Microsoft, JP Morgan and Ford, but there are still so many people with autism who are unemployed, and the numbers are growing. In the next decade, researchers at Drexel University estimate as many as 1.1 million Americans with autism will turn 18."
On a more direct, local level, Capital Region business representatives have been joining Wildwood's Work Readiness to share their first time job experiences, career paths, and advice for joining and succeeding in the workforce. Because of these conversations, nearly 20 future jobseekers now have a better understanding of the importance of doing what you love and embracing your individual skills and strengths. While the conversations used to happen on-site or in person, they have continued to occur throughout the pandemic in a virtual setting.
This year Wildwood nominated two partners in employment, Hannaford Supermarkets and Blaze Pizza, for the NDEAM Awards. The NDEAM Awards were hosted by the Capital Region Employer Alliance (CREA) on Friday, October 23, and recognized businesses for their contributions and employment of people with disabilities. Seven businesses in total were recognized, and Hannaford Supermarkets won a statewide award for their outstanding efforts in hiring and maintaining candidates with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Blaze Pizza also won the small business award for their contributions and partnership with Wildwood for job training and job seeker referral programs. A big "thank you" goes out to all of the local businesses, and the entire awards ceremony can be watched online through this link.
As NDEAM nears an end, Wildwood would like to thank Marshall & Sterling Insurance; Schenectady County Public Library; M&T Bank; Albany Institute of History & Art; SOAKS; CVS Pharmacy; The Homeless and Travelers Aid Society (HATAS); Ravena Public Library; Niskayuna Central School District; Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP; UHY Advisors NY; Union College; The Merriam Insurance Agency; Mahoney Performance Institute; the Capital Region Chamber; and many more area businesses for their partnership and insight.
If you are interested in learning more about how Wildwood works with local businesses and connects them with potential employees, listen to the Employment Rebranding Podcast: https://anchor.fm/.../The-Rebranding-of.../a-a119obg
To learn how you can be a partner to Wildwood or special virtual guest, visit: business.wildwoodprograms.org
- Written by Rebecca Shurtleff
Friday, October 23, 2020
Dear Wildwood School Community,
As you know, on Thursday, October 22, 2020, Wildwood was advised by a local health department that one member of the school community had tested positive for COVID-19. The decision was made to program remotely for both staff and students on Friday, October 23, 2020.
We have been in ongoing contact with the health department, and It has verified that the safety protocols that were in place and being followed by Wildwood School significantly minimized the risk of exposure. The health department has been thorough in its investigation, and the school leadership and nursing teams have provided detailed information about our safety plan and protocols, our student population, and our deep cleaning processes. This same process will be followed for all future COVID-19 related notifications.
Since this was our first COVID positive case at the school, we felt it important to use today to meet with our staff, make plans for next week and share information with everyone, to ensure that we are doing our very best to protect the health and safety of our students, families and staff. Going forward, we will review each future event on a case-by-case basis, with a goal of continuing uninterrupted in-person instruction, to the greatest extent possible. We do not intend to immediately move to all remote instruction following future events--however, we will err on the side of caution if significant health and safety risks are identified.
Plans for Next Week:
1) YAP. On Monday, October 26, 2020, students who attend the Young Adult Program at our Latham site will continue to receive remote instruction only. No in-person instruction or therapies will take place. YAP staff will report to work in-person and provide remote services from the Latham building.
On Tuesday, October 27, 2020, in-person educational services will resume for all YAP students and staff.
2) Curry Road. In person educational services will resume on Monday, October 26, 2020 for all students and staff at our Curry Road location, including YAP Class 20.
I know that during these unsettling times, confidence in our decision-making is crucial and we take our responsibilities very seriously. Rest assured that Wildwood is deeply committed to the health and safety of everyone involved in our school programs. We are confident that when we return to in-person instruction and services next week, our buildings will be safe for all.
Thank you for your patience and understanding. Have a great weekend and please don’t hesitate to contact me at your earliest convenience with any questions you may have.
Wildwood School, Director of Education
- Written by Rebecca Shurtleff
Wildwood Schools will be moving to remote instruction for all students tomorrow - Friday, October 23 - due to a positive COVID-19 test within the school community.
Further information about this will be sent to all school families and staff this evening.
A determination about instruction for next week will be made and communicated to all families and staff tomorrow. Please contact school administration with questions.
Read today's 10/23 update from Wildwood School: